Man accused of being Nazi guard shot by policeDecember 31, 1996
Web posted at: 8:00 p.m. EST
KANSAS CITY, Kansas (CNN) -- A man accused of being a guard in a Nazi death camp was shot by police Tuesday after he fired a handgun from his front porch at reporters and police.
Michael Kolnhofer, 79, was shot in the leg and was in serious but stable condition at the Kansas University Medical Center, where he is expected to undergo surgery.
Reporters arrived at Kolnhofer's house Tuesday afternoon after hearing the government's Nazi-hunting office had moved to strip Kolnhofer of his U.S. citizenship, charging he persecuted Jews and other civilians while serving as a SS guard at the infamous Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald concentration camps.
Kolnhofer's attorney said he denies being a concentration camp guard, but a reporter who went to Kolnhofer's home said he had told her he had been "just a soldier" at a death camp.
Kolnhofer immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1952. Eli Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) said, "The defendant concealed his Nazi concentration camp guard service from U.S. immigration officials." Rosenbaum added, "He never would have received a U.S. visa had he disclosed the truth".
Officials say captured wartime Nazi records show that Kolnhofer was a member of the SS "Death's Head Guard Batallion" at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin in 1943 and at the Buchenwald camp near Weimar in 1944.
The records indicate Kolnhofer was an armed guard holding prisoners from a wide range of ethnic and religious groups considered opponents of the Nazis. Tens of thousands of prisoners were shot, gassed, or beaten to death at the two camps. Sachsenhausen was also the site of a variety of gruesome medical experiments that killed prisoners.
Rosenbaum said the complaint against Kolnhofer was filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas. The Justice Department says the move is the first step in denaturalization proceedings aimed at revoking his citizenship, and deporting him.
Rosenbaum said the legal action against is the result of ongoing efforts by the Justice Department to identify former participants in Nazi persecution who now reside in the U.S.
The Office of Special Investigations was established in 1979. To date, 57 Nazi persecutors have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship. 48 of them have been forced to leave the country for good.
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