An 89-year-old Philadelphia man was arrested Tuesday on a German warrant accusing him of contributing to the death of 216,000 people during his time as a prison guard at the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. Better late than never?
Johann "Hans" Breyer, a retired toolmaker, is charged with 158 counts of "complicity in the commission of murder," with each count representing a trainload of prisoners transported from Hungary, Germany and Czechoslovakia between May 1944 and October 1944, the AP reports.
His arrest probably did not come as a total shock to Breyer, who has been under investigation by prosecutors in his homeland and has in the past admitted to serving as a guard at Auschwitz, though he maintains he was stationed beyond the camps most grisly quarters and is thus not specifically responsible for anyone's death.
Brewer was granted American citizenship on the basis that his mother was born here. Despite multiple attempts by the U.S. to eject him, a 2003 court ruling allowed him to stay since he'd joined the Nazi party as a minor (he was 17) and was therefore not legally responsible for his actions at the time.
Despite his advanced age, a judge ruled that the detention center was perfectly adequate to address any of Brewer's potential medical needs. The Times referred to him as "the oldest person ever accused of ties to the Third Reich by United States authorities," and possibly "the last Nazi case on American soil."
Barring any unforeseen developments, his extradition hearing will be held on August 21.