Christoph Heubner, Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, founded in 1952 by survivors of the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, this week told Funke Mediengruppe, Germany’s third-largest newspaper and magazine publisher with a total of over 500 publications in eight countries, that death camp survivors are burdened by the fact that former death camp staff have avoided meaningful punishment in German courts.
Heubner A accused German courts of negligence when it comes to pursuing and prosecuting Nazi criminals, suggesting the German judiciary has failed to deal with former death camp staff for decades.
“The knowledge that most of these henchmen were able to continue living peacefully and without having to account for their crimes before German courts has been a heavy weight for the camp survivors throughout their lives,” Heubner said.
The IAC’s accusations follow recent charges brought against a former guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, 100, and a former secretary at the Stutthof camp, 95. The committee argues that charging these monsters this late in their lives reflects “the decades-long failings and negligence of the German justice system.”
“The survivors do not want revenge but justice, and justice has no expiry date,” Heubner said. “This is why these proceedings are still important despite the advanced age of the victims and perpetrators.”
The International Auschwitz Committee’s stated goals are to let the world know what happened in the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau; to look after the interests of the survivors; and to encourage and support the contacts between the national Auschwitz committees.
Organizations from 19 different countries are affiliated with the IAC, and all of them include youth education among their activities. As Baron Maurice Goldstein, a former president of the IAC put it back in 1995:
People must realize that the defeat of the Third Reich in no way signifies the disappearance of the Nazi ideology; and that there are still fascist and neo-Nazi movements, associations, and parties which are ready and willing to bring new disaster on mankind.