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Jerusalem – In conjunction with Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Hashoa) which begins this evening, the Simon Wiesenthal Center today released the initial findings of its fifteenth Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals, which covers the period from April 1, 2015 until March 31, 2016.
Among the report's highlights are the following important developments:
1. The most important positive results achieved during the period under review were obtained in Germany, in the wake of the implementation by the local judicial authorities of a legal strategy, which paves the way for the conviction on charges of accessory to murder of practically any person who served either in a Nazi death camp or in the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units). It was initially tried successfully in the case of Ivan Demjanjuk, who was convicted for his service as an armed SS guard in the Sobibor death camp in May 2011. During the period under review, Oskar Groening, who served in Auschwitz, was convicted and four additional suspects who served in the same camp were indicted, and their trials are slated for 2016. (One has died in the interim.) During the period under review, additional investigations of Auschwitz and Majdanek guards, and men who served in the Einsatzgruppen were undertaken.
2. The lack of political will to bring Nazi war criminals to justice and/or to punish them continues to be the major obstacle to achieving justice, particularly in post-Communist Eastern Europe. The campaign led by the Baltic countries to distort the history of the Holocaust and obtain official recognition that the crimes of the Communists are equal to those of the Nazis is another obstacle to the prosecution of those responsible for the crimes of the Shoa.
The author of the report, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who coordinates the Center’s research on Nazi war criminals worldwide, noted that the statistics in the report clearly show that a significant measure of justice can still be achieved against Nazi war criminals. “During the past 15 years, at least 103 convictions against Nazi war criminals have been obtained, at least 102 new indictments have been filed, and well over 3,600 new investigations have been initiated. Despite the somewhat prevalent assumption that it is too late to bring Nazi murderers to justice, the figures clearly prove otherwise, and we are trying to ensure that at least several of these criminals will be brought to trial during the coming years. While it is generally assumed that it is the age of the suspects that is the biggest obstacle to prosecution, in many cases it is the lack of political will, more than anything else, that has hindered the efforts to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice, along with the mistaken notion that it was impossible at this point to locate, identify, and convict these criminals. The success achieved in recent years by dedicated prosecutors, especially in Italy, Germany, and the United States, should encourage governments all over the world to make a serious effort to maximize justice while it can still be obtained.”
For more information call Dr. Zuroff from mid-day May 4th: 972-50-721-4156 or in Israel: 050-721-4156
Also please visit our websites: www.operationlastchance.org and www.wiesenthal.com
We can be followed on Facebook (Efraim Zuroff) or on Twitter (@EZuroff).
May 4, 2016
List of Nazi War Criminals Slated for Possible Prosecution in 2016
*1. Helma Kissner – Germany (Poland) – served as a radio operator in the Auschwitz death camp from April to July 1944 – charged with accessory to murder in 260,000 cases.
*2. Reinhold Hanning – Germany (Poland) – served in the Auschwitz death camp from January 1943 until June 1944 – charged with accessory to murder in 170,000 cases.
3. Helmut Oberlander – Canada (Ukraine) – served in Einsatzkommando 10A (part of Einstazgruppe D, which murdered an estimated 23,000 mostly Jewish civilians.
*4. Hubert Zafke – Germany (Poland) – served as a medic in the Auschwitz death camp during the years 1943 and 1944 – charged with accessory to murder in 3,681 cases.
5. Alfred Stark – Germany (Greece) – participated in the September 1943 mass murder of 120 Italian officers on the Greek island of Kefalonia.
6. Helmut Rasbol – Denmark (Belarus) – during the years 1942-1943 served as a guard in the Judenlager established by the Nazis in Bobruisk, Belarus, during which almost all the Jewish inmates of the camp were executed or died of the horrible physical conditions.
7. Aksel Andersen – Sweden (Belarus) - during the years 1942-1943 served as a guard in the Judenlager established by the Nazis in Bobruisk, Belarus, during which almost all the Jewish inmates of the camp were executed or died of the horrible physical conditions.
8. Johann Robert Riss – Germany (Italy) – participated in the murder of 184 civilians in Padule di Fucecchio, Italy on August 23, 1944.
9. Algimantas Dailide – Germany (Lithuania) – served in the Saugumas (Lithuanian Security Police) in Vilnius – arrested Jews and Poles who were subsequently executed by the Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators.
10. Jakob Palij – USA (Poland) – served as a guard in the Trawniki concentration camp.
*Trial dates already set in Germany in 2016.
This list is only the tip of the iceberg of individuals who are still alive and can be prosecuted for their service with the forces of the Third Reich and its allies. In this respect, the passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers, old age should not afford protection to those who committed such heinous crimes, and our obligation to the victims of the Nazis is to make a serious effort to find those who victimized innocent men, women, and children, some of whom were older than the criminals are today.
For more information: Dr. Efraim Zuroff 972.50.721.4156 Twitter: @EZuroff
www.operationlastchance.org or www.wiesenthal.com, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.
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 (Parlatino).