November 21, 2009

Nazi hunter vows to bring last Hitler criminals to justice

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, chief investigator of Nazi war criminals for the
Simon Wiesenthal Center,
talks to the media about his efforts to bring Nazi war
criminals to justice during a press conference
at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles

They're now old, feeble, beloved by their children and grandkids - and accused of abetting the murder of millions

Six decades after the Holocaust, the world's leading Nazi hunter vowed Thursday to either bring the last of Hitler's war criminals to justice or pursue them to their graves.

"Contrary to public perception that it's too late, that's certainly not the case," said Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi hunter for the renowned Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "We have three to five years until we won't be able to do this anymore."

Zuroff, director of the center's Israeli office, was at the center's Museum of Tolerance to release its annual report on the prosecution of some of the world's most evil men and women. He was also in town to promote his book, "Operation Last Chance: One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice."

The good news: Four of the center's 10 most wanted Nazi war criminals may soon stand trial. They include Ivan Demjanjuk, a former American accused of helping slaughter Jews in several Waffen SS death camps, whose trial in Germany begins Nov. 30. Also about to face justice is Sandor Kepiro, a Hungarian accused of helping to kill 1,200 civilians. And Charles Zentai, alleged to have helped kill Jews in Hungary, whose extradition from Australia was approved last week. And Heinrich Boere, an alleged hit man for the SS in Holland, now awaiting trial in Germany.

The Simon Wiesenthal report listed 706 ongoing investigations of Nazi war criminals in two dozen countries, including 85 new cases between April 2008 through March 2009. During that period, six Nazis were convicted in Italy.

The bad news: Many nations still refuse to prosecute aging Nazis. At the top of the most-wanted list is Alois Brunner, a key SS operative responsible for the deportation of 128,500 Jews to concentration camps. He may be in Syria. He may be dead.

"It's not that hard to actually find these people. It's not even that hard to find the evidence for these people," said Zuroff, who considers himself part detective, part historian and part political lobbyist. "What is incredibly hard is to get countries that are reluctant to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, to do the right thing and to bring them to trial."

Among the countries that got failing grades for not going after Nazis: Australia, Austria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, Syria and the Ukraine. Canada, which has never deported a single Nazi, scored a D.

The United States got top marks for helping bring 37 of the 82 war criminal convictions worldwide, while stripping 75 Nazis of their citizenship and deporting 56.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said others may defend Nazi fugitives as old, feeble and forgetful and not worth prosecution. But they have been able to live fruitful lives, he said, while their victims did not.

"As long as a Nazi war criminal is still alive, they should know that there's someone looking for them," Hier said. "When you hunt a Nazi war criminal, all Nazi war criminals in the world feel vulnerable."

Holocaust survivors and their children agreed. Sol Teichman, his brother Samuel and their father were the only family members to survive the Nazi scourge. After surviving Auschwitz and a death march to Dachau where 6,000 fell, they were among the first Jewish refugees admitted to the U.S.

"We should go after them... they should not be forgiven," said Sol Teichman, 82, of Encino, a native of Czechoslovakia. "I lost 100 members of my immediate family... It's something I cannot forget, nor can I forgive."

"I want to see justice done," added the daughter of an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor in Camarillo, who asked that her name not be used. "I'd love to see 'em hang from a tree and let me at 'em."

Los Angeles Daily News


Anonymous said...

Talking of dead fascists ....


Anonymous said...

"Nazi hunter vows to bring last Hitler criminals to justice"

Good. Never forget, never forgive. Not until the last one of these murderers is dead.

West Midlands Unity said...

lol, he's the grand-daddy of anti-fascism!

Isreal's mossad also brought loads of em' down too