According to a news article, which you can read in full here, “Johann Breyer, 89, had successfully eluded a dark past that allegedly included the extermination of hundreds of thousands of people according to [German] prosecutors.”
There were 900,000 Jews allegedly “exterminated” at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Auschwitz II camp, according to the latest figures.
Beginning in May 1944, Breyer was a guard at the Auschwitz main camp, the Auschwitz I camp, which was mainly a prison for political prisoners, although there was a gas chamber in the morgue.
In May 1944, while Breyer was working as a guard in the main camp, the gas chamber there was no longer in use, because it had been converted into a bomb shelter for the German guards in the camp.
According to Wikipedia: “On 14th June 1940, German authorities in occupied Poland organised the first mass transport of prisoners to the recently opened Auschwitz Concentration Camp [the main Auschwitz camp where Breyer was working in 1944]. The transport, which set out from the southern Polish city of Tarnów, consisted of 728 Poles, including 20 Jews. They were “political” prisoners and members of the Polish resistance…”
What should Breyer have done to avoid charges, 70 years later, that include “the extermination of hundreds of thousands of people” at Auschwitz?
First of all, as a guard at the main Auschwitz camp, Breyer should have made it his business to learn that there was another Auschwitz camp, 3 kilometers down the road from where he was working as a lowly guard, and that this camp, known as Auschwitz-Birkenau, was an “extermination camp,” where Jews were being gassed upon arrival.
Breyer was a young man, 17 years old, when he enlisted in the German Army. After he was transferred, from the Buchenwald camp [where he had worked for several years] to Auschwitz, he was still a young man, in the prime of life. He could have easily made regular 3K runs to Auschwitz-Birkenau, to meet the 158 trains that brought Jews to the extermination camp. He should have known that the 216,000 Jews on those 158 trains were all taken immediately to one of the 4 gas chambers in operation in 1944, and he should done something to stop this horror.
Newbies to the Holocaust saga might be confused about why the Nazis built a 425-acre camp for the purpose of gassing the Jews upon arrival. This was how the Nazis tried to fool later generations. The thousands of wooden barracks at Birkenau were fake buildings, that were never used to house prisoners. Besides that, Auschwitz-Birkeanu was never used as a transit camp; the location of the camp was not selected by Heinrich Himmler because of all the train lines coming into this location.
Don’t let the photo above fool you. These women are actresses, posing in a fake barrack at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Old women were immediately gassed upon arrival. Johann Breyer had a duty to the Jews to stop this massacre.
Johann Breyer was a German soldier, who might have mistakenly thought that his duty was to serve his country (My country, right or wrong) but he was wrong. His duty was to save the Jews from the gas chambers, located 3 kilometers down the road, from where he was a guard.
The German government alleges that Breyer served in the Nazi “Death’s Head Guard Battalion” from 1943 to 1945 at Auschwitz and another location according to court papers. They have charged Breyer with complicity in the murder of more than 216,000 Jews from Hungary, Germany, and Czechoslovakia who were deported to Auschwitz in southern Poland on 158 trains. The Germans have asked him to be extradited. Breyer has repeatedly denied any involvement in the deaths of Jews. “Not the slightest idea, never, never, ever,” Breyer told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1992. “All I know is from the television. What was happening at the camps, it never came up at that time.”
Look at the background in the two photos above. The train that brought these two groups of Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau is shown in the background. Notice that the fence posts are the same in both photos.
At Auschwitz-Birkenau, the women who were selected to be gassed immediately walked down the same road, that was used by the men who had been selected for labor. How was Johann Breyer, working as a guard 3 kilometers away, supposed to know that all the prisoners in BOTH of these groups were gassed? Yet there are still thousands of survivors, who are still living, and lauding the Germans for putting an innocent former German soldier on trial.
Before becoming a guard at the Auschwitz I camp, Johann Breyer had worked at the Buchenwald concentration camp as a guard. He was transferred to Auschwitz in 1944.
This quote is from a previous American court case against Breyer in 1994:
Breyer was initially assigned to the Buchenwald concentration camp where he served in the SS Totenkopf guard unit from February, 1943 to May, 1944. At Buchenwald, Breyer was trained to use a rifle and guard prisoners. In uniform, Breyer accompanied prisoners to and from work sites, and stood guard with a loaded rifle at the perimeter of the camp, under orders to shoot any prisoner trying to escape who failed to heed a warning to stop. In May, 1944, Breyer was transferred to Auschwitz, a death camp complex established in Nazi-occupied Poland. Again uniformed as an SS Totenkopf guard and armed with a rifle, Breyer patrolled the camp’s perimeters and escorted prisoners to and from work. In August, 1944, Breyer took a paid leave, never to return to guard duty. While Breyer denied that he personally engaged in any abuse of prisoners, he was aware that prisoners were tortured and killed at Buchenwald and Auschwitz.