Nazis voluntarily leaving, with social benefits:
Associated Press writers Gene Johnson in Seattle; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; Darko Bandic in Osijek; Monika Scislowska in Warsaw; and Eric Tucker and Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington contributed to this report.
OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) — Former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger 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, a lakefront home, investments in oil and real estate.
Then the Nazi hunters showed up.
In 1989, as the U.S. government prepared to strip him of his citizenship, Denzinger packed a pair of suitcases and fled to Germany. Denzinger later settled in this 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 each month, nearly twice the take-home pay of an average Croatian worker.
Denzinger, 90, is among dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards who collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation found.
The payments flowed through a legal loophole that has given the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal government records.
Like Denzinger, many lied about their Nazi pasts to get into the U.S. following World War II, and eventually became American citizens.
Among those who benefited:
—armed SS troops who guarded the Nazi network of camps where millions of Jews perished.
—an SS guard who took part in the brutal liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland that killed as many as 13,000 Jews.
—a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.
—a German rocket scientist accused of using slave labor to build the V-2 rocket that pummeled London. He later won NASA’s highest honor for helping to put a man on the moon…
Where Jakob Denzinger now merits a Wikipedia profile.
So you say you’re going home…