Suspected Nazi Who Fled US Dead at 92

Jakob Denzinger retired in Ohio, collected Social Security
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 14, 2016 6:34 AM CST
In this July 28, 2014, photo, Jakob Denzinger looks from his apartment window in Osijek, eastern Croatia. The suspected former Nazi prison guard at Auschwitz and other death camps, Jakob Denzinger, has...   (Darko Bandic)
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(Newser) – Jakob Denzinger, a suspected former Nazi prison guard at Auschwitz and other camps, has died in his native Croatia. He was 92. The death announcement by Denzinger's family says he was buried Saturday at a local cemetery near Osijek in eastern Croatia. Local media said he died in the hospital on Thursday. Denzinger was born in present-day Croatia, which was part of Yugoslavia at the time. He started serving with the Nazi SS at the age of 18, in 1942, while Croatia was under a pro-Nazi puppet regime. He was posted at several camps, including the Auschwitz death camp complex in occupied Poland. Denzinger moved to the US after the war, settling in Ohio, where he became a successful plastics industry executive. Years later, the Justice Department uncovered his past.

In 1989, as US prosecutors prepared their case to strip Denzinger of his citizenship, he first fled to Germany and later to Croatia. Denzinger was among dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards who collected millions of dollars in Social Security benefits after being forced out of the United States. An AP investigation into the issue resulted in a law in 2014 barring suspected Nazi war criminals from receiving US government pension benefits. Croatian authorities in 2014 opened an investigation of Denzinger's World War II service, but he was never tried. He had refused to comment on the allegations.

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