Suspected Nazi death-camp guard dies in Philadelphia
July 23, 2014 3:08 PM
This undated file image shows the main gate of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz I, Poland. German prosecutors had hoped to try Johann "Hans" Breyer on charges of aiding in the murder of more than 200,000 Jews at the Auschwitz death camp. Breyer died late Tuesday.
By Jason Grant / Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA -- A Northeast Philadelphia man accused of Nazi war crimes died Tuesday night at a hospital, just hours before a federal judge issued an opinion that would have extradited him to Germany to stand trial in the deaths of 216,000 European Jews at the Auschwitz death camp.
Attorney Dennis Boyle told The Associated Press today that Johann Breyer, 89, died Tuesday night. No cause of death has been reported.
A call made by The Inquirer to Mr. Boyle was not immediately returned.
In a 31-page opinion that outlined the atrocities at Auschwitz in horrid detail, Philadelphia-based U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy R. Rice wrote, "like other accused war criminals, Breyer must submit to the judgment of law for his alleged role in Nazi atrocities against humanity. No statute of limitations offers a safe haven for murder."
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia said it had no comment on Mr. Breyer's death or on the extradition opinion, titled a "Certification of Extradition and Order of Commitment."
Breyer, who was arrested last month at his home in Philadelphia, had said he was forced to work as a guard at Auschwitz in his teens.
U.S. prosecutors have described Mr. Breyer as a head guard at the death camp, according to Judge Rice's opinion.
Jason Grant: firstname.lastname@example.org
or 215-854-5506The Associated Press and Inquirer staff writer Jeremy Roebuck contributed. First Published July 23, 2014 12:00 AM