A federal appeals court has upheld a decision to strip a former Nazi concentration camp guard of his U.S. citizenship, clearing the way for his deportation. The ruling Wednesday by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati against Johann Leprich, 80, means he probably will be deported, most likely to Romania, said Leprich's lawyer, Joseph T. McGinness.
Leprich, a retired tool and die worker, was an ethnic German born in Birk, Romania, in 1925. In 1943, he joined the Nazi military organization Waffen SS and served as an armed guard at Mauthausen concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Austria, court records say. About 119,000 people were killed at Mauthausen. They included political prisoners, Spanish civil war veterans, Soviet, Dutch and Czech prisoners of war and Jews.
Federal officials can move to deport Leprich in 52 days, the time he has to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, The Detroit News said. Unless the high court issues an order, he then can be deported. "To be honest, this is basically the end of the line," McGinness said. He said the Supreme Court rarely grants such orders. McGinness said Leprich worked as a guard outside the concentration camp and only joined because he was drafted. He has been in custody for 2 1/2 years. Leprich immigrated to the U.S. from Germany after World War II and became a U.S. citizen in 1958. But he fled to Windsor, Ontario, in 1987 shortly before a U.S. district court revoked his U.S. citizenship because officials found he had concealed his Nazi party membership. N.U.