FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1998
TDD (202) 514-1888
DEPORTATION ORDER UPHELD AGAINST
FORMER NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced today that the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has upheld the deportation order entered last year against Ferdinand Hammer, a former Nazi concentration camp guard residing in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
The order directed that Hammer be deported to Croatia, his country of birth. Hammer lost his naturalized citizenship based on misrepresentations and concealments he made regarding his Nazi past when he applied for U.S. citizenship in 1963.
The case against Hammer was brought by the Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations (OSI). OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum stated that as an armed SS guard, "Ferdinand Hammer participated in the persecution of unarmed civilians at some of the most notorious concentration camps of the Nazi era, and served as an armed guard on inhumane transports of inmates between Nazi camps. He should not continue to enjoy the privilege of living in the United States."
In June 1996, United States District Court Judge Horace W. Gilmore stripped Hammer (now 77), a retired foundry supervisor, of his U.S. citizenship after a four-day trial. The judge found
that Hammer had served as a guard at the Auschwitz death camp
complex in Nazi-occupied Poland and at the Sachsenhausen
concentration camp in Germany, and that he also served as a guard on prisoner transports between Nazi camps. In revoking Hammer's citizenship for falsely denying his Nazi affiliation to U.S. naturalization officials, the court noted that "horrible mistreatment was meted out to inmates of these camps." Judge Gilmore concluded that Hammer made material misrepresentations about his wartime involvement in Nazi persecution in applying for naturalization. Hammer did not appeal the denaturalization decision.
In the subsequent deportation proceeding, Chief Immigration Judge Michael J. Creppy ordered Hammer deported to Croatia. In a decision issued on April 24, 1997, Judge Creppy found, based on the record of the denaturalization trial and an independent review of the evidence, that Hammer had assisted in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution within the meaning of the provision of U.S. immigration law that requires the deportation of aliens who participated in the persecution of persons because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion in association with the former Nazi government of Germany.
The BIA affirmed Judge Creppy's decision in all respects.
The Board noted that prisoners were subjected to "extermination through work" at the concentration camps at which Hammer served and also suffered "inhuman living conditions, corporal punishment, torture, and medical experiments." The victims
included " . . . Protestant and Catholic clergymen, Jehovah's Witnesses, Russians, Ukrainians, Czechs, Poles, Gypsies, Communists, and, of course, Jews." The BIA noted that guards were under orders to shoot any prisoner who attempted to escape from a concentration camp. During prisoner transports, the Board further noted, guards were under orders to shoot those who could not maintain the pace of a forced march during the bitterly cold winter.
Since OSI began operation in 1979, 61 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship, and 48 have been removed this country OSI Director Rosenbaum stated. Nearly 300 persons are currently under investigation by OSI, he added.