UK & World News
US Nazi Suspect, 89, Dies Before Extradition
A Nazi war crimes suspect from Philadelphia has died a day before a judge approved his extradition to Germany, his lawyer says.
Johann Breyer, 89, died on Tuesday night at a Philadelphia hospital, his lawyer told the Associated Press news agency.
He was accused of taking part in the killing of hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and children during his time as an Auschwitz death camp guard.
A judge issued an order on Wednesday approving a request for Breyer to be extradited to Germany.
The US government had yet to approve the motion.
US Magistrate Timothy Rice said in the order there was probable cause that "Breyer, the individual before this court, is the same person sought for aiding and abetting murder in Germany".
"No statute of limitations offers a safe haven for murder," he wrote.
The US judge also said: "Given Breyer's role as an elite SS armed guard at a camp designed and operated almost exclusively as a killing center for Jews, Germany has established probable cause of Breyer's complicity in the mass murders at Auschwitz."
In a case that had been building for years, German authorities issued a warrant for Breyer's arrest last year charging him with 158 counts of aiding and abetting the deaths of 216,000 Jews.
His lawyer said at a hearing last month that Breyer, who walked with a cane, had mild dementia and heart issues. He was being held without bail.
Breyer - who immigrated to the US in 1952 - acknowledged two years ago that he was an SS guard at Auschwitz in occupied Poland during World War II.
But he said he was stationed outside the death camp section and had nothing to do with the slaughter.
He said he was forced to work there as a teenager.
He told the AP news agency in a 2012 interview: "I didn't kill anybody, I didn't rape anybody - and I don't even have a traffic ticket here. I didn't do anything wrong."