On Tuesday afternoon, federal authorities arrested Johann Breyer at his home in Northeast Philadelphia. Breyer, 89, has long been under investigation for his role as a Nazi SS guard at two concentration camps, including Auschwitz.
Breyer has been charged by Germany with “complicity in the commission of murder of 158 trainloads of European Jewish deportees,” and it is likely that he will be extradited to Germany for trial. He allegedly joined the SS when he was 17.
The case dates back to at least 1992, when the U.S. government tried to deport him, but Breyer was able to remain in the country after a legal battle over his citizenship, because his mother was born in the United States.
From the complaint released by the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia on Wednesday:
There is probable cause to find that Breyer, as a Waffen-SS Death's Head Guard Battalion armed guard … was complicit in, aided and abetted, and agreed to use his work efforts for the quick and smooth implementation of the systematic murder of hundreds of thousands of European Jews, transported between May 1944 and October 1944 in 158 trainloads to Auschwitz…
Below, the full complaint.
[PHOTO: Child survivors at Auschwitz, public domain]