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U.S. seeks to deport alleged Nazi SS prison guard

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Justice Department Tuesday asked a federal immigration court to deport an 80-year-old Missouri man who allegedly served as an SS guard at Nazi-run concentration camps during World War II.

The government's Nazi-hunters in the Office of Special Investigations asked the court in St. Louis to deport Michael Negele of St. Peters, Missouri, who has lived in the United States for more than 50 years.

Negele, a native of Romania, entered the United States on a visa he obtained in Germany in 1950 and became a citizen in 1955.

In July 1999 a federal court stripped Negele of his citizenship following a trial. Last summer an appeals court upheld the ruling. Negele's attempt to win a U.S. Supreme Court hearing was rejected two weeks ago.

In the document filed in the court Tuesday, the government said Negele was an SS guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin in 1943 and 1944. He was later transferred to the Theresienstadt Jewish ghetto in what is now the Czech Republic, according to the document.

Tens of thousands of Jews, Soviet prisoners and others the Nazis declared enemies of the German state died at Sachsenhausen from disease and overwork as forced laborers in local factories and by shooting, gassing and hanging.

About 33,500 inmates died in the Theresienstadt ghetto from 1941 to 1945, and an estimated 88,000 were shipped to death camps, especially Auschwitz, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

The court is not expected to move against Negele immediately. "It may take weeks or months," said Justice Department spokesman John Russell.

Since the Office of Special Investigations began pursuing former Nazis in 1979, 64 persons have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship, and 53 of them have been removed from the United States. Nearly 250 others are still under investigation.



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