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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pittsburgh-area Man Who Served as Armed Nazi Concentration Camp Guard Is Ordered Removed to Austria

An immigration judge in Philadelphia has ordered the removal of Anton Geiser, a resident of Sharon, Pa., who served as an armed SS guard at three Nazi concentration camps in Germany during World War II, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

In a 14-page decision, U.S. Immigration Judge Charles M. Honeyman ordered Geiser, 85, removed to Austria, the country from which he immigrated to the United States after World War II. Judge Honeyman found that Geiser is removable under the 1978 Holtzman Amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act because he assisted in Nazi-sponsored persecution. The decision noted that, through counsel, Geiser had, "generally admitted all of the factual allegations" in the government’s charging document.

In an earlier civil denaturalization prosecution that resulted in the 2006 revocation of Geiser’s U.S. citizenship by a federal district court judge in Pittsburgh, Geiser admitted under oath that he served as an armed SS Death’s Head guard at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, near Berlin, Germany, for most of 1943. Geiser admitted that while on duty at Sachsenhausen, he escorted forced laborers to and from work sites, guarded prisoners from an SS watch tower and was under standing orders to shoot any prisoner attempting to escape. Geiser also admitted that he served as an armed guard at Buchenwald Concentration Camp and its Arolsen subcamp from mid-November 1943 until April 11, 1945. At Buchenwald and Arolsen, Geiser was under orders to shoot anyone attempting to escape. Geiser admitted that he escorted prisoners from Buchenwald to Arolsen and then evacuated prisoners from Arolsen back to Buchenwald when the Nazis abandoned the latter camp near the war’s end.

"As a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II, Anton Geiser must be held to account for his role in the persecution of countless men, women and children," said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. "The long passage of time will not diminish our resolve to deny refuge to such individuals."

Geiser immigrated to the United States from Austria in October 1956 and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in March 1962. His citizenship was revoked by federal district court order in 2006 on the basis of the court’s finding that Geiser "clearly assisted in the persecution of people because of race, religion and national origin" and therefore was legally barred from receiving the visa issued to him to come to the United States.

"Without Anton Geiser and other members of the SS Death’s Head guard battalions, the Nazi concentration camp system could not have accomplished its diabolical objectives," said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of Human Rights Enforcement Strategy and Policy in the Human Rights and Special Prosecution Section (HRSP).

The Department of Justice’s Criminal Division announced the formation of HRSP on March 30, 2010, as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to bring human rights violators to justice and deny those violators safe haven in the United States. The new section represents a merger of the Criminal Division’s Domestic Security Section (DSS) and Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

The Geiser case is a result of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to identify, investigate and take legal action against former participants in Nazi crimes of persecution who reside in the United States. Since the 1979 inception of the department’s program to detect and remove Nazi persecutors, it has won cases against 107 individuals. In addition, more than 180 suspected participants in Axis crimes of persecution who sought to enter the United States have been blocked from doing so, through Department of Justice efforts in coordination with the Departments of State and Homeland Security.

The removal case against Geiser was litigated by Senior Litigation Counsel Susan L. Siegal and Senior Trial Attorneys Christina Giffin and Edgar Chen of the Criminal Division’s HRSP. The Philadelphia office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provided assistance in this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania provided assistance in the denaturalization litigation.

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014