A legal loophole in the Justice Department’s efforts to have former Nazis leave the US for Europe over the past few decades led to the war-crimes suspects and SS guards getting millions of dollars in Social Security benefits.
The Justice Department and the Social Security Administration say they are now working hard to make sure that the former Nazi officers and guards’ Social Security collections are cut off.
A concerted effort in the past to have the law that created these payments changed failed.
The total number of the former Nazis receiving benefits is unknown and the Social Security Administration has refused to offer information on the beneficiaries.
It is reported that SS soldiers who were stationed in Nazi concentration camps, a scientists who enslaved and used individuals for experimental purposes in the Nazi government and a collaborator who helped the Nazis locate and execute Jews in Poland are part of the group that has been receiving payments from the US government.
ABC news managed to identify four known former Nazis that are on the benefits payroll. These four include Martin Hartmann, and JakobDenzinger. The former lives in Berlin while the later moved to Croatia from Ohio.
Another Nazi suspect who received benefits is WasylLytwyn who served as an SS officer and was part of the infamous destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto- an act that killed more than 13, 000 Jews. He accepted to voluntarily leave the US in 1995 and continue to receive benefits while living in Ukraine.
The fourth notable Nazi SS guard, Peter Mueller moved back to Germany in 1994.
According to the Associated Press, 36 of 66 Nazi suspects who voluntarily left the US under the Office of Special Investigations deal to self-deport are still receiving benefits. The program and deals were meant to curb lengthy deportation hearings and it was the quickest way to get rid of the former Nazis, the ABC News reports.
The Nazis could not be prosecuted for war crimes since the crimes had been committed outside the United States and they were not against Americans.
The release of Nazis to foreign capitals has had diplomatic problems. For example, how the US dealt with Martin Bartesch, a notorious SS guard who was dropped at the Vienna airport in 1987. Austrian officials were not pleased with the illegitimate process in which the US had dealt with the Bartesch case.
US Congresswoman, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is introducing a bill to stop the collection of benefits by the Nazi suspects.