PITTSBURGH - A lawyer says a former Nazi concentration camp guard who had been fighting attempts to deport him from the United States has died in Pennsylvania.
Attorney Adrian Roe said 88-year-old Anton Geiser died over the weekend and was buried Monday in Hermitage, Pa.
Geiser was born in what is now Croatia. He'd been living in Sharon, Pa., for more than 50 years but didn't tell his family about the Nazi service until 2004, when the Justice Department began legal proceedings.
Geiser had said he was forced to join the SS at the age of 17 in 1942 and that he never killed anyone. But federal prosecutors say his work as a concentration camp guard made him a party to the persecution of countless men, women and children.
The case first came up in 2006, and in that same year, an appeal was filed in the Third Circuit U.S. District Court. In 2008, the original ruling was upheld: citizenship revoked.
According to the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Geiser was supposed to turn in his naturalization certificate or passport and is prohibited from claiming any rights or benefits of U.S. citizenship. A federal judge ordered Geiser deported in 2010.
He appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Va., earlier this month, but a spokesman declined to discuss any further details of the case.
According to Sharon woman Diane Dach, who had known Geiser since the early 1960s, he had been hospitalized recently with a broken leg. His wife, Theresia, died last year.
"They're the nicest people you ever wanted to meet and they've been like family to me," she said. "It's just a terrible thing for them to have to go through."
She said he never spoke of his time in the service prior to the publicity of 2006.
"No, why would he? He was ashamed, I'm sure," she said.
He worked 31 years at Sharon Steel, 10 years in the blast furnace and 21 in the boiler house. He retired Feb. 1, 1987. He also was a member of St. Anthony's Church and the Maennerchor Club.
Geiser had told authorities and media that while he served at both Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald concentration camps during the last years of the war, he was unaware at the time what was happening at the camps.