WASHINGTON – The U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh today revoked the U.S. citizenship of Anton Geiser of Sharon, Pa., because of his participation in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution while serving during World War II as an armed SS guard at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and other places of persecution, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of the Western District of Pennsylvania announced today.
Geiser admitted under oath that he served during most of 1943 as an armed SS guard at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp near Berlin, Germany; that his duties included escorting prisoners to slave labor sites and standing guard in the camp’s guard towers; and that he was under standing orders to shoot any prisoner attempting escape. He also admitted serving as a guard at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and its Arolsen subcamp. Prisoners held at Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald were forced to engage in hard physical labor under extraordinarily brutal conditions. Many prisoners died from exhaustion or disease. Many were shot or hanged. During the period when Geiser served at Sachsenhausen, more 3,000 prisoners were murdered or died from the brutal treatment.
“Anton Geiser’s service as an armed SS guard at several Nazi concentration camps helped to ensure that thousands of men and women held prisoner could not escape the brutal conditions of their confinement,” said Assistant Attorney General Fisher. “The court’s ruling today confirms that the United States is not and never will be a haven for those who participated in Nazi genocide.”
Geiser, 81, immigrated to the United States from Austria in October 1956, and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in March 1962. The district court found that he was not eligible for citizenship because his service to Nazi Germany made him ineligible to immigrate to the United States. Geiser’s service as an armed SS guard, the court concluded, “clearly assisted in the persecution of the prisoners” held by the Nazis at Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Arolsen.
“By standing guard with a loaded weapon under orders to shoot, Anton Geiser helped to ensure that thousands of innocent men and women were forced to endure slave labor, medical experiments, malnourishment and murder,” said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which investigated the case. “Such individuals do not deserve the privilege of living in the United States. The Government will work to remove Geiser from this country as swiftly as possible.”
U.S. Attorney Buchanan stated: “Individuals like Anton Geiser, who assisted the Nazis in their quest to extinguish the lives of millions of innocent men, women and children, do not deserve the benefits of U.S. citizenship.”
The proceedings to denaturalize Geiser were instituted in 2004 by OSI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh. The case is 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 103 individuals who assisted in Nazi persecution. In addition, more than 175 individuals who sought to enter the United States 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.