FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MOVES TO REVOKE U.S. CITIZENSHIP
OF FORMER NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Christopher A. Wray, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, today announced that the Justice Department has asked a federal court in Pittsburgh to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a Sharon, Pennsylvania resident, Anton Geiser, for participating in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution against civilians during World War II. The complaint alleges that Geiser engaged in persecution while serving as an armed SS concentration camp guard on behalf of Nazi Germany.
“As alleged in the complaint, armed concentration camp guards like Anton Geiser played a critical role in ensuring the brutal deaths of thousands of innocent victims. Under the law, they were ineligible to obtain immigrant visas, and we cannot let them enjoy the benefits of liberty they worked so hard to withhold from the victims of Nazi oppression,” said Wray.
In a complaint filed today, the Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania allege that Geiser, 79, who was born in what is now Croatia, entered the Nazi Waffen SS in September 1942 and served as an armed guard in the SS Death’s Head Battalion (Totenkopf-Wachbataillon) at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp near Berlin from January 1943 until November 1943. Political prisoners, Jews, and other civilians were confined at Sachsenhausen under appalling conditions, and thousands of prisoners died there from starvation, torture, shooting, gassing, lethal medical experiments, exhaustion and other causes.
According to the complaint, Geiser was transferred in November 1943 to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, where prisoners were exposed to horrendous living conditions and many thousands of prisoners died from starvation and disease or were simply murdered by their captors.
“These were notorious places of persecution where thousands of innocent civilians met their doom at the end of a gun or rope, or perished from malnutrition or the ravages of disease,” said OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum.
Geiser entered the United States in 1956 and became a U.S. citizen in 1962. The complaint asserts that Geiser’s wartime service to Nazi Germany rendered him ineligible for a U.S. immigration visa, thereby rendering his citizenship unlawful.
“The complaint alleges that Mr. Geiser was a member of Hitler's Waffen SS and was part of that organization's brutal and sadistic management of Nazi concentration camps,” said United States Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan. “The privilege of American citizenship must not be enjoyed by those who were involved in the evils of the Nazi regime.”
The proceedings initiated today are a result of OSI’s ongoing efforts to identify, investigate, and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution who reside in the United States. Since OSI began operations in 1979, it has won cases against 94 individuals who assisted in Nazi persecution. In addition, more than 170 individuals who sought to enter the country in recent years have been blocked from doing so as a result of OSI’s “Watchlist” program, which is enforced in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.
Members of the public are reminded that the complaint contains only allegations. It will be the government’s burden to prove the allegations by clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence.