The Associated Press reports that four suspected Nazi war criminals currently living in the United States that have been stripped of citizenship and been given deportation orders, are still in America because they have nowhere else to go. They have also identified several other suspected Nazis who were also meant to be deported, but died living in the United States, which was unable to kick them out of the country.
The men were all investigated by a special Justice Department office that was created decades ago to find and remove suspected Nazis who fled to the U.S. after World War II. According to the AP, less than half of those suspects who had legal proceedings opened against them ended up being kicked out of the country. And at least 10 fell into the legal black hole where they could not be tried in the U.S., yet could not be sent to another country to face justice. Even after exhausting all appeals and losing their citizenship, they continued to live out their lives as normal in America. They were even eligible for public assistance, such as Social Security, while their appeals were being heard.
Legally, the United States cannot put suspected Nazis on trial, because their crimes were not committed on U.S. soil. Meanwhile, most of the countries in Europe where the crimes did take place do not want the suspects sent back, particularly if they were never citizens of that country or if the evidence against them is not overwhelming. Germany has made it a policy to prosecute any suspected war criminal, no matter how old they are, but is reluctant to accept suspects who aren't German citizens. Some other suspected criminals were given reprieves on deportation, because of poor health.
The new story comes on the heels of an earlier AP investigation, published last month, that claimed a 94-year-old man living in Minnesota was a former commander of SS-led Ukrainian unit who lied about his war record to U.S. immigration officials in order to gain entry into the country. Polish and German authorities are investigating Michael Karkoc to see if his case warrants prosecution, but if they don't seek extradition the same fate may befall him. The U.S. could order him out of the country on immigration charges alone, but first must find a country willing to accept him, which is unlikely.
The AP also revealed the name and location of the four suspects — all 89 years or older — who are still living in the U.S. despite having a standing deportation order against them. Two are suspected of being prison guards at Nazi concentration camps, and two others are accused of taking part in massacres of Polish and Ukrainian Jews. All four have denied any involvement in war crimes.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.