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Former Nazi guard, 81, to be deported

Josias Kumpf, a U.S. citizen since 1964, will move to Germany.

January 05, 2007|Richard A. Serrano | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — A federal immigration judge has ordered the removal of a retired Wisconsin sausage maker who slipped into this country half a century ago by hiding his past as a Nazi prison camp guard, authorities said Thursday.

Josias Kumpf was the 100th former Nazi in the U.S. to be prosecuted by the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations. Since he was identified and his case became public in 2005, the government has won cases against four other former Nazis who participated in crimes during World War II.

Kumpf, an 81-year-old living in Racine, Wis., was born in what is now Serbia and immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1956 under a program designed to help post-World War II refugees in Europe. But he did not disclose his service as an SS Death's Head guard, which would have barred him from entering the country.

In 1964 he became a U.S. citizen and for years worked quietly in a sausage plant and raised five children.

Kumpf's past caught up with him after government prosecutors linked his name to guard rosters from Poland's notorious Trawniki labor camp, where about 8,000 Jewish men, women and children were killed in a single day in November 1943. Forced out of their bunks and into ditches they had dug themselves, the prisoners were shot en masse.

Kumpf, confronted with his wartime service, admitted to prosecutors that he guarded prisoners at Trawniki. But he denied killing anyone. "I don't do nothing to nobody," he said in his broken English. "My fingers are clean."

He said he watched the shootings but never fired his weapon. Rather, he stood guard at the perimeter of the camp with orders to stop any prisoners who ran away, he said.

Eli Rosenbaum, OSI director, said Kumpf was an "indispensable accomplice to Nazi mass murder," adding that the former guard had orders to "shoot to kill" any prisoners trying to flee.

Kumpf had been fighting the government's effort to remove him from the U.S.; he and his family hoped he could end his days in this country.

But Immigration Judge Jennie L. Giambastiani of Chicago found that Kumpf's role as an armed Nazi SS guard "unquestionably establishes by clear and convincing evidence that he was actively and personally involved in the persecution of others."

The judge gave him a choice of deportation to Germany, Austria or Serbia; Kumpf chose Germany.

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