Wiesenthal Center Welcomes Decision of German Prosecution Office to Pursue Charges Against Thirty Former Auschwitz Guards

September 3, 2013

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed deep satisfaction at the announcement today by officials of the German Central Prosecution Office (Zentrale Stelle) that it would pursue the cases of thirty former guards at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, who are currently living in Germany.

In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center praised the initiative, which was launched in the wake of the conviction in Munich in 2011 of armed SS Sobibor death camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk, while expressing regret that such legal reasoning had not been previously applied in such cases for many years.

According to Zuroff:

"Today's announcement marks an important milestone in the efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice in the Federal Republic, and the Central Prosecution Office deserves full credit for this important initiative. At the same time, today's positive development underscores the failure to take such measures during the past five decades, a decision which allowed thousands of the worst hands-on killers to elude justice."

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament