German authorities have launched an investigation after suspicion arose that 87-year-old Johann "Hans" Breyer of Northeast Philadelphia was a guard at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Justice had tried unsuccessfully for years to have Breyer's citizenship revoked and have the man deported. A retired toolmaker, Breyer admitted to being a guard at the camp during the second World War, but says he was positioned outside of the facility and was not responsible for any of the roughly 1.5 million deaths.
The German office that specializes in investigating war crimes has recommended that Breyer be named an accessory to murder and be sent back to Germany to stand trial for his involvement in the murder of some 344,000 Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the majority of the killings occurred. The Associated Press has also gotten their hands on documents that cast doubt on Breyer's claims regarding when he left Auschwitz.
Breyer maintains his innocence, saying that he did not kill or harm anyone during his time at the camp, and has been a model citizen in the United States. He says he knew what went on inside of them camp, but never witnessed any of it.
[via NY Daily News]