Expatica news

Deportation of fugitive SS guard ordered

26 November 2003

WASHINGTON – A 77-year old former Nazi concentration camp guard at Mauthausen camp in Austria was ordered deported from the US by an immigration judge in Detroit, Michigan, federal justice officials said.

The man, Johann Leprich, served as an armed SS Death’s Head guard at Austria’s Mauthausen Concentration Camp from 1943 to 1944, according to US court findings in 1987.

Although Leprich’s U.S. citizenship was revoked by that court, he disappeared for 16 years as a fugitive from justice. Police in July found him cowering in a secret compartment under the stairs of his home outside Detroit.

“Federal agents relentlessly pursued Leprich after he disappeared … and the court’s decision validates the enormous effort that was made by agents,” said Christopher Wray, assistant attorney general in charge of the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Larry Dean rejected Leprich’s claims that he was still a US citizen and could not be deported.

During the 16-year-chase, Leprich sought refuge in Canada, and conceded in Dean’s court that he returned knowing he was taking a “chance” of being caught, a statement from federal officials said.

Dean ordered Leprich to be returned to Romania, Germany or Hungary. The former Nazi guard was born in Romania, and emigrated to the US from Germany in 1952. He became a citizen in 1958 after lying about his whereabouts during the war, officials charged.

“The government proved 16 years ago that Leprich and his fellow guards at the infamous Mauthausen Concentration Camp took part in the persecution of the many thousands of innocent civilians interned there,” said Eli M. Rosenbaum, director of the justice division’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

Since 1979, OSI has helped strip U.S. citizenship from 73 persons who helped the Nazis. Fifty-nine have been deported. More than 160 persons have been blocked from entering the US based on investigations.

Just last week, deportation proceedings were begun against an 80- year-old New York City resident who served as an armed guard at the notorious Trawniki training camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Subject: German news