FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JUNE 1, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
COURT OF APPEALS UPHOLDS DEPORTATION ORDER
AGAINST FORMER NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP GUARD
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray of the Criminal Division today announced that a federal appeals court has upheld an order directing the deportation of a St. Louis, Missouri, area man to Romania for participating in the Nazi persecution of Jews and other civilians during World War II.
In an opinion issued today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, sitting in St. Louis, affirmed a July 2002 immigration court ruling that captured Nazi documents found by the Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) established that Michael Negele, 84, of St. Peters, Missouri, served as an armed SS Death’s Head Battalion guard at the infamous Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, near Berlin, and later at the Theresienstadt Jewish ghetto in what is now the Czech Republic.
“Today's important court decision sends a crucial warning to would-be perpetrators of crimes against humanity that those who participate in such crimes will be pursued no matter how far they flee and no matter how long they succeed in evading detection,” said Assistant Attorney General Wray.
“Michael Negele helped the Nazis visit misery and death on countless innocent victims,” added OSI Director Eli Rosenbaum. “His removal from this country as expeditiously as possible remains a priority.”
Negele admitted in court proceedings that he patrolled both facilities with a trained guard dog to ensure that prisoners did not escape. The Eighth Circuit found that “Sachsenhausen and Theresienstadt were places of persecution where Jewish civilians and political prisoners were forcibly confined under hideous and often deadly conditions solely because of their race or religion.” The Court held that by “guarding the perimeters of the camps with a trained guard dog to ensure prisoners did not escape from life-threatening conditions, Negele contributed to the persecution which occurred in these facilities,” and was “part of the Nazi machine which kept [prisoners] at death’s gate.”
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 Eighth Circuit affirmed the denaturalization order in August 2000, and after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Negele’s petition for review, removal (deportation) proceedings were commenced against him in March 2001.
The deportation case was litigated by OSI Senior Trial Attorneys Jeffrey L. Menkin and William H. Kenety.
The proceedings against Negele are a result of OSI's ongoing efforts to identify and take legal action against former participants in Nazi persecution residing in this country. Since OSI began operations in 1979, it has won cases against 94 individuals who assisted in Nazi persecution. In addition, over 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.