Tuesday, July 15, 2008

86 Year-Old Man and His Citizenship

I just finished reading the following story over at Komonews.com. It is the story of how an 86 year-old Bellevue man may lose his citizenship after 40 some years because of his alleged participation in the Nazi army, and the lives that were taken during that time.

Just to let you know that I am totally patriotic, love my country and love life. However, I find it hard to believe that the US would REALLY revoke someone's citizenship after 40+ years. Do they know the full story behind his involvement in the Nazi army? Was he pressured into service, which happens quite often in countries outside the US?

It just kind of makes me sad that this man has lived here for so long, calls this place home at age 86 may be forced out. It is simply food for thought...we should stop and think about things like this, and how the decisions we make now may impact our lives decades from now.

SEATTLE -- The Justice Department is seeking to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a Bellevue, Wash. man accused of serving in a Nazi unit that participated in the murder of more than 17,000 Serbians during World War II, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, 86-year-old Peter Egner served in the Nazi-controlled Security Police and Security Service in German-occupied Belgrade from April 1941 to September 1943.

During the first nine months of his service, Egner, who was born in Yugoslavia, allegedly was part of a Nazi mobile killing unit. The complaint said captured documents show that Egner's unit participated in executing 11,164 people, most of them Jewish men, in the fall of 1941.

In early 1942, the complaint says, the Security Police and Security Service murdered 6,280 Serbian Jewish women and children. Daily over the course of two months, those women and children were taken from the camp and forced into a specially designed van, in which they were gassed with carbon monoxide.

During an interview with investigators in early 2007, Egner allegedly admitted to volunteering for the Security Police and Security Service and serving as a guard and interpreter during interrogations of political prisoners.

"Interrogations by SPSS personnel sometimes involved severe torture, often followed by execution," the complaint notes.

He also allegedly admitted that he guarded prisoners they were being transferred to the concentration camp of Semlin and the execution site of Avala, both near Belgrade.

Reached by telephone at his home, Egner confirmed his identity to The Associated Press, but said he was unaware of the complaint.

Asked about his alleged service with the Nazis, he said: "I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm sorry. Bye."

According to the Justice Department, Egner came to the U.S. In 1960 and was granted citizenship in 1966.

"No one who participated, as we allege the defendant did, in the diabolical Nazi program of persecution is entitled to retain U.S. Citizenship," Office of Special Investigations Director Eli M. Rosenbaum said in a statement.

The Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations has been working since 1979 to investigate people living in the U.S. who participated in Nazi persecution.

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