I have a gallery of family photos on a shelf on the second floor landing of my home.
A picture that makes me smile every day is one of my father and my grown son sitting together in companionable silence — their profiles and expressions so familiar, so similar.
Craig was the first grandchild for my parents. It was a learning experience for all of us – one full of love, laughter and not always as much discipline as I felt warranted.
But I don’t think I fully appreciated the unique role a grandparent plays in a child’s life until I became a grandparent, myself.
I never had the pleasure of being spoiled by my grandparents. They died at Auschwitz in October,1942.
I know when and where they were murdered because the Nazis kept good records.
Nazi War Criminals Lived the Good Life in America
The American immigration authorities in the late 1940s and early 1950s didn’t check those records carefully enough. The Associated Press reports that as many as 10,000 Nazi party members and actual war criminals immigrated to the United States and became naturalized citizens during that period.
Some sightings of suspected Nazi war criminals by Holocaust survivors, who had also immigrated to the USA, brought a few of them into public view. As a result, the Justice Department established the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) to track down the most egregious criminals among them – by then fast becoming old men.
Over the years I’ve seen TV News reports or read newspaper stories about deportation proceedings, most particularly Jakob Denzinger, a notoriously cruel guard at Auschwitz. He had built a comfortable American life of entrepreneurship before the OSI came calling at his Ohio lakefront home.
Nazi War Criminals Still Collect Social Security Benefits
The name Denzinger stood out in an Associated Press (AP) investigative report this week which claimed nearly $2 million in Social Security benefits paid to a handful of Nazi war criminals after they were “outed” and stripped of their US citizenship.
But Mr. Denzinger is not in a European prison. Germany declined to prosecute him and today he is living a comfortable life in Croatia. His retirement funded by a $1500 a month Social Security (SS) check – the very same SSI tax dollars withheld from your pay check every month. His son, a US citizen, claims he “earned” those benefits.
His benefits are not paid from some factious Social Security Trust Fund. Rather current recipients are paid from current year taxes withheld from pay checks.
Even though Mr. Denzinger and his fellow Nazi war criminals paid Social Security taxes while hiding in the United States, who can justify taxing you and I — the children and grandchildren of Nazi victims and the brave American soldiers who defeated their black-hearted ideology — to support these aged criminals in comfort?
The short answer is it’s the unelected, unaccountable, anonymous bureaucrats who are the real US governing power over our lives.
Because Nazi war crimes were not committed in the US, these men could not be prosecuted under US law. US policy became to remove them from the US with as little publicity as possible. This was accomplished by guaranteeing these criminals their Social Security benefits in exchange for their voluntary departure from the US.
Once they had landed in Europe their US citizenship was revoked. In almost every case, the European government declined to prosecute them.
The same Elena Kagan who now sits on the United States Supreme Court defended this policy on behalf of the Clinton Administration. She argued Immigration Courts might be reluctant to deport old and sick men – even if they were notorious war criminals who had entered the US fraudulently.
Better Late than Never Congress is Asking Questions
Congress had an opportunity to stop tax payer abuse 15 years ago but didn’t. The AP claims there was pressure from the OSI.
Hog wash – members were afraid of headlines claiming they’d stripped someone, anyone of their Social Security benefits.
Thanks to the AP report, Rep. Carol Maloney (D-NY), member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, is now asking questions and threatening hearings.
Congress must establish a working group and dedicate staff to thoroughly investigate how such the original objective – removing and punishing Nazi war criminals hiding in our midst – came to such a bad outcome. No whitewash, no hypotheticals, no politics – a deep analysis.
The lessons the American people and the members of Congress can learn about bureaucratic over-reach and inadequate Congressional and Executive oversight can be a catalyst for change far beyond this single scandal.
The findings have the potential to drastically change the balance of power between the people – through their elected representatives – and the unelected bureaucrats before whom we now cower.