On Saturday, a airplane introduced Mr. Berger again to Germany, the place he stays a citizen, the Justice Division stated. German officers have indicated that he’ll not face further prosecution there. Mr. Berger’s lawyer, Hugh B. Ward Jr., stated that his consumer was “protected, sound, free” at an assisted-living middle in Germany.
For the reason that Justice Division started a program in 1979 to trace down and deport former Nazis, it has received 109 circumstances, the division stated. However “this can be the final U.S. Nazi case,” stated Eli M. Rosenbaum, a senior official on the division’s Human Rights and Particular Prosecution unit, who was amongst those that tried the case towards Mr. Berger.
“There’s hardly anybody left,” Mr. Rosenbaum stated. “The overwhelming majority of the perpetrators have died.”
Mr. Berger’s case was distinctive as a result of it was the one one within the historical past of the Justice Division’s Nazi prosecution program through which there have been no recognized surviving victims accessible to testify, Mr. Rosenbaum stated. German forces additionally destroyed the data from Meppen after they deserted the camp in 1945, he stated, so prosecutors relied on paperwork discovered elsewhere.
An important piece of proof tying Mr. Berger to his Nazi previous got here from SS playing cards that recognized guards within the Neuengamme camps, which had been found in 1950 in a German ship that had been sunk by the Allies 5 years earlier.
Mr. Rosenbaum stated it was not clear how the playing cards weren’t destroyed after years underwater. After the ship was raised from the Baltic Sea, lots of the playing cards had been illegible and a few had been solely partly legible. Those who could possibly be learn had been transcribed and recorded. One of many playing cards recognized Mr. Berger.
“It was needle-in-a-haystack stuff, to place it mildly,” Mr. Rosenbaum stated.
Mr. Berger, he stated, had enlisted within the German navy in 1943 and had been assigned by the SS to protect the Meppen camp. He moved to the USA in 1959, and he had lived quietly in a ranch home on a cul-de-sac in Oak Ridge, Tenn., about 25 miles west of Knoxville.