Recently, several Nazis were discovered living in America during an Associated Press investigation. They were found across the country from the state of Ohio and to Arizona. According to an AP article, “Among those receiving benefits were armed SS troops who guarded the network of Nazi camps where millions of Jews perished; a rocket scientist who used slave laborers to advance his research in the Third Reich; and a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland. 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.”
After being discovered by Nazi hunters, these former soldiers fled to Germany and have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship and Social Security benefits. While most of these criminals are of old age, many came into the United States under an assumed identity after the defeat of the Germans and the end of World War II. Many of those discovered were said to have been persuaded to leave the U.S. by the Justice System.
There are cases in the past where we have unknowingly paid other war criminals. The question that should be asked is “should we continue to prosecute and bring these people to justice?” Many people would argue that because these criminals are old it would be a waste of time and money but I beg to differ. Because of a mistake caused by a loophole in the system, we have been paying hundreds to thousands of dollars in tax money to these war criminals. Instead of punishing them, we have been rewarding them with our tax money. Denzinger, one of the discovered Nazis, had been receiving $1,500 a month, nearly twice as much as the average worker in Croatia.
While some may argue that there is a statute of limitation for the various accused crimes, we should remember that in our current law there is no statute of limitation for murder. There are plenty of cases in the past where people who were part of the Nazi regime were discovered and did not receive punishment. Merely because these crimes were committed 50 to 60 years ago does not mean that they should be ignored, these were crimes committed against humanity. These cases are no different than any crime that is committed in today’s time, whether domestic or international. No matter how old the perpetrator is, he should still be held accountable for the accused crimes.
While the former Nazis are old and weak, they are still guilty for the crimes they committed. No amount of time can undo what has been done, one cannot simply call the dead victims back to life. Loopholes, like the one allowing war criminals to receive tax money on a regular basis, need to be taken care of and closed. Doing this would prevent criminals from escaping the justice system and would bring them to face prosecution.