The Simon Wiesenthal Center continues to pursue Nazis, publishing a list of the most wanted ones ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff intends to pursue and bring to justice every last Nazi, no matter how old they might be. Speaking with the Associated Press about those who claim the Nazis are now so old, asking “why bother?” Zuroff called such a response indicative of misplaced sympathy syndrome - a reluctance to go after war crimes suspects just because they're old. "I think we have to pursue every last one of them until not one of them is left alive," he said.
The center has opened 202 new investigations over the past year. "[T]he new investigations have tripled in the last year, but the number of convictions is down and we face serious political problems in many different countries," Zuroff told AP. "The absence of political will to prosecute or devote the energy and resources to do so are the major obstacles of the final prosecution of Nazi war criminals."
The Most-Wanted List
Dr. Aribert Heim - Location unknown - Was a doctor in Sachsenhausen (1940), Buchenwald (1941) and Mauthausen (1941) concentration camps. Murdered hundreds of camp inmates by lethal injection in Mauthausen. He disappeared in 1962 prior to planned prosecution; current whereabouts unknown but strong evidence that he is still alive.
Ivan Demjanjuk – USA - Participated in mass murder of Jews in Sobibor death camp; also served in Majdanek death camp and Trawniki SS-training camp. Denaturalized in USA; ordered deported from USA; under investigation in Poland.
Dr. Sandor Kepiro - Hungary - Hungarian gendarmerie officer; participated in mass murder of over 1,200 civilians in Novi Sad, Serbia. Discovered in 2006 in framework of “Operation: Last Chance”; was originally convicted but never punished in Hungary in 1944 and indicted again, in absentia, in 1946; Hungary refused to implement his original sentence but has opened a new criminal investigation against him which has not yet been completed more than a year after its initiation.
Milivoj Ašner – Austria - Played an active role in persecution and the deportation to death of hundreds of Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies as Police chief of Slavonska Požega, Croatia. He was also discovered in 2004 in the framework of “Operation: Last Chance” and indicted by Croatia. In 2005 Croatia requested his extradition from Austria; Austria refused, ostensibly because Ašner held Austrian citizenship. When it emerged that he had lost his Austrian citizenship, Austria still refused, on medical grounds.
Soeren Kam - Germany - Participated in the murder of anti-Nazi Danish newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen; stole the population registry of the Danish Jewish Community to facilitate the roundup and subsequent deportation of Danish Jews to Nazi concentration camps, where many were murdered. Kam was indicted in Denmark for the murder of Clemmensen, but a German court refused to approve his extradition to stand trial in Copenhagen. At the request of the Wiesenthal Center, the Danish judicial authorities are conducting an investigation of his role in the deportation of those Jews.
Heinrich Boere – Germany - Murdered three Dutch civilians as a member of the Silbertanne Waffen-SS death squad. Boere was sentenced to death in absentia in Holland in 1949 after his escape to Germany. Germany until recently refused to extradite him or prosecute him; in April 2008 he was indicted in Germany for his crimes.
Karoly (Charles) Zentai – Australia - Participated in manhunts, persecution, and murder of Jews in Budapest in 1944. He was discovered in 2004 during “Operation: Last Chance;” Hungary issued an international arrest warrant against him and has asked for his extradition from Australia in 2005; Zentai is currently appealing his extradition to Hungary.
Mikhail Gorshkow – Estonia - Participated in murder of Jews in Belarus; denaturalized in USA and under investigation in Estonia.
Algimantas Dailide – Germany - Arrested Jews murdered by Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators. He was deported from the US and convicted by Lithuania, which has hereto refused to implement his sentence of imprisonment.
Harry Mannil – Venezuela - Arrested Jews and Communists executed by Nazis and Estonian collaborators. He was cleared by investigation in Estonia and barred from entry to US.
The Hunt For Dr. Heim
Number one of the Wiesenthal Center’s list of wanted Nazis is Dr. Aribert Heim, who worked at the medical section of the Mauthausen concentration camp, in Lintz, Austria. Medical staff later testified that he killed a young Jewish man simply because he “needed [his] head because of its perfect teeth." He proceeded to boil the head while harvesting organs for experimental use.
"Heim would be 93 today and we have good reason to believe he is still alive," Zuroff told AP. The center plans to launch a media campaign in South America, Germany and Austria this summer, offering a $485,000 reward for Heim's arrest.
Heim has already been convicted in absentia for hundreds of murders. Tips as to his whereabouts have reached the Wiesenthal Center from Austria, Germany, Uruguay, Spain, Switzerland, Chile and Brazil over the years.
Germany Opens Files
Germany opened the world's biggest files of Nazi documentation of crimes committed during the Holocaust, as well as information about the victims Wednesday.
The collection, under the jurisdiction of the Red Cross and called the International Tracing Service (ITS), contains 50 million records on some 17 million victims of the Nazis. The documents include jailing orders, death certificates, Gestapo files and information about inmates of concentration camps.
Prior to Wednesday, only Nazis and their relatives were allowed access to the files. Germany worried how opening the files would affect those still living mentioned in them. It has not reportedly received guarantees that information about the living will remain restricted.