Former Nazi SS Member Denies He Served at Auschwitz
CLEVELAND (AP) _ The U.S. Justice Department wants to deport a former member of the Nazi SS, saying he lied to immigration officials and did not tell them he was a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
But Johann Hahner, 70, said Sunday that he never served at Auschwitz. His SS unit was made up of fighting troops and spent World War II at the Russian front, said his lawyer, John J. Gill.
The Justice Department has said Hahner was a guard at Auschwitz for about six months in 1942. It announced last month it would try to deport him.
Hahner denied the charge in a prepared statement at a news conference Sunday.
″I was sent there (Auschwitz) for basic training for two months, but I was was not an armed concentration camp guard,″ Hahner said. ″I did not carry a weapon. I did not enter the camp. I lived in barracks outside the camp.″
Hahner’s lawyers asked reporters not to question Hahner because of his poor English.
In June 1941, the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland, became an extermination center. According to testimony at the Nuremberg trials, 2.5 million people, mostly Jews, were executed there.
″When I filled out my application to enter the country, I could not read or write English,″ said Hahner, who immigrated in 1956. ″I gave the person who filled out the application for me truthful answers for every question.″
Gill said he should know within two weeks when the deportation hearing would be.