Suspected Nazi war criminals collected millions of dollars in U.S. Social Security benefits after being forced to leave the United States, according to the Associated Press.
Among those receiving Social Security were armed SS guards of Nazi concentration camps where millions of Jews perished, a rocket scientist who used slave labor to advanced his research, and a Nazi collaborator who masterminded the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.
The AP says the payments were distributed as part of a deal used by the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigation, which was created in 1979 to circumvent lengthy deportation hearings. Reportedly, the condition was that if the accused voluntarily left the country or fled before deportation, they could keep receiving their Socials Security benefits.
Government records reveal heated objections from the State Department and Social Security Administration over the deal with Nazi suspects, who would lose their citizenship and voluntarily leave the United States to keep their Social Security benefits.
Subsequently, the practice known as “Nazi dumping” was suspended, but the benefits loophole was not closed.
US lawmakers have been working to close the loophole.
Since 1979, at least 38 of 66 suspected Nazi war criminals were forced to leave the United States.