FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECRM
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1999(202)514-2008
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS DEPORTATION OF FORMER NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD
A federal appeals court in Philadelphia has affirmed a court order directing the deportation of Nikolaus Schiffer, a former Nazi concentration camp guard, the Department of Justice announced today. Schiffer, a retired baker living in New Ringgold, Pennsylvania, served as an armed SS camp guard at the Sachsenhausen and Hersbruck concentration camps in Germany and the Majdanek concentration camp and Trawniki SS training and base camp in Poland during World War II. The case against Schiffer was brought by the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI).
Circuit Judge Anthony J. Scirica, writing for a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, upheld the1997 findings of U.S. Immigration Judge John J. Gossert, Jr. that Schiffer, who was born in the United States but reared in Romania, participated in acts of persecution on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion in association with the Nazi government of Germany, while serving as a member of the Nazi SS-Totenkopf Sturmbann (Death's Head Battalions) at the Sachsenhausen, Hersbruck and Majdanek concentration camps, at the Trawniki SS training and base camp, and on two Nazi "death marches." In ordering Schiffer deported to Romania, Judge Gossert noted that "Schiffer personally testified to his participation in a death march from Hersbruck to Auschwitz on which weakened prisoners were shot or left to die when they could not continue."
Atrocities were committed against thousands of civilians at the Sachsenhausen, Majdanek, Trawniki, and Hersbruck camps during the period of Schiffer's SS service there. Jews and other prisoners were subjected to inhumane treatment, including forcible confinement, subjection to slave labor, physical and emotional abuse, torture, and mass murder at these camps.
In 1958, Schiffer applied for and was granted naturalized U.S. citizenship. He failed to disclose information about his service as a Nazi concentration camp guard which would have barred him from entering the country and from naturalization. In a 1993 decision revoking Schiffer's naturalized citizenship, Judge Franklin Van Antwerpen of the United States District Court in Philadelphia, wrote that it is "beyond dispute" that "the armed concentration camp guards played a major role in the persecution of these persons and in attaining the Nazi goal of annihilation...." The evidence, he declared, "clearly and unequivocally established" that Schiffer "was an active participant in the persecution occurring at these camps in that he helped prevent inmates from escaping the grotesquely inhumane condition there."
"This ruling is an important victory that helps clear the way for the deportation of Nikolaus Schiffer, who never should have been allowed to enter the United States after the war," said OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum. "This decision reaffirms that even as we are about to leave the twentieth century behind, the United States remembers the crimes and terrible sacrifices of World War II and will not permit this country to be a haven for individuals who assisted in the perpetration of Nazi crimes." 63 such persons have now been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 52 have been removed from the United States as a result of cases brought by the Office of Special Investigations since the unit's creation in 1979.
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