The United States Pays Criminals of War

The United States Pays Criminals of War

Mary Elizabeth Hagan, Reporter

Social Security funds have been dwindling over the years; it has been a recurring fear that the funds will run out. One of the contributing factors to the drop in funds is that the U.S. has paid millions of dollars in benefits to Nazi war criminals over the years, as obtained by the Freedom of Information Act by the Associated Press on October 19, 2014.
The benefits were used as a bargain to get the Nazis to leave the country quietly in the late 1980s. The war criminals were told if they left the country and were prosecuted abroad, sizable payments would continue to line their bank account. It was discovered some former death camp guards and SS, Hitler’s special police force, soldiers collected more than $1.5 million in retirement funds. Currently, the remaining four war criminals continue to receive up to $1,500 a month in social security.
Research by Associated Press reporters,Randy Herchaft and Richard Lardner, proved that at least 38 out of the 66 Nazi guards removed from the United States were permitted to keep their Social Security benefits. Only 10 of these 66 were prosecuted for their crimes.
Some of the crimes include genocide, slave labor, and civilian massacres. Many of these war criminals claim their crimes were only following orders and that they deserve the benefits, “You do as you are told or they line you up against a wall and shoot you. You don’t have any choice,” says son of former Auschwitz worker, Thomas Denzinger, speaking of his father.
Many of these Nazis are still alive. They live in countries such as Croatia and Germany. The names of these criminals have been released to the press, four are still receiving benefits today: Martin Hartmann, Jakob Denzinger, Peter Mueller, and Wasyl Lytwyn.

Legislation that would have made such payment illegal was overturned in 1999. This was mostly from great opposition from the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations whose job was to rid the country of Nazi suspects as soon as possible. Representative Carolyn Maloney, of Manhattan serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, plans to draft a new piece of legislation to seal the loophole. “It’s absolutely outrageous that Nazi war criminals are continuing to receive Social Security benefits when they have been outlawed from our country for many, many, many years,” Maloney said.
The inclusion of the legislation will prevent future criminals of war from receiving funding from United States taxpayers. It will also make the allocation of funds more specific. Her bill will hopefully stop the reward of criminals by the United States.