LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – Federal authorities have begun deportation proceedings against an 85-year-old suburban Atlanta man who they say served as a Nazi guard and trained and handled attack dogs at Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps.
The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security allege Paul Henss, a German citizen who lives in Lawrenceville, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, entered the United States in 1955 after hiding his concentration camp service.
The Department of Justice announced the action against Henss on Monday; federal authorities filed an immigration document making the allegations Sept. 4.
On Monday, in his driveway in a tidy, middle-class neighborhood where the streets are named after tennis stars, Henss said he had been an SS soldier and had trained German shepherds and Rottweilers during World War II, but he angrily denied being a war criminal.
“I didn’t commit no crimes,” Henss said. “I didn’t hurt nobody. Otherwise I wouldn’t have come to the United States.”
Henss called the Holocaust “a catastrophe” and said: “Everybody in Germany knows that wasn’t right.”
According to federal authorities, Henss joined the Hitler Youth organization in Germany in 1934 as a 12- or 13-year-old boy and joined the Nazi Party in 1940.
He entered the Waffen SS in 1941 and volunteered the following year to become an SS dog handler, serving from 1942 to 1944 at the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps in Germany, the immigration document states.
Henss admitted in a sworn statement March 13 that he served as an SS guard at Dachau and Buchenwald for two to three months each as a dog handler, according to the charging document.
Henss said that when he came to the U.S. 33 years ago, he did not tell immigration officials about his military service in Germany and was not asked.
“I forgot about the war,” he said. “I wanted to leave the war behind me.”
After coming to America, he worked in the packing industry, he said.