Exclusive: Jimmy Carter Interceded on Behalf of Nazi SS Guard
09:14 Jan 18, '07 / 28 Tevet 5767
by Ezra HaLevi Israel National News
A former U.S. Justice Department official disclosed to Arutz-7 that former
U.S. President Jimmy Carter's advocacy extended beyond the PA Arabs, when he
interceded on behalf of a Nazi SS man.
Neil Sher, a veteran of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special
Investigation, described a letter he received from Carter in 1987 in an
interview with Israel National Radio's Tovia Singer. The letter, written and
signed by Carter, asked that Sher show "special consideration" for a man
proven to have murdered Jews in the Mauthausen death camp in Austria.
"In 1987, Carter had been out of office for seven years or so," Sher
recalled. "It was a very active period for my office. We had just barred
Kurt Waldheim - he was then president of Austria and former head of the
United Nations - from entering the U.S. because of his Nazi past and his
involvement in the persecution of civilians during the war. We had just
deported an Estonian Nazi Commandant back to the Soviet Union after a
bruising battle after which we were attacked by Reagan White House
Communications Director Patrick Buchanan.
"Also around that time, in the spring of 1987, we deported a series of SS
guards from concentration camps, whose names nobody would know. One such
character we sent back to Austria was a man named Martin Bartesch."
Bartesch, who had immigrated to the U.S. and lived in Chicago, admitted to
Sher's office and the court that he had voluntarily joined the Waffen SS and
had served in the notorious SS Death's Head Division at the Mauthausen
concentration camp where, at the hands of Bartesch and his cohorts, many
thousands of prisoners were gassed, shot, starved and worked to death. He
also confessed to having concealed his service at the infamous camp from
U.S. immigration officials.
"We had an extraordinary piece of evidence against him - a book that was
kept by the SS and captured by the American armed forces when they liberated
Mauthausen," Sher said. "We called it the death book. It was a roster that
the Germans required them to keep that identified SS guards as they extended
weapons to murder the inmates and prisoners."
An entry in the book for October 10, 1943 registered the shooting death of
Max Oschorn, a French Jewish prisoner. His murderer was also recorded: SS
guard Martin Bartesch. "It was a most chilling document," Sher recalled.
The same evidence was used by the U.S. military in postwar trials as the
basis for execution or long prison sentences for many identified SS guards.
"We kicked him out and he went back to Austria. In the meantime, his
family - he had adult kids - went on a campaign, also supported by his
church, to try to get special treatment. In so doing they attacked the
activities of our office and me personally. They claimed we used phony
evidence from the Soviet Union - which was nonsense. They claimed he was a
young man of only 17 or 18 when he joined the Nazi forces, asking for some
sympathetic treatment and defense from our office, which they claimed was
just after vengeance."
The family approached several members of Congress. "The congressmen would,
very understandably, forward their claims over to our office and when they
learned the facts they would invariably drop the case," Sher recalled.
But there was one politician who accepted the claims without asking for any
"One day, in the fall of '87, my secretary walks in and gives me a letter
with a Georgia return address reading 'Jimmy Carter.' I assumed it was a
prank from some old college buddies, but it wasn't. It was the original copy
of the letter Bartesch's daughter sent to Carter, after Bartesch had already
"In the letter, she claimed we were un-American, only after vengeance, and
persecuting a man for what he did when he was only 17 and 18 years old.
"I couldn't help thinking of my own father who returned home with shrapnel
wounds after he joined the U.S. Army as a teenager to fight the Nazis and
hit the beaches at Normandy at that same age on D-day.
"On the upper corner of the letter was a note signed by Jimmy Carter saying
that in cases such as this, he wanted 'special consideration for the family
for humanitarian reasons.'
"I didn't respond to the letter - the case was already over and he was out
of the country - but it always stuck in my craw. A former president who didn't
do what I would expect him to do - with a full staff at his disposal - to
find out the facts before he took up the side of this person. But I wasn't
going to pick a fight with a former president. We had enough on our plate."
Now, following Carter's book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Sher has
decided to go public with the hope that a public made aware of Carter's
support and defense of a Nazi SS man will help illustrate why the arbiter of
the Camp David Accords came out with a book defending the Palestinians after
the landslide election of the Islamist Hamas terror group.
"It always bothered me, but I didn't go public with it until recently, when
he wrote this book and let it spill out where his sentiments really lie,"
Sher said. "Here was Jimmy Carter jumping in on behalf of someone who did
not deserve in any way, shape or form special consideration. And the things
he has now said about the Jewish lobby really exposes where his heart really
Click here to listen to Tovia Singer's interview with Sher on Israel
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Published: 18:23 January 17, 2007
Last Update: 09:14 January 18, 2007
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