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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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Awareness Campaign Sparks Probes of Alleged Nazi War Criminals

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At least four investigations of possible Nazi-era war criminals have been turned over to German investigators in recent months after being identified as a result of an awareness campaign by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“Operation Last Chance II,” launched in 2011 and expanded Monday with a new poster campaign, has yielded hundreds of calls and emails from around the world, said Efraim Zuroff, the organization’s chief Nazi hunter.

Zuroff, based in Jerusalem, told JTA that 110 names of suspects — 81 in Germany — had been culled from nearly 300 tips. At least one tip related to a possible kapo, or camp prisoner forced to work as a guard, is under investigation in Israel.

“We are in the process of trying to find out if it is true,” Zuroff said.

Of the four active cases, two involve alleged concentration camp guards, including a male guard at Dachau and a female guard at Auschwitz; one relates to the 1944 massacre of civilians in Oradur-sur-Glane in France; and the fourth involves a man who allegedly possesses a huge collection of Nazi-era memorabilia and modern weaponry. It is not clear whether the suspect is himself a war criminal, Zuroff said.

JTA

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