Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
MONDAY, JULY 8, 2002
(202) 514-2008
TDD (202) 514-1888


WASHINGTON D.C.- The Department of Justice announced today that a federal immigration court in St. Louis has ordered a St. Peters, Missouri man deported to Romania for participating in the Nazi persecution of Jews and other civilians during World War II.

Citing captured Nazi documents found by the Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Immigration Judge Bruce W. Solow found that Michael Negele, 81, served from November 1943 through June 1944 as an armed SS Death's Head Battalion guard of prisoners at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, near Berlin, Germany, where he was selected for specialized training in the use of a guard dog. The court observed that thousands of Jews and other civilians from throughout Europe "suffered inhumane forms of physical abuse and death" at Sachsenhausen because they were considered enemies of the Nazi state.

The court also found that Negele later served through the end of the war as a guard of prisoners at the Theresienstadt Jewish ghetto, near Prague (in what is now the Czech Republic), which held Jews, including prominent Germans, children and elderly civilians, as part of the Nazi regime's "final solution to the Jewish question." Theresienstadt also functioned as a way station to the Nazi extermination facilities at Auschwitz and Treblinka. Negele admitted in court proceedings that he guarded the Jewish ghetto with the same dog, a German shepherd trained to attack prisoners who attempted escape, that he had been assigned while at Sachsenhausen. Some 10,000 prisoners died in the ghetto, and thousands more passed through Theresienstadt en route to extermination elsewhere.

"Countless innocent men, women and children were brutalized and killed in Sachsenhausen and Theresienstadt as part of the Nazi regime's genocidal plan," said Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, who heads the Justice Department's Criminal Division. "Guards such as Negele made these crimes possible and are not entitled to the privilege of continued U.S. residence," added Chertoff.

OSI Director Eli M. Rosenabum, added, "Time has not diminished our resolve to hold accountable those who helped make the Holocaust a reality. This ruling is an important step in this continuing effort."

Negele, a native of Romania, entered the U.S. in 1950, using a visa he obtained in Germany. He became a U.S. citizen in 1955. In July 1999, the U.S. District Court in St. Louis revoked Negele's U.S. citizenship because of his Nazi guard service. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the denaturalization order in August 2000, and in February 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Negele's petition for review.

The deportation proceedings against Negele were a result of OSI's mandate to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. To date, 68 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of U.S. citizenship and 56 have been removed from the United States since OSI began operations in 1979. More than 170 persons are currently under investigation by OSI.