Alleged Northeast Philly Nazi Guard Granted Bail

Johann Breyer, who faces war crimes charges in Germany, has been granted bail while he fights extradition. Defense lawyers say his condition has deteriorated.

Johann Breyer, the Far Northeast Philadelphia man accused of participating in Nazi war crimes during the second World War, has been granted bail. His health has reportedly deteriorated since being arrested last June.

Germany had long suspected Breyer of serving as a death camp guard; the U.S. attempted to revoke his citizenship in 1992 for lying on his original visa application. But he was able to claim American citizenship when it was discovered his mother had been born in Pennsylvania and emigrated to Europe.

Germany charged Breyer with “complicity in the commission of murder of 158 trainloads of European Jewish deportees.” Breyer claims he wasn’t involved in any killings, but American intelligence from the war shows him working at Auschwitz after he says he deserted. Records show his unit would have been responsible for unloading victims from trains on several occasions.

“Believe me, he was not a nice person, because you couldn’t be nice there,” Michael Herskovitz, who lives in the Philadelphia suburbs and spent a year in Auschwitz told the LA Times last month.

Free to go on $100,000 personal recognizance bail, Breyer can now return to his Northeast Philadelphia home as he fights extradition. He remains hospitalized currently; it’s not sure when he’ll get out.