October 18, 2006, - 2:26 pm

More on Johann Leprich, the Nazi Roaming Free in America

By Debbie Schlussel
Earlier today, I wrote about Johann Leprich, the SS Waffen guard at Mathausen Concentration Camp, who was set free, yesterday, to live with his family, which actively helped him elude authorities.
I didn’t put it in the column for the purposes of brevity, but one of the survivors of Mathausen is Sam Offen–a friend of my late grandfather, Isaac. Mr. Offen and my grandfather, both Holocaust survivors, came to the Detroit area to try to rebuild their lives.
I tried but couldn’t reach Sam at home, today, since I know he followed the case, and we’ve discussed it. From the Detroit Free Press, here’s what Sam said about Leprich, when Leprich was captured in 2003:

samoffen2.jpgjohannleprich.jpg

Sam Offen: Survived Johann Leprich’s Mathausen Nazi Death Camp

Death camp survivor Sam Offen of West Bloomfield says the arrest is the closest he will feel to personal justice. He was 22 years old when he was held captive at Mauthausen, staying there for nine months until he was liberated in 1945 by the U.S. forces.
Offen has followed Leprich’s story from the begining and remembers many of the details of the case. He said his arrest had an impact on him.
“I am a very lucky survivor,” Offen said.

Right after Leprich was captured in July 2003, I discussed it on my Detroit radio show. I tried, unsuccessfully, to get some of Leprich’s neighbors on the air to discuss their comments to the Free Press. Imagine your neighbors saying this about Mohammed Atta (at least 150,000 were murdered at Mathausen):

In 1997, Leprich was profiled on the television program “America’s Most Wanted.”
Some of his neighbors of the Clinton Township home said they did not understand why the authorities were pursuing him. They said it was common knowledge that he lived in Canada and was eluding authorities. But no one said they ever saw him.
Why don’t they just leave him alone. He’s an old man,” said neighbor Mary Bombassei, 65. “I know what he did was wrong, but they seemed like real nice people.”
He lived in a brick home with an immaculately kept yard. [DS: What does it matter what a Nazi's lawn was like?]
One neighbor, who asked to not be identified, felt Leprich was being treated unfairly. . . .
They make him out to be a butcher, but he’s not,” the neighbor said. “He was a hell of a neighbor.”

Incredible. Incredibly obtuse. Similar outrageous comments in the Detroit Newsistan, also from 2003:

Neighbors said . . . . The man they remember was soft-spoken, gentle and neighborly.
Leprich would stop over unannounced, neighbors said. He chatted easily about the weather or his children, never leaving without saying goodbye in his faint German accent. At home, he spent hours in the back yard of his tidy ranch in Clinton Township tending to his vegetable garden.
“He grew everything in that garden and he shared his vegetables with everyone — that’s just the way he was,” neighbor Clarence Sonntag, 73, said Monday across the street from the home where Leprich’s wife and son still live.

Here’s what survivor Sam Offen told the Detroit Newsistan in 2003:

“His neighbors were not there — other prisoners and I can attest to the fact that guards like Mr. Leprich performed brutal tasks,” said Sam Offen, 81, of West Bloomfield, who was at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in the mid-1940s, when Leprich was stationed there.

Stupid Neighbors and the Nazi Murderers Who Love Them, Volume II. (Volume I is here.)

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7 Responses

Absolutely amazing how they will excuse a Nazi War Criminal, yet condemn Israel for existing or defending herself.
When stationed in Germany in the erly 70s, I took occassion to visit Dachau, outside of Munich. Although cleaned up and 2 barracks rebuilt new, the air was thick with what happened there.

Lew Waters on October 18, 2006 at 3:42 pm

Wasn’t Leprich the inspiration for that movie “Apt Pupil”? How apathetically ambivolent of these neighbors to share such kind sentiment for a Nazi Criminal. I guess they were all just so blissfully appreciative of the fact that there weren’t any Jews in their neighborhood. SICK PEOPLE! SICK!!

Yiddish Steel on October 18, 2006 at 3:43 pm

YOU HAVE TO really wonder about MORALLY BANKRUPT and silly people like neighbour Clarence Sonntag, who can now excuse this former concentration guard and enthusiastic Nazi Johann Leprich ñ a man who clearly BRUTALIZED HELPLESS prisoners left in his care ñ because ìtodayî this ìgentleî man gives him free vegetables!?!
ClarenceÖyouíre all heartÖand absolutely ìno brainsî.
THAT MERCY Clarence, is not just yours to give.
And ClarenceÖthatís why there is a hellÖbecause God has deemed it JUST that UNREPENTED serious offences against God and man must be punished eternally, and without reprieve. THAT TORMENT must be physical, emotional, and intellectual!
NOT LONG for you Mr. LeprichÖ
JOHANN youíve done a lot of running…but have offered up no form of restitution for your horrid crimes against humanity~

The Canadien on October 18, 2006 at 7:42 pm

Here is a letter written by Fred Friendly to his mother in Massachussets from Mauthausen. He was among the US troops who liberated the camp, and later headed CBS News.
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=10620&only

Johan Amedeus Metesky on October 18, 2006 at 8:17 pm

its a shame that the allied nations let these thugs fly under the radar even where there is proof they ran these camps and let them blend to our society

PNAMARBLE on October 18, 2006 at 8:46 pm

Are there any photos of these thugs dating back to WW2,and where can they be found? Their faces must always remain a historical reference.

Leo on September 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm

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