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Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today expressed surprise and indignation in response to the decision announced yesterday by Danish judicial authorities to permanently close an investigation of two Danish SS volunteers suspected of war crimes against Jewish inmates in a Nazi concentration camp in Belarus during the years 1942-1943.
In a statement issued today by its chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center rejected as "absolutely baseless and scandalous" the reasons presented by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Mohammad Ahsan for the state's decision to close the case against Helmut Rasbol and Aksel Andersen. The former was initially identified by Danish historians Dennis Larsen and Therkel Straeda in their pioneering study of the Belarus camp En Skole I Vold (A School of Violence), whereas the latter was identified by research initiated by the Wiesenthal Center in the wake of the publication of the book.
According to Zuroff:
"Although the Center was specifically informed that, as the agency which originally submitted an official complaint against the two suspects, it could submit an appeal against the decision to close the case, Mr. Ahsan claimed that our submission was illegal and thus irrelevant. In addition, he said that the original decision could not be reversed, since more than two months had passed since it was issued, but in reality the Center's appeal had been submitted before the deadline and it was his own response which arrived much later.
"This decision, like the investigation which gave almost exclusive credence to the recent interviews of the suspects who denied any connection to the camp, totally ignored evidence which clearly proved that the Danish guards had served in the camps and were responsible for discipline during the period from October 1942 to May 1943.
"This scandalous decision is a clear indication of the lack of will of the Danish authorities to pursue such cases. It is unfortunate that Denmark, whose rescue of most of its Jewish community during the Holocaust is a symbol of altruism and heroism, has not seen fit to add a new and modern chapter to that tradition by a more just treatment of the cases of Holocaust crimes by Danish SS volunteers."
For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center:
Tel: 972-2-563-1274 or Tel: 972-50-721-4156
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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 (Parlatino).