Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Immigration appeals board upholds deportation order for former Nazi guard.

A federal appeals board has upheld a deportation order for a Wisconsin man who served as a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II, the Justice Department announced Monday.

The federal Board of Immigration Appeals upheld a deportation order issued in January 2007 against 83-year-old Josias Kumpf of Racine, who had served as a guard at the Trawniki training camp in Nazi-occupied Poland and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. The Board of Immigration Appeals is part of the Justice Department.

Last year's deportation order, issued by Chicago-based immigration Judge Jennie Giambastiani, called for Kumpf's removal to Germany, Austria or Serbia. Kumpf can still appeal the deportation order in the federal court system.

In 2005, a federal judge in Milwaukee stripped Kumpf's U.S. citizenship, concluding that he "personally assisted" in the persecution of prisoners. That judge, Lynn Adelman, said Kumpf arrived at Trawniki no more than a day after 8,000 Jewish prisoners were killed at an adjoining labor camp in 1943.

Adelman wrote that Kumpf "stood guard near the pits where the massacre occurred with instructions to shoot prisoners who attempted to escape, including those who in his words were 'still halfway alive.'"

The judge also found that when Kumpf applied for an immigrant visa to the United States in 1956, he did not disclose that he had been an SS guard because he feared it would disqualify him.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich said in a statement that Kumpf participated in an operation that resulted in the murder of thousands of innocent victims.

"His culpability in this atrocity does not diminish with the passage of time," Friedrich said. The Board of Immigration Appeals ruling, he added, "bolsters the department's continuing efforts to ensure that those who took part in the crimes of the Nazi Holocaust are not allowed to enjoy the privileges and freedom the United States offers its citizens."

In 2003, the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, along with the local U.S. Attorney's office, moved to strip Kumpf of his citizenship. Kumpf, who was born in Serbia, said in an interview at the time that he was taken from his home in Yugoslavia as a 17-year-old and forced to serve as a guard, but he did not participate in any atrocities.

Messages left with Kumpf and his attorney were not immediately returned Monday

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