A FORMER Auschwitz guard who has lived in the US since 1952 is facing possible extradition to Germany after being accused of helping to kill 216,000 Jewish men, women and children at the Nazi death camp.

Johann "Hans" Breyer, 89, from Philadelphia, a retired tool-and-die maker, is being held in custody without bail.

He was arrested outside his home hours after a court in Weiden, Germany, issued a warrant charging him with 158 counts of complicity in the commission of murder.

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Each count represents a trainload of Nazi prisoners from Hungary, Germany and Czechoslovakia who were killed between May 1944 and October 1944, according to US prosecutors.

Lawyer Dennis Boyle argued at a federal court in Philadelphia that Breyer was too infirm to be detained pending his extradition hearing on August 21.

Breyer, wearing a prison-issue jumpsuit, appeared frail and carried a cane as he was helped to his seat. He had mild dementia and heart issues and has previously suffered strokes.