A 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard who has been deported from Tennessee has agreed to be questioned by the German prosecutors as they re-examine whether or not there is any evidence against him to bring charges, the authorities stated on Monday.
On Saturday, Friedrich Karl Berger arrived in Frankfurt on a special flight from the U.S. after being ordered to be deported to his native Germany by a court in Memphis.
He was confronted by the Hesse state police detectives at the airport and told them that would be willing to be questioned by the investigators in the presence of a lawyer, said Bernd Kolkmeier, the spokesman for the Celle prosecutor’s office, which is reportedly handling the case.
Kolkmeier said that organizing counsel and ensuring that they are keeping u8p with the pace on the facts shall consume much time, and therefore the earliest time during which the interview can take place would be next month.
A U.S. immigration judge has further ordered Berger, being deported a year back after finding out that his willing service as an armed guard of the prisoners at a concentration camp where the persecution took place constituted the assistance in Nazi-sponsored persecution.
Moreover, the court found Berger, who had been residing in the U.S. since 1959 that he had served at a camp in Meppen, Germany, near the border with the Netherlands, which was a sub-camp of the larger Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg.
It said that during the winters of 1945, the prisoners in Meppen were held in atrocious conditions and were even exploited for outdoor forced labor, working to the point of exhaustion and death.
Berger admitted to the American investigators that he had served in Meppen as a guard for a few weeks near the end of the war but he, however, did not observe any abuse or killings as such. The Memphis had, however, found that Berger had reportedly helped the guard prisoners during a forced evacuation that took nearly two weeks and had claimed the lives of about 70 people.
The Celle prosecutors had shelved their initial investigation of him in December, by saying that he had been unable to refute his account. And, now they’re having another look, with him back on the German soil, Kolkmeier said. He added that nothing has changed except that he is now in Germany and now they can talk to him, and personally question him which is naturally different than reading a transcript.
Berger was born in 1925 in the small town of Bargen and had been serving the German navy when he was assigned to guard the prisoners in Meppen in 1945. He served as an auxiliary attached to the SS command of the camp. Currently, he is being investigated under a precedent established in 2011 with the conviction of former Ohio autoworker, John Demjanjuk as an accessory to murder on allegations that he served as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in German-occupied Poland.