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US seeks to deport British 'SS guard'

THE UNITED STATES has begun deportation proceedings against a British citizen, saying he had been identified as an SS guard who shot dead two prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War, writes Phil Reeves.

The US Justice Department claimed yesterday that Alexander Schweidler, 71, served from 1942 to 1945 as a guard at Mauthausen, a camp in Austria where more than 67,000 Jews and other prisoners lost their lives, many as a result of gassing, hanging and starvation. It said a wartime document had come to light, bearing his signature, in which he admitted the killings.

Last night it was unclear to which country Mr Schweidler, who is accused of being a former member of the SS 'Death's Head Battalion', is likely to be deported.

Mr Schweidler, who lives in Florida, emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1948 and subsequently became a British citizen. In 1965, he moved to the United States - he did not report any alleged Nazi past.

Mr Schweidler, who is of Czechoslovakian origin, declined to comment.

The British Embassy in Washington said it was so far unaware of the case. 'We will obviously be consulted in time,' a spokesman said.