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WASHINGTON, D. C.- The Department of Justice initiated proceedings today to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a St. Louis man based on his assistance in the persecution of Jews and other civilians from 1943 until 1945.

The civil complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, alleges that Adam Friedrich, 80, personally advocated or assisted in Nazi persecution while serving as a guard at the Gross Rosen Concentration Camp in Germany, and at its Dyhernfurth subcamp, site of a poison gas factory.

According to the complaint, Friedrich, a native of Romania, traveled to Vienna in 1942, where he volunteered for service in the Waffen SS. After training, he reported for duty with the SS Death's Head guard unit at Gross Rosen in January 1943. He served at Gross Rosen and at Dyhernfurth until those camps were evacuated during the winter of 1945. He also guarded prisoners during the evacuations of Dyhernfurth and Gross Rosen. Friedrich's duties included guarding prisoners from a watch tower and guarding slave laborers at Gross Rosen's infamous quarry work site. During the time that Friedrich served at the camps, thousands of civilians were persecuted, starved, abused and murdered by their Nazi captors.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, chief of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said, "This action reconfirms that we will always remember those who have suffered persecution and we will hold accountable all who participated in the perpetration of such heinous acts." "Today's legal action continues our commitment to achieve justice against those responsible for the most infamous crimes of the Twentieth Century," said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which brought the case with the United States Attorney's Office in St. Louis. Rosenbaum added, "Men like Friedrich made it possible for the Nazi regime to subjugate, persecute and ultimately murder the innocent men, women and children whom they targeted."

Friedrich was born in 1921 and immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1955. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in St. Louis in 1962. The complaint asserts that he was ineligible to immigrate to the United States under a statute that barred the entry of persons such as Friedrich who assisted in Nazi persecution.

The actions taken today were the result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. Since OSI began operations in 1979, 68 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship, and 56 such individuals have been removed from the United States, while 165 suspected Nazi persecutors have been prevented from entering the United States. More than 170 U.S. residents are currently under active investigation by OSI.