updated 10/17/2005 10:26:16 AM ET 2005-10-17T14:26:16

A former Nazi concentration camp guard lost a Supreme Court appeal on Monday over the government’s decision to revoke his U.S. citizenship.

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Adam Friedrich’s attorney argued that he has led a model life since coming to the United States from Austria more than 50 years ago.

An appeals court found that Friedrich did not reveal his past, including participation in death marches of Jewish prisoners, when he applied for American citizenship.

By ensuring “that prisoners did not escape from these unspeakable conditions, Friedrich personally assisted in the persecution that occurred in those camps,” Judge Roger Wollman of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in an opinion this past spring.

The high court declined without comment to consider reversing that decision.

The Justice Department has said that more than 70 people who assisted in Nazi persecution have been stripped of U.S. citizenship since the Office of Special Investigations began operations in 1979. The office pursues war criminals.

Deportation possible
The Supreme Court’s action means the government could begin proceedings to have the Romanian-born Friedrich deported.

Friedrich’s attorney, D. Warren Hoff Jr., had told justices that Friedrich was a low-ranking guard who never used a weapon to prevent an escape attempt and feared he would be killed if he did not report for duty.

Friedrich, born in 1921, and others have “led exemplary lives since immigrating to the United States” and have children who are “native-born United States citizens who must bear the financial and emotional cost of their defense.”

Friedrich is a retired St. Louis, Mo., clothing manufacturing worker. He has never been criminally charged and now lives in a nursing home.

He reported for duty as an armed guard in January 1943 at the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, according to court records, and about 1,500 of the camp’s roughly 100,000 prisoners died during his first five months there. He fled in 1945 when American soldiers arrived as he and other guards were marching prisoners to the Dachau concentration camp, according to court accounts.

The case is Friedrich v. United States, 05-345.

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