Renewed efforts to prosecute the last living Nazi war criminals will be launched in Berlin this fall.
The conviction last spring of John Demjanjuk, 91, as an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland has paved the way for the reopening of hundreds of other cases, according to Efraim Zuroff, Jerusalem-based chief Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Zuroff met in August with German investigator Kurt Schrimm, head of the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes, to discuss speeding up the investigations.
Zuroff is restarting “Operation Last Chance,” a last-ditch effort to track down Nazi war criminals wherever they may be. The project offers rewards for information on suspects.
Though Demjanjuk is appealing his conviction, the verdict already has “created the possibility to prosecute perhaps as many as several dozen Holocaust perpetrators who served in the most lethal Nazi installations and units,” Zuroff said.
“These were the persons who carried out the major bulk of the mass murder of European Jews during the Holocaust—practically half of the approximately 6 million Jewish victims,” he added. — jta