Philadelphia, PA, United States (4E) – A former Nazi camp guard living in Philadelphia was denied bail on Wednesday following his arrest Tuesday for allegedly helping kill more than 200,000 Jews in Poland during World War II.
Johann “Hans” Breyer, 89 and a retired tool maker, was denied bail as Magistrate Judge Timothy R. Rice of the Federal District Court in Philadelphia deemed his crime serious. His extradition hearing is set in August.
A court in the Bavarian town of Weiden, where Breyer lived before coming to the United States in 1952, has been seeking his extradition since 1992 to face trial for the murders of 158 trainloads of Jewish prisoners in the death camp in occupied Poland between May and October 1944.
Breyer won the extradition battle against the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2003, when a court ruled he was not culpable for any atrocities because he enlisted in the Nazi army at age 17. The DOJ also failed to strip him of his U.S. citizenship.
Prosecutors in Germany accused Breyer of working at the part of the “Auschwitz 2″ or Birkenau, a section of the death camp used exclusively to kill Jewish prisoners in gas chambers. Breyer has admitted being a perimeter guard at Auschwitz I, a camp where slave laborers were held, but he denied working at Auschwitz II, where an estimated 1.5 million Jews were gassed to death. He also admitted awareness of the killing at the camp but never saw the killing.