Exiled US Nazis still receive pension payments, finds report
Dozens of Nazi war criminals are still receiving their US social security payments despite living overseas, an Associated Press investigation has found.
Many German Nazis fled to the US at the end of the World War II and over time became US citizens. In 1979, all suspected Nazi criminals were removed from the country by US Congress.
However, a loophole in the law allowed those who voluntarily gave up their citizenship to still be eligible for their benefit payments. This agreement helped speed up the expulsion of Nazis from the US and allowed the government’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) to avoid lengthy deportation hearings.
White House press secretary Eric Shultz said: “Our position is we don’t believe these individuals should be getting these benefits.”
The investigation found that 38 out of 66 suspects were still receiving their benefits having left the US permanently. The total amount of taxpayer money issued is believed to be in the millions.
Attempts have been made on several occasions to change the law that grants aged Nazis this financial assistance but these attempts have failed.
New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a high-ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is determined to abolish the loophole that allowed these payments to continue. She plans to work hard to close it and said: “It’s absolutely outrageous that Nazi war criminals are continuing to receive social security benefits when they have been outlawed from our country for many, many, many years.”
In an emailed statement Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr mentioned about the under existing US law, where social security benefits are withdrawn from a citizen if they are ordered by the court to leave the country. However, he explained if an individual renounces their US citizenship and “voluntarily” leaves the US, they might continue to receive social security benefits.
According to the BBC, among those who held on to their social security payments include Peter Mueller, a Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) guard who resided in Illinois before voluntarily leaving for Germany, and Jakob Denzinger, who worked in the SS Death’s-Head Unit and later settled in Ohio before leaving for Croatia.
AP’s request for the exact number of Nazi suspects, who continued to receive these payments, as well as the dollar amounts, has been refused by the social security administration, who asserted they do not specifically monitor Nazi cases.