Feel-Good Nazi Prosecutions
Is this a little weird, or not? According to the article, a 95-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard who has been living in Tennessee was deported Saturday back to his home country of Germany.
Let’s just parse that a bit
“In February 2020, a Memphis immigration judge ruled that Friedrich Karl Berger could be deported because he assisted in "Nazi-sponsored persecution" when he served as an armed guard in the Neuengamme Concentration Camp system, the Department of Justice said in a press release.” This very old man was an 18-year-old kid when he assisted in Nazi-sponsored persecution. A little quick math says that was 77 years ago. He was probably scared shitless. At that time Generals were being put up against the wall for not properly satisfying Hitler.
The ’acting’ Attorney General approved
A press release. Nothing like a little positive spin when the news cycle isn't living up to expectation. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said Berger was deported because the U.S. is not "a safe haven for those who have participated in Nazi crimes." Take a breath, Monty. An 18-year old? War crimes? This kid wasn’t in the docks at Nurnberg. His fuzzy-cheeked self was being ordered around by world-famous maniacs in SS uniforms and hoping to god he’d survive the Russians when they arrived.
Meanwhile, back in Monty-Wilkinson land
Wilkinson graduated from Dartmouth College in 1983 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1988, so I make him out to be born about 1958 or ‘60. He has no war record I can discern, never quivered under the eye of a drill-sergeant’s inspection, nor answered to a military chain-of-command. I have. I was 22 at the time and tremble to think of being dragged into a military court at age 95 for decisions I made at the time. And mine was a sane military, commanded by sane officers under the leadership of a sane president, a man by the name of Dwight Eisenhower.
But war crimes are not the only crimes against humanity
Our Monty Wilkinson, according to a Guardian article was peripherally involved in the removal of a DOJ prosecutor named Joshua Stern, who told colleagues he was “disturbed” by the separation of children from their parents after the Trump administration implemented a “pilot program” to criminally prosecute migrants who were entering the country illegally in the western district of Texas. Most of those parents and children have never been reunited which is, if not a crime in law, is certainly a crime against humanity. The difference between those separating kids from parents and Friedrich Karl Berger moving prisoners from one camp to another is that the Department of Justice guys were not 18 years-old and terrified. Oh, that and the fact that the Nazi SS does not have ‘justice’ in its title.
Thus one separation is a crime and the other not
The Holocaust is a crime that pales all others, as it should be and will always be. But to claim the U.S. is not "a safe haven for those who have participated in Nazi crimes” is ludicrous.
And I leave you with this
I met a new fishing friend at a resort in Wisconsin, owned by a man who had been a former OSS (later CIA) officer, parachuted behind enemy lines in France during WWII. The ‘new’ friend turned out to be a former Messerschmitt pilot in the German Luftwaffe—same war. The pilot was a successful American businessman, the year was 1970, we fished and became close friends and no one asked too much of the past. Quoting Friedrich Karl Berger, who made a life in the United States building wire-stripping machines,
“After 75 years, this is ridiculous. I cannot believe it. I cannot understand how this can happen in a country like this. You’re forcing me out of my home." It is indeed his home now.
There are the guilty and there are the kids. Who is to say which is which after 77 years?
Photo Credit: timesofisrael.com