Denver Post Editorial Board on Defunding Nazi War Criminals

Denver Post Editorial Board on Defunding Nazi War Criminals
Sen. Michael Bennet is a co-sponsor of legislation that would cut off Social Security payments to former Nazi war criminals living abroad. (Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post)

November 26, 2014

Sen. Michael Bennet is a co-sponsor of legislation that most Americans will have a hard time believing could even be necessary.

But they'd better believe it. Former Nazi war criminals for decades have received and, in a few cases apparently still receive, Social Security benefits while living in other countries. Legislation introduced in both houses under bipartisan sponsorship would cut off those payments.

How these suspected war criminals and SS guards came by the payments is a twisted tale. As recounted by The Associated Press, they were pushed out of this country by the Justice Department in a deal that let them maintain retirement benefits. That allowed the department "to skirt lengthy deportation hearings and increased the number of Nazis it expelled from the U.S."

On the other hand, the policy amounted to "dumping our refuse, for lack of a better word, on friendly states," according to a former State Department official.

And the fact that they still receive benefits is only possible because of a loophole in the law — one that finally will be closed.

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