Former Nazis, including a handful of guards, SS agents and war criminals were found to have been granted millions of dollars in Social Security funds from the U.S., after having fled the country years ago. These funds, provided by American tax dollars through a loophole, continue to allow exiled Nazi suspects abroad to live in relative comfort. Since the Associated Press’s public release last week, the White House has responded with its plans to shut the loophole.
Some members of the Nazi party, having fled to the U.S. after World War II, have since been able to collect the funds due to a loophole that the U.S. Justice Department used years back to persuade as many as possible Nazis to leave prior to being deported. The understood deal was that if they chose to leave or flee prior to being forcefully removed, then they would be able to retain the steady flow of Social Security payments.
Among those taking Social Security benefits include former SS members, along with previous German scientists and others who were responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews by orchestrating executions during the years of the Holocaust . The specific Nazis in question were responsible for the mass execution of Jews in Poland.
Among some of these living members of the Nazi party receiving benefits include previous SS Sachsenhausen guard Martin Hartmann and Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger. Before having his U.S. citizenship revoked in Arizona in 2007, Denzinger came to the U.S. from Germany in 1989 and quickly moved back to Germany, after learning that he was set to be removed from the U.S. He then went to Croatia and currently lives in a large apartment in Osijek.
According to the AP, Denzinger has refused to talk about the relevant circumstances, but his son living in the U.S. has made the confirmation that that his father still receives payments in Social Security. He has further stated that his father deserves the continuous payment.
U.S. Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney, senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee stated that she was appalled that expelled Nazis who have been living abroad for many years still receive the benefits, and that plans to introduce a bill to shut the loophole are underway. White House spokesman Eric Shultz also stated that elderly Nazis should not be receiving Social Security, and that the government intends to end the handouts.
However, paperwork from 1997 shows that both the Social Security Administration and all high levels of the government were fully aware of the program. Former assistant legal counselor James Hergen of the State Department was furious, arguing that the program was kept secret and was neither transparent nor legal. Others within the department accuse the State Department of placing petty diplomatic ties ahead of making the former Nazi war criminals face justice.
While high-ranking members of the State Department have not yet granted the AP any interviews regarding the payouts to Nazis who continue to collect millions in Social Security abroad, both the U.S. Congress and the White House have made it clear that they have plans to shut the loophole. Through passing legislation, many other government officials are working to quickly end the payouts.
By Scott Gaudinier