UPDATED — A one-time plastics executive in Akron, Ohio, is among dozens of suspected former Nazis who have been collecting U.S. Social Security payments for years, according to an Associated Press report.
Jakob Denzinger, 90, who once owned Pioneer Plastics Corp. in the Akron suburb of Green Township, fled the U.S. in 1989 after he was accused of having been a guard at numerous German concentration camps, including Auschwitz, during World War II. Plastics News reported the accusations against Denzinger in 1989.
Some suspected Nazis who agreed to leave the United States have been allowed to continue collecting Social Security benefits. Of 66 suspects removed from the U.S., Denzinger is one of at least 38 who kept their benefits, AP reported Oct. 20. He now lives in Osijek, Croatia, where he collects $1,500 a month in Social Security payments from the U.S. government, according to the two-year AP investigation.
Denzinger and his wife, Maria, were admitted to the U.S. from West Germany in 1956. He became a naturalized citizen in 1972. He had owned Pioneer Plastics since 1982, but has not been part of the company “for many years,” according to lawyer William G. Chris, Pioneer's legal agent, who would not disclose any further information when contacted by phone Oct. 20.
The Denzingers divorced in 1988. Maria Denzinger died April 26, 2014 at age 87, according to her obituary.
Jakob Denzinger also held investments in real estate, including through Akron-based Denzinger Investments with his son, Thomas.
“He's made a new life for himself over there,” Thomas Denzinger told AP. “But he's angry. He claims he was drafted into the army and he did as he was told. You do as you are told or they line you up against a wall and shoot you. You don't have any choice.”
Pioneer officials could not be reached for comment. The injection molder, owned by Ralph Danesi, operates a 56,000-square-foot facility on a 6½-acre site in Akron. According to its website, the company specializes in high-volume runs and operates presses with clamping forces of 90-725 tons.
According to ChamberOfCommerce.com, Pioneer employs roughly 125 people and generates annual sales of about $15 million.