Nazi war crimes suspect hospitalized in Philadelphia

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 21, 2014 10:36 PM

Photo by AP Photo\File

FILE - Undated file image shows the main gate of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz I, Poland, which was liberated by the Russians, January 1945. Writing over the gate reads: "Arbeit macht frei" (Work makes free - or work liberates). Johann Breyer, 89 faces possible extradition. A German court has charged him with aiding in the killing of 216,000 Jewish men, women and children during World War II. Breyer was arrested Tuesday outside his home in northeast Philadelphia. He has lived in the U.S. since 1952. Breyer has admitted he was an SS guard at Auschwitz in occupied Poland.

(Philadelphia) -- A Nazi war crimes suspect has been hospitalized while awaiting an extradition hearing in Philadelphia.

A court order issued Monday notes 89-year-old Johann Breyer has been hospitalized but doesn't cite his condition.

Breyer's attorney hasn't returned a call seeking comment. His lawyers have said he's in frail health.

Breyer has been in federal custody since his arrest last month at his longtime home in Philadelphia.

German authorities hope to try him on accessory-to-murder charges for his guard service at the Auschwitz death camp in 1944.

The retired toolmaker has denied taking part in the mass killing of Jews and others. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Rice cancelled an extradition hearing scheduled for Thursday, citing Breyer's hospitalization.

He says he'll make a decision based on written arguments.


Photo by AP Photo/U.S. Department of Justice

This image provided by the U.S. Department of Justice shows a copy of a World War II-era record of Johann "Hans" Breyer's employment as an Auschwitz camp guard in Birkenau, in Nazi-occupied Poland. The document casts doubt on the 87-year-old Philadelphia man's story that he served only at Auschwitz I, a smaller camp largely for prisoners used as slave laborers, and never entered Auschwitz II, also known as Auschwitz-Birkenau, where about 90 percent of the 1.1 to 1.5 million Jews and others were killed in the camp. The files are now in the hands of German authorities, and could provide the legal basis for charging Breyer as an accessory to the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews in the Nazi death camp.


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