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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 01:14 GMT 02:14 UK
US arrests alleged Nazi guard
Mauthausen concentration camp
Leprich allegedly served at Mauthausen
US authorities are seeking to deport a man accused of having served as a Nazi concentration camp guard.

Immigration officers found 77-year-old Johann Leprich hiding in a secret compartment beneath the stairs at his home in Clinton Township, Michigan, US Attorney General John Ashcroft said.

Leprich was apparently living in the United States illegally after his citizenship was revoked in 1987.

Then, a federal judge found that Leprich had served as an SS guard at the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Austria from 1943 to 1944.

"This arrest makes clear that those who participated in the atrocities of the Holocaust will not escape the determined reach of US law enforcement, regardless of how much time has passed," said Mr Ashcroft.

"Nazi collaborators will not find a safe haven in the United States."

'Returned to US'

Leprich, who was born in Romania, immigrated to the United States in 1952 and became a US citizen six years later.

After his citizenship was revoked nearly 30 years later, his lawyers said he had left the country.

Leprich was reportedly seen in Windsor, Ontario, in Canada, just across the border from Michigan.

He was also reportedly a frequent visitor to Detroit, Michigan, and might have been living there, the US Justice Department said.

The government filed a request with the US Immigration Court to have Leprich deported on the grounds that he served as a Nazi guard.

"We intend to remove Leprich from the US with all deliberate speed," said Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigation (OSI).


SEE ALSO:
US to deport alleged Nazi
19 Apr 03  |  Europe
Nazi hunter Wiesenthal to retire
18 Apr 03  |  Europe
US seeks to deport 'SS guard'
18 Jul 02  |  Americas


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