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December 23, 1994 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-12-23

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20 TEVET 5755/DECEMBER 23, 1994

Nazi Neighbor?

Government sues to strip Sterling Heights man of
citizenship because of alleged Nazi involvement.



e is an older man with a slight build principles of the Constitution of the
and pale blue eyes that search the United States."
pavement for relief for his dilemma
If the government succeeds in its
He offers visitors a handshake that lawsuit, Mr. Hammer will be stripped
is polite but weak and a smile that quick- of his rights as a U.S. citizen and de-
ly fades.
ported, much like other former Nazis
He lives in a white brick bungalow sur- the government has found living in the
rounded by a meticulously manicured United States.
lawn. The house, like all of the others on
"We are more kind to them than
his block, is decorated for Christmas. It they were to their victims," said John
.0 has three wreaths in the front window and Russell, a spokesman for the Justice
a poster of Santa Claus scaling the front Department.
porch bannister.
The government's lawsuit focuses Ferdinand Hammer: The OSI files charges.
He is Ferdinand Hammer. The gov- on a period in Mr. Hammer's past, a
ernment says he was a Nazi concentra- time he said he served in the "German
States that allowed refugees from war-
tion and death camp guard.
Army SS." Then, he said, he wore an SS torn Europe to immigrate. Under the law,
In a civil complaint filed 10 days ago in insignia on his lapel and fought on the the immigrants were given permanent
U.S. District Court, attorneys from the front line against Soviet forces. He denied visas to America. And jobs, he heard from
Department of Justice's Office of Special serving in a camp.
relatives, were plentiful in America.
Investigations claim the 73-year-old re-
"I didn't hurt nobody," he said in heav-
Mr. Hammer claims he told American
tired blacksmith lied about his wartime ily accented, broken English. "I want to consulate officials in Salzburg, Austria,
activities on a visa application and later stay here."
about his wartime involvement with the
on a petition for citizenship.
After the war was over, Mr. Hammer SS when he filed a visa application. Based
According to the law, citizenship can be said he moved to Austria to find work. He on the information Mr. Hammer gave on
revoked if it was obtained by willful mis- was able to find menial jobs but desired the application, the American officials
representation. Another requirement of to work as a blacksmith or a farmer, his granted him a visa as a Yugoslav state-
naturalization states that a petitioner for occupation before the war. Mr. Hammer less person and a German expellee.
citizenship "has been and still is a person heard about the Refugee Relief Act of 1953
of good moral character, attached to the (RRA), then a new law in the United NAZI NEIGHBOR -page 15

Lost, Found

Nazis have done their best to

disappear. The OSI is there to
catch them.


akob Reimer insisted he was an in-
nocent man.
Eli Rosenbaum wanted details.
Acting director of the Office of Spe-
cial Investigations, the Department of
Justice's Nazi-hunting unit, Mr. Rosen-
baum has met more than a few "innocent"
"From the way you hear them talk, you
would think that nobody, with the ex-
ception of Hitler and Himmler, ever did
anything wrong," he said.
So when Mr. Rosenbaum spoke that
day with Jakob Reimer, a New York res-
ident the Justice Department last year
charged with being a member of the SS,
he wasn't going to take "innocent" for an
Mr. Reimer admitted going to a mass
killing at a ravine during World War II.
But he said he himself had never harmed
"Do you suppose that all the men who
might still be alive who were at the
ravine...they would tell us...that the one
man who did not fire a shot was you?" Mr.
Rosenbaum asked.


LOST page 15



Mail Bonding

Postage rates may force
direct mail out-sourcing.

Page 30


Double Play

Two championships in six
months for Burt Hurshe.

Page 50

Without The Rebbe

Rabbi Schneerson's death
has spurred local efforts.

Page 80

Contents on page 3


Harold Finkelstein's
breath wisps away
in the cold morning
air. Two EMS work-
ers wheel him to-
ward the
ambulance. En
route to his new
home, Mr. Finkel-
stein knows he
won't return to Bor-
man Hall. Will he
miss it? He shrugs.
Mr. Finkelstein has
moved before.

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