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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Operation Last Chance’

Awareness Campaign Sparks Probes of Alleged Nazi War Criminals

Monday, November 25th, 2013

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.

Efraim Zuroff on Capturing Nazis and Bringing Them to Justice

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

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Yishai is joined by Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who is the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Jerusalem and one of the last Nazi hunters, those dedicated to bringing Holocaust perpetrators to justice. Yishai and Zuroff talk about Zuroff’s background and how he found himself becoming involved in bringing aging Nazi war criminals to justice. They also talk about Zuroff’s book “Operation Last Chance” and also the ongoing investigation that uses the same name, specifically talking about Nazi war criminals that have been captured and tried in recent years.

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The Man Who Won’t Let Nazis Die In Peace: An Interview With Efraim Zuroff

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Nazi hunting. Sounds like a glamorous job, but judging from Operation Last Chance, a new book by Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, catching Nazis is more grit than glamour.

In the book, published by Palgrave MacMillan, Zuroff recounts his recent painstaking efforts in finding aging Nazis and their collaborators around the world and convincing often reluctant local governments to extradite and prosecute them.

Zuroff, who heads the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, has been helping catch and punish Nazi war criminals since 1980. Brought up in Brooklyn and a graduate of Yeshiva University, Zuroff later received his doctorate from Hebrew University and today lives in Efrat.

The Jewish Press recently spoke with him.

The Jewish Press: Some of the war criminals the Simon Wiesenthal Center hunts are over 90 years old. Why chase people for crimes committed over 60 years ago?

Zuroff: The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers. We don’t think people deserve a medal simply because they reach an old age.

To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t a country in the civilized world (save Sweden) that limits prosecution for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity based on age. The issue is not the person’s age; it’s whether or not he or she is mentally and physically capable of standing trial.

I have a case now in Budapest of someone whose date of birth is 1914, which makes him 95 years old. But he’s in very good health. He lives by himself, takes care of all his needs, he’s busy suing me for libel, running around giving interviews, and fighting against us in every single way possible. There’s no reason to ignore him just because his date of birth is 1914.

If we were to set a limit based on age it would mean that if you were lucky enough and/or rich enough and/or smart enough to elude justice until you reach that age, you’re off the hook. That would obviously be a travesty.

We also feel that the victims of the Shoah deserve that their persecutors be held accountable for their crimes. How would it look if we stopped and then a person asked us, “What about this person who murdered my grandmother during the Shoah?”

You write in the book that some Jewish communities around the world do not appreciate your Nazi-hunting activities. Why?

Some communities [especially in Eastern Europe] feel vulnerable to anti-Semitism and they’re afraid that [cooperating with us] will increase anti-Semitism.

In Eastern Europe anti-Semitism is of the traditional sort. It doesn’t have to do with the Middle East like in Western Europe. It’s the usual things, like “The Jews killed Jesus.” In other words, typical anti-Semitic themes based on economic, religious, nationalistic and ethnic reasons.

Remember, in these countries we’re running after local Nazi war criminals. We’re pressing local governments to put their own people – Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians, and Croatians – on trial in their own countries for collaborating with the Nazis.

Which countries have been the most cooperative in prosecuting Nazis and their collaborators, and which have been the least cooperative?

The country with the best record in the world is undoubtedly the United States. However, it’s easier to win Nazi war crimes cases in the United States because the people are not being prosecuted on criminal charges but rather for immigration and naturalization violations. In the States all you have to prove is that someone lied on his immigration or citizenship application. Many people claimed they were students, farmers, or officials, masking the fact that they had been members of security police units, guards in concentration camps and the like.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/the-man-who-wont-let-nazis-die-in-peace-an-interview-with-efraim-zuroff/2009/11/08/

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