Germans charge Philly man, 89
PHILADELPHIA — An 89-year-old Philadelphia resident was ordered held without bail on Wednesday on a German arrest warrant charging him with aiding and abetting the killing of 216,000 Jewish men, women and children while he was a guard at Auschwitz.
Johann “Hans” Breyer, a retired toolmaker, was arrested by U.S. authorities on Tuesday night. Breyer spent the night in custody and appeared frail during a detention hearing in federal court, wearing an olive green prison jumpsuit and carrying a cane.
The district court in Weiden, Germany, issued a warrant for Breyer's arrest the day before, charging him with 158 counts of complicity in the commission of murder.
Each count represents a trainload of Nazi prisoners from Hungary, Germany and Czechoslovakia who were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau between May 1944 and October 1944, the documents said.
Attorney Dennis Boyle argued his client is too infirm to be detained pending a hearing on his possible extradition to Germany. Breyer has mild dementia and heart issues, and has suffered strokes, Boyle said.
“Mr. Breyer is not a threat to anyone,” Boyle said. “He's not a flight risk.”
Breyer has admitted he was a guard at Auschwitz in occupied Poland during World War II, but has told The Associated Press he was stationed outside of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp part of the complex and had nothing to do with the slaughter of about 1.5 million prisoners behind the gates.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reports grim for Pennsylvania’s state-run veterans homes
- Lawyers donate thousands of dollars to Pennsylvania Supreme Court race
- All Pennsylvanians to pay more, GOP gleans from report on Wolf’s tax plan
- Pa. justices to consider murky case on charities
- State’s homeless rate begins to decrease
- Video of fatal Hummelstown police shooting not released