Retired St. Louis County aircraft worker Michael Negele, 79, was found to have misrepresented his Nazi past in getting a visa to enter the U.S. after the war. He could now face deportation.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber said as a Nazi guard Negele had complied "in conduct contrary to civilization and human decency" and ordered him to surrender his certificate of naturalization to the government.
Negele's lawyer, Warren Hoff, said he would appeal the ruling, and noted deportation efforts may not begin until after the appeals are exhausted.
The Justice Department alleges Negele was a member of the Death's Head Battalion of the Waffen-SS, the elite guard of the Nazi Party of Germany. Webber said immigration authorities would have denied his visa application had they known of Negele's Nazi service.
Court papers show Negele denies misleading immigration officials, but does not contest his alleged role in the SS or being a camp guard.
Negele testified in April that when he sought a visa in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1950, he told U.S. immigration officials he had served in the Romanian and German armies February 1942 and May 1945.
Negele, an ethnic German, was born in St. Nikolaus, Romania. He testified that he was drafted into the Romanian army in 1942 and trained as a rifleman.
In November 1943, as part of an agreement between Germany and Romania involving ethnic Germans, Negele was drafted into the German army. He was then sent to Sachsenhausen, primarily a labor camp, near Berlin, where he learned how to handle a guard dog.
In June 1944, Negele and his dog were transferred to Terezin, also known as Theresienstadt, an internment camp, in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
When a Justice Department lawyer asked Negele during the April hearing whether he committed any crimes while at Terezin, Negele replied: "I never committed any crime."