Jewish group opens new front against Nazis

Simon Wiesenthal Center says dozens of living Nazis have evaded justice 66 years after war ends.

John Demjanjuk 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool)
John Demjanjuk 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center opened a new front against the Nazis on Tuesday, 66 years after the end of World War II.
At a press conference in Germany, the global Jewish human rights organization known for pursuing Nazis, launched “Operation Last Chance II” aimed at bringing men who served in Nazi death camps and the Einsatzgruppen (special mobile killing squads) to justice.
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The center wants to use the conviction of Sobibor death camp guard Ivan “John” Demjanjuk this past May as a precedent to try “several dozen” similar cases.
“The Demjanjuk conviction at long last enables the prosecution of individuals who were active participants in the mass murder of Jews on practically a daily basis for extended periods of time, but for legal reasons could not be prosecuted for their crimes,” said Efraim Zuroff, the center’s Israel director. “This travesty of justice can now be corrected, but we are in a race against time to find the individuals still alive and expedite their prosecution.”
The center is offering cash awards for information leading to the conviction of Nazi criminals. Individuals are promised 5,000 euros upon indictment of a suspect, 5,000 euros upon the suspect’s conviction and 100 euros a day for the first 150 days of the convicted suspect’s imprisonment. Those who help convict Nazis may receive up to 25,000 euros.
Zuroff said a high-ranking Nazi is in his sights but that he cannot reveal his name because of an ongoing criminal investigation.
“I am not saying who because he’s a flight risk,” Zuroff said. “This person was a commander and involved in very serious actions against Jews.”
In addition to the unnamed suspect, Zuroff said Klaas Carel Farber, an SS hitman in the Netherlands alleged to have murdered 22 people, is the most senior Nazi known to be alive today.
Zuroff categorically rejected the notion that perpetrators of crimes against Jews – who are now at least well into their 80s – die in peace.
“The answer is very simple,” Zuroff said. “Old age does not exonerate murderers. All of the victims deserve efforts to find their killers. It sends an important message to Nazis living freely that they will be brought to justice.”