FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL JUDGE REVOKES U.S. CITIZENSHIP OF FORMER
NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD IN ST. LOUIS
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Christopher A. Wray, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, today announced that a federal court in St. Louis, Missouri has ordered the denaturalization of Adam Friedrich, 82, a retired clothing manufacturing company worker living in St. Louis. In stripping Friedrich of his U.S. citizenship, U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson found that he had personally assisted in persecution by serving during World War II as an armed SS guard at three Nazi concentration camps.
“This decision again illustrates this Department’s dedication to making sure that justice is served notwithstanding the passage of time,” said Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray. “The prosecutors from the Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office in St. Louis have made sure this former Nazi concentration camp guard will no longer be able to enjoy the privileges of his American citizenship.”
Friedrich was born in Romania and relocated to Austria in 1941. He volunteered there the following year for service in the Nazi Waffen-SS. In January 1943, he began duty as an armed guard in the SS Death’s Head Guard Battalion (Totenkopf-Wachbataillon) at the notorious Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp in Germany (located in present-day Poland). Judge Jackson found that nearly 1,500 prisoners died at Gross-Rosen during the first five months of Friedrich’s service there. In August 1943, Friedrich was transferred to Dyhernfurth, a sub-camp of Gross-Rosen. Political prisoners, Jews and other civilians from all over Europe were incarcerated in
Gross-Rosen and its sub-camps because they were considered enemies of the Nazi state. Prisoners in these camps were confined under inhumane conditions and thousands died from starvation, disease, beatings and shootings.
With the approach of the Soviet Army in January 1945, the Nazis evacuated Gross-Rosen and its sub-camps. Friedrich guarded a group of some 1,000 prisoners who were marched in winter from Dyhernfurth to Gross-Rosen. Shortly thereafter, Friedrich guarded another group of prisoners sent by train from Gross-Rosen to the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp in southern Germany, once again under inhumane conditions. When the Flossenbürg camp was evacuated at the end of the war, Friedrich again guarded prisoners. The prisoners who survived this march did so in part because of the arrival of United States Army forces. After the war, Friedrich lived in Austria for almost ten years before immigrating to the United States in 1955. He never disclosed his Waffen-SS or concentration camp activities to U.S. immigration officials. He was naturalized in 1962 and again did not reveal his SS affiliation.
“Judge Jackson’s important decision highlights the critical role that Friedrich and all other Nazi concentration camp guards played in carrying out the Nazi regime’s genocidal plans,” said OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum.
The case was litigated by OSI Senior Trial Attorneys David W. Folts, William H. Kenety Jonathan C. Drimmer and Assistant United States Attorney Maria Sanchez.
The denaturalization of Friedrich 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 93 individuals who assisted in Nazi persecution. In addition, 170 individuals who sought to enter the United States in recent years have been blocked from doing so as a result of OSI's “Watch List” program, which is enforced in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.