US government paid millions in Social Security benefits to ex-Nazis

By Thomas Gaist
June 4, 2015
World Socialist Web Site


The US government paid more than $20 million worth of retirement benefits to at least 133 former Nazis over a period of more than 50 years, according to an internal auditing report released by the US Social Security Administration (SSA) last Saturday.

Many of the recipients of the federally administered retirement benefit checks were directly involved in the extermination camps and other atrocities, serving as guards, commandos, administrators and executioners with the SS and other Nazi units.

The volume of payments grew rapidly from the 1990s onward, rising from at least $1.5 million in 1999 to at least $20 million by 2015, according to the Associated Press. Some of the ex-Nazis were induced to leave the country by the Department of Justice (DOJ), which quietly made known that those who left the country voluntarily would continue to receive their benefit checks. At least $14 million was dispersed to Nazis who were never forced to leave the US at all, according to the SSA.

The SSA payments were apparently continued in order to maintain good relations between Washington and its ex-Nazi clientele, while also avoiding an unnecessary public airing of the matter. The benefits payments allowed the DOJ “to skirt lengthy deportation hearings,” the Times of Israel noted in a recent report.

Responding to the initial exposure of the payments by an Associated Press report published in October 2014, the US Congress passed the “No Social Security for Nazis Act’ last December. Nonetheless, another round of pension checks was reportedly sent to some of ex-Nazis this January, an “accident” the US government has promised will be the last of its kind.

The US government has refused to release a list of recipients’ names. Research by the Associated Press, however, has uncovered details concerning a small number of the recipients:

* John Avdzej became military governor of portions of Belarus during the Nazi invasion of the USSR, directing mass roundups and executions against the local Jewish population. Avdzej agreed to leave the US for West Germany in 1984, where he continued to receive SSA checks until his death in 1998.

* Nazi rocket scientist Arthur Rudolf was granted asylum in the US on the grounds that he possessed valuable technical skills, despite overseeing the use of slave labor at a Nazi V-2 rocket production factory during the war. Rudolf signed a “settlement agreement” with the US government in 1983 after his involvement with the regime’s use of slave labor was exposed, and he left the US for West Germany the following year, where he formally repudiated his US citizenship at an American diplomatic facility in Hamburg

Rudolf continued to receive checks from the SSA until his death from heart failure in 1996.

* Former Nazi SS member Jakob Dezinger, who served with a Death’s Head battalion, the special units tasked with running the extermination and forced labor camps, after joining the SS in 1942. Dezinger moved to Ohio after the war, where he enjoyed a prosperous career as an executive at a plastics producer.

* Martin Hartmann, also a member of the SS Death’s Head battalions, was a guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, enjoyed US citizenship until 2007, when he moved to Berlin as part of a deal to keep his SSA benefits. Official records show that Hartmann had informed the US government about his membership in the SS immediately after the war.

* Elfriede Rinkel, a guard at the Ravensbrueck concentration camp who settled in California after the war, was the only female ex-Nazi ever prosecuted by the DoJ. She continued to receive SSA checks after agreeing to leave the US in 2006.

These examples, merely the tip of the iceberg, once again confirm that despite decades of fraudulent anti-Nazi posturing by the US political establishment, active and enthusiastic Nazis were allowed to continue living and working comfortably on American soil for decades after the war’s end, before enjoying a secure retirement at US government expense.

Anything but accidental, this outcome was produced by policies orchestrated over decades by the US government. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) routinely shielded, employed and financially supported known and suspected Nazi war criminals for decades after the end of World War II. At least 10,000 former Nazis entered the US between 1948-1952, according to investigations by the DOJ.

Such routinized and systematic support can only be explained as the product of the common interests of US capitalism and Germany’s Nazi regime.

While rivals for domination of the world market, US and German imperialism were united by common hatred and fear of the USSR, the first workers’ state that had emerged out of the 1917 October Revolution. Though not without anxieties about unconstrained German domination of Europe, the US ruling class still viewed the Nazis and their backers as a useful bulwark against the threat of further seizures of power by the working class.

After the war, the US became a leading refuge for former Nazis. State agencies, including the CIA and FBI, recruited Nazis into the government while systematically concealing their presence from the public.

Washington recruited former Nazi spymasters to create an anti-Soviet espionage network, originally known as the Gehlen Organization, named after chief of military intelligence for the Eastern Front, Reinhard Gehlen.

After being packed with former Nazi cadres, including entire units of former Nazi SS men, under American supervision, the Gehlen Organization went on to become the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), which remains the official West German intelligence service up to the present.

