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U.S. panel upholds deportation of Nazi guard

A U.S. appeals panel has upheld an order to deport an 83-year-old Wisconsin man accused of serving as a Nazi SS guard whose duty was to finish off dying Jews in a two-day mass execution in Poland that killed more than 40,000, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday.
/ Source: Reuters

A U.S. appeals panel has upheld an order to deport an 83-year-old Wisconsin man accused of serving as a Nazi SS guard whose duty was to finish off dying Jews in a two-day mass execution in Poland that killed more than 40,000, the Justice Department said on Monday.

The department said the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the January, 2007 order to deport Josias Kumpf, 83, to Germany, Austria or his native Serbia.

"Josias Kumpf participated in a 1943 Nazi operation that resulted in the murder of thousands of innocent victims. His culpability in this atrocity does not diminish with the passage of time," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich.

The department said Kumpf had admitted to participating in what the Nazis called "Operation Harvest Festival" in November 1943. About 42,000 Jews were killed over two days in the mass execution at three prison camps in German-occupied Poland.

Kumpf, who had joined the Nazi SS Death's Head guard in 1942, was serving at the Trawniki slave-labor camp at the time of the massacres, the department said.

Became U.S. citizen in 1964
"Kumpf stood guard as approximately 8,000 Jewish prisoners, including approximately 400 children, were shot and killed in pits at Trawniki," the department said. "According to Kumpf, his assignment was to watch for victims who were still 'halfway alive' or 'convulsing.' If any of the prisoners attempted to escape, he stated, his job was to 'shoot them to kill."'

The massacre was "one of the most infamous crimes of the Holocaust," said Eli Rosenbaum, head of the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations.

The Justice Department said Kumpf had immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1956 and became a U.S. citizen in 1964. The special investigations office and the U.S. attorney for eastern Wisconsin sued in 2003 to strip Kumpf of his citizenship and won the case in 2005.

The office was founded in 1979 and has won cases against 107 participants in Nazi war crimes, the department said.

The United States has stripped the citizenship of 16 former Trawniki guards, the U.S. Holocaust Museum says on its Web site.