The thing that surprises people the most about Nazis is that they still exist. We're very quickly losing World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors, and one group that kind of gets overlooked when we think about that all is Nazi war criminals. There's a common misconception that they were either all taken down and punished in Europe right after the war, or fled to South America. Turns out there were a few that made it safely and undetected to the United States. We thought we'd got the last one in the US in 2019, but nope.

As dumb luck would have it, there was at least one final Nazi left. A Nazi guard at a Neuengamme subcamp, Friedrich Karl Berger was found living in a Tennessee suburb. Berger's case is a notably weird one -- his name and service information showed up on an index card that was found in the wreckage of a sunken WWII ship. It details how, at Berger's camp in 1945, he kept prisoners in horrible conditions, forcing them to be outdoors in the winter with no relief for their suffering.

Berger, for his part, is doing the old-person "I didn't hurt nobody nohow" act, saying, "After 75 years, this is ridiculous. I cannot believe it. You're forcing me out of my home." He's tried to downplay his real involvement, saying that he was forced to be there, didn't carry a weapon, and was only there for a short amount of time.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, have a different picture painted. They've got information that shows that he was part of the guard that forcibly evacuated the camp during the dead of winter on a two-week trek from their sub-camp to the main Neuengamme camp. Their case also rests heavily on a couple things. The first is that Berger, who acknowledges this fact, never requested any kind of transfer from his duties. In the prosecution's eyes, that shows he was basically fine with doing what he was doing, and didn't have moral qualms. Had Berger requested a transfer, it might have made his innocence a little bit believable. The second is that Berger was, in the year 2020, still receiving a pension from Germany for his wartime service. Yeah, you read that right.

The US has ordered Berger's deportation to Germany, which is willing to take him and theoretically prosecute him, and Berger has 30 days to appeal. It is entirely plausible that he will die before any sort of judicial conclusion is reached. But hopefully, whatever happens, it will mean no more Nazis in America.

Get the Cracked Daily Newsletter!

We've got your morning reading covered.


Forgot Password?