Report: Germany investigating 87-year-old Northeast Philly man for alleged Nazi war crimes

Prisoners at Auschwitz II-Birkenau during the liberation.

Germany has opened a war crimes investigation into an 87-year-old Czechoslovakian-born man who currently lives in Northeast Philadelphia for allegedly serving as an SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp during World War II, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The German office in charge of handling Nazi war crimes has reportedly recommended to prosecutors that retired toolmaker Johann “Hans” Breyer be extradited to Germany and tried as an accessory to the murder of at least 344,000 Jews at the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp in occupied Poland. A source told AP that officials in the Bavarian town of Weiden, who have jurisdiction over the case, are deciding now whether the evidence against Breyer is sufficient for prosecution. The decision could reportedly take several months.

Breyer admitted to AP that he was a guard at Auschwitz during World War II, but claimed that he worked outside the facility and did not witness the heinous acts committed in its interior. He also testified in a previous court hearing that he served at Auschwitz I, which was largely used for slave labor, not at Auschwitz II-Birkenau, where much of the wholesale slaughter occurred.

The hearing at which Breyer presented the testimony was a part of the U.S. Justice Department’s decade-long-plus battle to have him deported, the AP also reports. The Justice Department lost that battle in 2003, when a ruling found that Breyer could stay in the United States on the grounds that he had joined the SS as a minor, recruited from his home country at the age of 17, and was not legally responsible for his participation in the army. Supporting that finding was Breyer’s claim that he deserted his post at Auschwitz in August of 1944, lending credence to his claim that the service had not been voluntary.

But per a U.S. Army intelligence file on Breyer obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request, a 1951 background check of Breyer commissioned when he first applied for a U.S. visa listed him as a member of an SS battalion in Auschwitz as late as four months after he said he deserted. That document weakens Breyer’s claims that his service was not voluntary. He could, under U.S. law, face extradition to Germany if prosecutors decide to charge him.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.