Thursday, October 23, 2014

Former Nazi and S.S. War Criminals Receiving Social Security? What Gives?

    The account in yesterday's Denver Post was blunt (p. 13A, 'Probe Sought in U.S. Payments to Nazis/'):
    "Former Auschwitz Guard Jakob Denziger lived the American Dream. His plastics company in the Rust Belt town of Akron, Ohio thrived. By the late 1980s he had acquired the trappings of success: a Cadillac DeVille and a Lincoln Town car and investments in oil and real estate.  Then the Nazi hunters showed up. In 1989, the U.S. government prepared to strip him of his citizenship. Denziger packed a pair of suitcases and fled to Germany. He later settle in a pleasant town on the Drava River - where he lives comfortably, courtesy of U.S> taxpayers.

He collects a Social Security payment of about $1,500 a month, nearly twice the take home pay of a Croatian worker. Denziger, 90, is among dozens of suspected war criminals and S.S. guards who collected millions of dollars in Social security payments after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation learned."

How could this be? Why aren't all these swine rotting in their unmarked graves after being hung by the neck?  I mean, think about it! Among those receiving benefits were armed SS troops who guarded the network of Nazi camps where millions of Jews died; and a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland. Is this an abomination? Yes indeed it is! Every American ought to have veins popping from his head in outrage. (Ok, there's plenty of stimuli for outrage now I admit, but c'mon! Nazis getting Social Security with your taxpayer dollars and not long after a "Debt Commission" had been formed to parse cuts to Social Security?)

According to an earlier Post report Sunday we learned there "are at least four living beneficiaries. They include Martin Hartmann, a former SS guard at the Sachsenhausen camp in Germany, and Jakob Denzinger, who patrolled the grounds at the Auschwitz camp complex in Poland."

Hartmann moved to Berlin in 2007 from Arizona just before being stripped of his U.S. citizenship. Denzinger fled to Germany from Ohio in 1989 after learning that de-naturalization proceedings against him were underway. He resettled in Croatia and now lives in a spacious apartment on the right bank of the Drava River in Osijek, Croatia - near where we had originally planned to visit this fall - then changed our minds opting for Switzerland (Good thing!).

How could this travesty occur? By what fell mechanisms and duplicitous horse manure could our government - which fought the Nazis in WWII - turn to supporting them in their  old age using taxpayer money? Any of those Nazi helpers ever heard of the prime moral directive? (The ends never justifies the means.) But how often have we seen expediency trumping morals? Way too often! (Such as Reagan dispatching arms - including poison gas- to Saddam in the 1980s, to gain leverage against Iran)

Internal U.S. government records obtained by the AP revealed that during the Reagan Administration his  Justice Department used a special branch, the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) , to skirt lengthy deportation hearings and increased the number of Nazis it expelled from the U.S.   Social Security benefits became the lure (or leverage)  to secure agreements in which Nazi suspects would accept the loss of citizenship and voluntarily leave the United States.

Since 1979, the AP analysis found, at least 38 of 66 suspects removed from the country kept their Social Security benefits. The four who are still alive are living in EuropeIn newly uncovered Social Security Administration records, the AP found that by March 1999, 28 suspected Nazi criminals had collected $1.5 million in Social Security payments after their removal from the U.S. Since then, the AP estimates the amount paid out has reached into the millions.

Legislation that would have closed the loophole failed 15 years ago. The Social Security Administration expressed outrage in 1997 over the use of benefits, the documents show. Blowback in foreign capitals reverberated at the highest levels of government.Austrian authorities were furious upon learning after the fact about a deal made with Martin Bartesch, a former SS guard at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria.  In case you may not recall this camp - let me show a photo - taken after the Russians uncovered its horrors:

Neal Sher, a former OSI director, said the State Department cared more about diplomatic niceties than holding former members of Adolf Hitler's war machine accountable.  This is beyond disgusting and spits on the memories of the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers who died fighting the Nazi filth. Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said the loophole should be closed.

"Someone receiving an American pension could live very well in Europe or wherever they settled. We, in effect, were rewarding them. It didn't make any sense."

Amid objections, the practice known as "Nazi dumping" stopped, but the benefits loophole wasn't closed. Why not?  Maybe for the same reason the Nazi Wartime Disclosure Act was shot down in 1999 so never became law.

According to a Baltimore Sun article ('Government May Soon Open Files on Nazi War Criminals', Aug. 2, 1998, p. 20A):

"Under pressure from Congress, the Justice Department and other agencies may be forced to declassify tens of thousands of top-secret documents describing the U.S. intelligence community's dealings with Nazi war criminals in the Cold War years. Legislation to open most of those files has already passed the Senate and could come up for a vote in the House this week. Some historians suspect that the opened files could cause 'tremendous embarrassments' for the United States."

Less than one year later the GOP congress voted against passage, and that was it. No one has heard much about it since.  

Does any of this really surprise any attentive American who’s not got his or her nose buried in some smart phone texting …or sending tweets? Recall then O.S.S. (precursor to the CIA) head Allan Dulles (later to become head of the CIA) officially implemented the policy of importing former Nazi spies via Operation Bloodstone . This was done to help the U.S. set up its own intelligence service to spy on the Soviet Union.

Interested readers can learn more here:

I also don't find it unusual or odd that these giveaways to the Nazis occurred under a Republican administration. (None of the press reports mention this, good ol' Neolibs that they are, but it doesn't take much to trace the dates).   Also, the GOP  was very big on Nazi links back in the day....around the Reagan and pre-Reagan era.  For those of us in deep politics, the history of the Nazi-backed Republican Heritage Groups is well -known. All this is well documented  by Russ Bellant, in his book 'Old Nazis, The New Right and the Republican Party' ( South End Press, Boston, 1991, p. 77). Bellant painstakingly documents how Nazis, and former S.S. infiltrated the Republican Heritage Groups and Council from the time of Reagan's ascension in 1980. He provides actual letters written and received as well as how their agenda is spelled out. He also notes a key figure who had established connections many decades earlier, i.e.

"Philip Guarino helped establish the ethnic division of the GOP in 1952. He was vice-chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council from 1971-75."

By April 8, 1980, Guarino "was a senior member of the Republican Party National Committee, which at the time was concentrating all its efforts on getting Ronald Reagan elected President." (Recall Reagan also gave a nod to these vermin when he visited the grave site of a Waffen S.S. in Bitburg, W. Germany. The PR at the time was that it was "an accident", but don't buy it for a second!) The "ethnic division of the GOP" refers to Ukrainian and Latvian assistants and associates, or members of the extension group affiliated with the German Waffen S.S. which had helped carry out pogroms during WWII- usually butchering Jews and communists in their own nations. (Recall, Hitler often conflated the Jews with Marxists, communists based on the fact Karl Marx was a Jew.)

There isn't much to be happy about but at least one gutsy lawmaker is paying attention. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, a senior Democratic member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She said she plans to introduce legislation to close the loophole. As she stated:

"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," 

The problem, of course, is that she will need Repub votes in order to get it done.

Given how these guys love the Nazis, I wouldn't hold your breath!

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