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Wiesenthal Center Welcomes Conviction In Italy In Absentia Of Ten Members Of German SS Unit Implicated In Massacre Of Civilians; Urges German Prosecutors To Expedite Investigation Of Suspects Living In Germany

June 23, 2005

WIESENTHAL CENTER WELCOMES CONVICTION IN ITALY IN ABSENTIA OF TEN MEMBERS OF GERMAN SS UNIT IMPLICATED IN MASSACRE OF CIVILIANS; URGES GERMAN PROSECUTORS TO EXPEDITE INVESTIGATION OF SUSPECTS LIVING IN GERMANY

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today welcomed the conviction in Italy yesterday of ten members of the German 16th Panzergrenadier Division "Reichsfuerer-SS" for their role in the mass murder of approximately 560 civilians, among them numerous women and children, in the Italian village of Sant’Anna di Stazemma in the Tuscany region in August 1944.

In a statement issued today in Jerusalem, by its chief Nazi-hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center welcomed the verdict of the Italian military court in La Spezia, "which underscores both the necessity of pursuing such cases and the fact that justice can still be achieved today despite the passage of time since the crimes were committed." The Center also urged the German prosecutors currently investigating the case to expedite its completion so that the perpetrators still alive in Germany might be held accountable for their crimes. (None of the suspects were extradited to Italy by Germany which refuses to extradite its citizens to be tried abroad.)

According to Zuroff: "The verdict of the Italian court proves once again that the perpetrators of the crimes of World War II can still be held accountable and we therefore urge the German authorities to take whatever measures are necessary to complete their own investigations of the Sant’Anna massacre so that those guilty of this heinous crime can finally be punished."

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www.operationlastchance-wiesenthal.org