The US government relied heavily on former SS troopers as it sought to assemble anti-Soviet paramilitary and intelligence units known as “stay behind” forces. Nazis who participated in the clandestine units were later rewarded by the CIA with bonus checks and arrangements that allowed them to resettle in Canada and Australia.

The $20 million in SSA checks was pocket change for the many other ex-Nazis and their descendants who continue to occupy positions of power and privilege within the German corporate and political establishment.

Nonetheless, the latest exposure of US benefit payments to Nazis starkly illustrates the longstanding fraternal relations between US imperialism and fascism. Abetted by Wall Street and Washington DC, the perpetrators of the worst crimes against humanity in history have largely gotten off scot-free, with US government pensions thrown in to boot.


13 thoughts on “US government paid millions in Social Security benefits to ex-Nazis

  1. sojourner

    I’ll be reading and posting on this one! Just the title is enough to set me off!

    And these right wing vermin, in particular, have the nerve to act like those of us on ss are freeloaders, when we, in good faith, paid into this system with our hard-earned income our entire working lives.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. sojourner

        I don’t know how your system works. But they took all the money my parents paid into the system and used it to pad their own pockets, which, of course, always put the fund in a precarious spot.

        And then, after realizing they had screwed the pooch, they convinced my parents’ generation that they were paying for the retirees, and the next gen would pay their ss, so on and so forth. I don’t believe, for one minute, that this was how the original plan was set up.

        If they had collected our money, invested it wisely, there would be trillions in that fund today, enough to take care of all of us.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. newsfortherevolution Post author

        Our system is slightly different, but the effects are the same. They are trying in raise the age of retirement and decrease the pensions they have to pay out. One of the things that really hurting us, and I know it’s impacting you as well, are the ridiculously low tax rates for the wealthy and the huge subsidies they give to corporate world. In order to pay for these, they force austerity measures on us

        Liked by 1 person

  2. sojourner

    Yes, much of this is the same here. They want to raise the age to 70, and they subsidize the elite who pay no taxes, and we foot the bill, while everything for us goes to hell.

    I’ve heard some discouraging things the last few days. And if people turn out in droves next year to vote in that farce, I may just throw in the towel. With everything being so bad for the common people here, if this isn’t enough to wake them up, then I really don’t know what would.

    And I would put my money on this: these creatures are going to find a way to hold off the economic collapse, at least until early or middle 2017. And I could even see them manipulating food and other expenses, so they lull the people back into another false sense of security.

    And if they do manage this, then in the shape most of us are in today, i can see people falling for it and taking part in the election next year.

    I hope I am wrong, wrong, wrong, but they’ve already messed with gas prices, for a two-fold purpose: to screw Russia, yes, but to also throw us what they believe to be a bone!

    I am so sick of this convoluted nightmare, and I sense you are as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. newsfortherevolution Post author

      I’m very sick of it. I can’t believe they are trying to raise the age of retirement to 70. They literally want people to work until they drop dead. Society is right back to where it was in the 1800s when the Robber Barons were in exploiting the masses and workers had no rights. It’s no different today

      Liked by 1 person

      1. sojourner

        Yes, what was old is new again, unfortunately. But we the people have to take some responsibility for this. We allowed these vermin to have their way, we trusted them. And they are not worthy of anyone’s trust.

        My parents and grandparents I don’t fault as much, because there was no way for the common Merican to know what was happening when my parents were young adults. But my generation, and those after mine have no excuse for allowing this to continue. It’s willful ignorance on the part of many Mericans my age, and with the younger as well. We are so wrapped up in our rat-race lives that we have lost all touch with reality and common sense!

        And we are bringing down you and the rest of the world with us! If it was just us, then I would still be troubled, but not nearly as much!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. newsfortherevolution Post author

        This is where the media and Hollywood come in. They done such a great job keeping people misinformed and distracted, that the average person now knows more about the Kardashians than they do about foreign and economic policies that actually shape our world and impact our lives.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. stuartbramhall

    In 1987, I was asked to provide psychiatric consultation for one of the Social Security judges on an elderly man in his early 60s who spoke with a distinct German accent though he claimed to have been born in New York. One of his CIA friends broke into my office and stole his file, but I had his social security number on the billing sheet and reported him to the Simon Wisenthal Foundation.

    They used the SSN to trace his identity and found that he was still collecting a pension from the Nazi army. While they were unable to link him with any war crimes, the fact that he had lied about his pension got him permanently disqualified from receiving any Social Security benefits ever.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. newsfortherevolution Post author

      That’s unbelievable. It shows the hypocrisy of the US government. Despite their rhetoric and their military and financial backing of Israel, they were supporting ex-Nazis for all those years.

      But as we know, prosecuting war criminals is not a top priority for the US government



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