Over $20 million was given to suspected Nazi war criminals and collaborators by the U.S. government in Social Security retirement benefits over many years, an investigative report has shown.
After research by the Associated Press, details emerged on Sunday that 133 people who are suspected of being Nazi war criminals or of aiding the Nazis during the Holocaust received millions from 1962 to January of this year.
The practice was only stopped when a new law went into effect, banning Social Security payments. Four remaining beneficiaries lost their retirement benefits.
Last year it was reported that Social Security benefits were paid to former Nazis, including SS guards, who agreed to leave the United States voluntarily, rather than being forcibly deported.
Many lied about their Nazi past to get into the U.S. and even became American citizens. They got jobs and said little about what they did during the war.
The report says $5.6 million was paid to 38 ex-Nazis before they were deported, whereas 95 Nazi suspects who were not deported but who were alleged or found to have participated in the Nazi persecution received $14.5 million in benefits.
“The large amount of the benefits and their duration illustrate how unaware the American public was of the influx of Nazi persecutors into the U.S,” said the authors.