WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice has initiated removal proceedings against a Sharon, Penn., resident who served as an armed SS guard at two Nazi concentration camps in Germany during World War II.
The charging document, filed April 1, 2009, in U.S. Immigration Court in Philadelphia by the Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) alleges that during most of 1943 Anton Geiser served as an armed SS Death’s Head guard at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp near Berlin, Germany; that Geiser’s duties included escorting prisoners to slave labor sites and standing guard from the camp’s watch towers; and that he was under orders to shoot any prisoner attempting escape. The court document also alleges that Geiser served as a guard at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and the Arolsen subcamp. In addition, the court document charges that Geiser guarded prisoners as they were transported from Buchenwald to Arolsen and as they were evacuated from Arolsen as Allied forces approached.
U.S. courts have described how prisoners held at Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald were forced to engage in grueling physical labor under extraordinarily inhumane conditions. Many prisoners died from exhaustion or disease or were shot or hanged. During the period when Geiser served at Sachsenhausen, more than 3,000 prisoners were murdered or died from the brutal treatment.
“Through his service as a Nazi concentration camp guard, Anton Geiser helped subject thousands of innocent civilians to inhumane and frequently lethal treatment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division. “The United States will not provide a safe haven for such individuals.”
Geiser, 84, immigrated to the United States from Austria in October 1956, and he was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in March 1962. A federal judge in Pittsburgh revoked his citizenship in 2006 because his service to Nazi Germany made him ineligible to enter the United States. The court concluded that Geiser “clearly assisted in the persecution of people because of race, religion and national origin,” and that he therefore was legally barred from receiving a visa to come to the United States.
“The Office of Special Investigations remains unswervingly committed to identifying perpetrators of human rights violations and having them removed from the United States,” said Eli M. Rosenbaum, director of OSI.
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 crimes of persecution who reside in the United States. Since OSI began operations in 1979, it has won cases against 107 individuals who participated in Nazi-sponsored persecution. In addition, more than 180 suspected participants in Nazi crimes 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 Departments of State and Homeland Security.
The removal case against Geiser is being litigated by OSI Senior Trial Attorneys Christina Giffin and Edgar Chen. The Philadelphia office of ICE has provided assistance. Members of the public are reminded that the charging document contains only allegations and that the government will be required to prove its case before an immigration judge.