A Nazi parade in Berlin.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
At least two former members of the Einsatzgruppen SS paramilitary death squads are alive and well and living in Germany scot-free, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said on Thursday.
Interviews with two of them were set to be aired on German TV station ARD on Thursday night, the center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Efraim Zuroff, told The Jerusalem Post.
The two German citizens featured on a list of 80 former Nazis submitted by the Zuroff to the German government almost three years ago.
A total of 2,950 men served in the mobile killing units, and Zuroff had a list containing many of their names.
“I had names of 1,293 and dates of birth of many of them and I checked them and made a list of everyone born in 1920 or later..., and I sent the names to the German Justice Ministry and Interior Ministry,” Zuroff told the Post
Eighteen months later, he received a request for further details on eight of those 80; two of them were Kurt Gosdek and Herbert Waller, who were interviewed by two German journalists who were tipped off by Zuroff.
According to Zuroff, Gosdek admitted in the interview that he served in the Einsatzgruppen as a mechanic but said he had no idea of what was going on, a claim slammed as both “ridiculous” and irrelevant by the Nazi-hunter, who said Gosdek should be convicted in the same way that Oskar Groening was.
Groening was a bookkeeper at Auschwitz
and was convicted in 2015 of being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people and sentenced to four years in prison. He did not kill anyone while working at the camp, but prosecutors argued that by sorting the bank notes from trainloads of Jewish arrivals, he supported the regime responsible for mass murder.
“In accordance with new prosecution policy adopted several years ago in Germany vis-à-vis those who served in death camps or with the Einsatzgruppen, any person who served in any capacity in these camps or in these killing squads can be convicted on the basis of service alone, without having to prove that they committed any specific crimes,” Zuroff said.
“The success of this policy in the cases of [John] Demjanjuk (who served in the Sobibor death camp), Groening (Auschwitz), and [Reinhold] Hanning (Auschwitz) are successful precedents that should be replicated in as many cases as possible. The fact that no one who served in the mobile killing squads has yet to be prosecuted under the new policy makes the expedition of the cases of Kurt Gosdek and Herbert Waller of great urgency and public importance. We are in an urgent race against time to bring as many Holocaust perpetrators to justice as possible, and every day that passes without criminals being brought to trial brings them closer to escaping justice,” he concluded.
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