WASHINGTON — A 60-year-old janitor from Chicago who hid his past as a Nazi SS concentration camp guard during World War II flew to Austria and was stripped of his U.S. citizenship, the Justice Department announced today.
Martin Bartesch, a native of Romania, was listed in a "death book" compiled by the operators of the Mauthausen camp as having shot to death a French Jew in 1943, said Neal Sher, head of the Office of Special Investigations, the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit.
Sher said a U.S. District Court judge in Chicago issued an order denaturalizing Bartesch as of today. Sher disclosed that Bartesch signed a sealed agreement a month ago admitting that he was a guard at the Mauthausen camp system in 1943 and 1944.
Bartesch's wife, Anna, accompanied him to Austria on Wednesday, said his son, Heinz Bartesch. The couple left behind a son, a daughter and five grandchildren in Chicago.
The son said his father agreed to leave because he would face financial ruin if a deportation hearing were held.