Philadelphia Man, 89, Held on Nazi War Crimes
Johann Breyer was a guard at Auschwitz
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2014 5:01 PM CDT
In this 1944 photo provided by Yad Vashem Photo Archives, Jewish women and children deported from Hungary line up at Auschwitz.   (AP Photo/Yad Vashem Photo Archives)

(Newser) – An 89-year-old Philadelphia man may be headed back to Germany to face charges that he helped the Nazis slaughter Jews at Nazi death camps, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Johann Breyer, a native of the former Czechoslovakia, was arrested yesterday at his home by federal authorities and now faces an extradition hearing. German prosecutors say he worked as a guard at Auschwitz and Buchenwald—and more specifically that he worked in the Birkenau section of Auschwitz where prisoners were killed in gas chambers. He immigrated to the US in 1952 and worked as a tool-maker.

The New York Times says this could be the "last Nazi case on American soil," and both the Times and the Inquirer describe Breyer as appearing confused at times during his initial hearing. Breyer faces 158 counts of aiding and abetting the Nazis, one for each trainload of prisoners killed at Auschwitz between May and October of 1944, reports AP. Breyer, who joined the Nazis at age 17, has previously told the AP that while he worked at Auschwitz, it was not in the Birkenau section.

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
iq145
Jun 19, 2014 11:10 PM CDT
It's almost pointless. They've already lived-out full happy FREE lives. Now that they're old, do you think they fear prosecution and a death penalty? Case in point: John Demjanjuk lived freely since what he did in the 1940s and finally gets convicted in 2011, then he dies of natural causes (not proven to be otherwise) in 2012. He lived a fulfilling life, with lots of family, in the United States!!! He was 91 years old... Curious: Ever notice how all Nazi criminals live to a VERY old age? It's as though they'd all gained X amount of days or months added to their lives for each one of "God's chosen people" that they've killed... Examples: Erich Priebke, John Demjanjuk, Hans Lipschis, and Michael Karkoc.
Crazy Horse
Jun 19, 2014 9:48 AM CDT
I have a friend who is 92 years old and a WW2 vet with a clear mind and healthy body. He thinks this is a stupid and useless distraction from the real problems plaguing our country. It's a perspective from someone with first-hand knowledge, and from someone who actually has an axe to grind with former enemies.
Owlster
Jun 18, 2014 5:46 PM CDT
They caught another Nazi murderer after all these years. Dick Chaney is nervously looking over his shoulder.