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Accused Nazi war criminal facing trial dies at 88

By Reuters

Accused Nazi war criminal Peter Egner, who had been sought by Serbia on suspicion of war crimes committed as a transport guard on Auschwitz-bound death trains during World War Two, died before he could be brought to trial next month in an attempt to revoke his U.S. citizenship.

Egner, 88, who had been living in a retirement home in Bellevue, Washington, died there last week, according to a representative of the facility who declined to give her name or any details of the circumstances of his death.

Egner's lawyer, Robert Gibbs, declined to comment, as did officials at the U.S. Justice Department in Washington.

Egner, an ethnic German born in Yugoslavia, entered the United States in 1960 and became a citizen in 1966. Serbia issued an international arrest warrant for Egner in April last year and formally requested his extradition on Nov. 28.

Egner had admitted he belonged to a despised Nazi-run security unit but denied that he had committed war crimes.

The Justice Department had asked a federal court to revoke his U.S. citizenship based on evidence of his role in a Nazi mobile execution unit that participated in the mass murder of more than 17,000 Serb civilians, mainly Jews, Roma and political opponents, between 1941 and 1943.

The case was scheduled to start on Feb. 22.

Egner was listed by the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles as the most wanted Nazi war criminal still known to be residing in the United States.