Former Auschwitz Guard Arrested for Past Life

A former Auschwitz guard living in Philadelphia was recently arrested under the suspicion that he participated in the acts of murder that took place at the infamous concentration camp. He is currently held without bail, and is suspected to have taken part in the deaths of over two hundred thousand Jewish camp residents. The Auschwitz guard in question is named Johann Breyer, and has been retired from his most recent job as a toolmaker for some time.

Breyer faces over one hundred and fifty charges for his alleged participation in the murders of Jews during the Second World War. These counts are referred to as counts of “complicity,” meaning that he did not play an active role in the decision to commit crimes but he did follow orders as an Auschwitz guard. He has actually faced legal trouble before when he was almost exiled from the United States, but he was allowed to stay due to the fact that he was only seventeen years of age when he joined the Waffen SS, therefore making him a minor at the time.

According to Breyer, his job involved running how the prisoners lived, but had nothing to do with how they died. He has been forthcoming about certain aspects of his past life working for the Nazis, but the former Auschwitz guard is suspected of dishonesty on other counts. For instance, evidence shows that he may have participated in a battalion for the SS Totenkopf a few months after he claims to have deserted the Nazi regime.

He does not shy away from the fact that he knew what was going on in the camps, but he still maintains that he had nothing to do with some of the heinous crimes against humanity that took place there. The lawyer defending the former Auschwitz guard claims that Breyer is too old and in poor health to be detained without bail, but the judge upheld his original ruling under the belief that he will still receive proper care in his current facility, the Mail Online reports.

The arrest of the former Auschwitz guard has brought up recurring questions regarding the prosecution of former Nazis who do not have much life left in them. These questions largely revolve around the concern of whether or not there should be a statute of limitations on their crimes. Of course, another issue is whether or not Breyer lied about his circumstances as an Auschwitz guard and whether or not his service was voluntary. These concerns will be addressed in his upcoming trial.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE