European Union Times | 11Dec2009 | [Zuroff]
Nazi hunter fears EU recognition
of Jewish Communist crimes, worse than Holocaust denial
European “anti-Semites” are pushing a new line “more pernicious than
Holocaust denial” to denigrate the alleged murder of six million Jews,
warns veteran Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff.
Particularly in the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia,
prominent politicians are trying to persuade the European Union’s
parliament to formally equate Nazi and Communist crimes as equally
hate-mongering by Mr. Zuroff illustrates the need for Latvia,
Lithuania, Estonia and other Eastern European countries to obtain legal
standing at the ongoing John Demjanjuk trial in Munich.]
The not so subtle subtext of this proposal is to point to persecutions
by Jewish Communists of the patriotic citizens of the three countries
during the post-war Soviet domination of the Baltic and East European
A major goal of this campaign is to minimize or rationalize the active
collaboration with the Nazis by the police and militia of the Baltic
states in the killing of Jews, Zuroff said.
Zuroff, who has been tracking down Nazis for 30 years as the point man
for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, looked back last week on his triumphs
and failures at a press conference and public talk at the Wiesenthal
Center’s Museum of Tolerance, and in a new book, “Last Chance: One
Man’s Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice” (2009, Palgrave
During his talk surveying the high and low points of his career,
Zuroff, a native New Yorker who heads the Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem
office, opened with some “good news.”
During the last two months, four men on his list of the top 10 living
men accused of Nazi war crimes have been extradited or readied for
They are former concentration camp guard John (Ivan) Demjanjuk; Sandor
Kepiro, a former Hungarian policeman accused of participation in the
Novi Sad massacre of 4,000 Serbs, Jews and Romas; Charles Zentai, a
former Hungarian soldier who allegedly beat an 18-year old Jew to death
for not wearing a yellow star; and Heinrich Boere, a leader of a Dutch
SS death squad.
Since 2001, there have been 82 successful prosecutions of war
criminals, but 702 cases are still on file and time is running out,
Zuroff, 61, said.
“I expect to continue my work for another three or four years, by which
time the last of the war criminals will be gone,” he said.
During a separate news conference, Zuroff made public a Wiesenthal
Center study ranking more than 30 countries on their willingness and
efforts to go after surviving Nazi war criminals.
The best showing was by the United States, which has been responsible
for 37 of the 82 successful legal actions worldwide against accused war
criminals. Much of the credit goes to the U.S. Justice Department’s
Office of Special Investigations, whose director, Eli Rosenbaum,
participated in the news conference.
In addition to the prosecutions, federal authorities have prevented
more than 180 persons implicated in war crimes from entering the United
Rosenbaum said that “It’s precisely because we have been proactive and
so tenacious in pursuing these cases over decades that you see fewer
High marks for continued active prosecutions went to former Axis
partners Germany and Italy. Poland has also been cooperative, but the
kudos ended there.
Countries taking little or no action include Norway and Sweden, which
cited their statues of limitation as barriers to continued prosecution.
Other countries remained largely passive, lacking either the political
will or know-how to launch investigations, Zuroff said. These countries
include Australia, Austria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuanian and the
Asked to name his most successful and most frustrating cases during his
Nazi hunting career, Zuroff named Kepiro in the former category and Dr.
Aribert Heim in the latter.
Kepiro, one of the alleged organizers of the Novi Sad massacre, was
tracked down by Zuroff and his allies along a circuitous trail, running
from Argentina to Scotland to Hungary.
Heim, though not as well known as his fellow physician and SS officer
Dr. Josef Mengele, was just as sadistic in his medical experiments and
was nicknamed “Dr. Death” by inmates of the Mauthausen concentration
camp in Austria.
Heim, an Austrian himself, was the top target of “Operation Last
Chance,” with rewards totaling about $450,000 on his head and the
target of police inquiries in 22 countries.
After an intensive four-year hunt for Heim by Zuroff, the New York
Times reported that Heim had found ultimate refuge in Cairo, had
converted to Islam, and died in 1992.
[W.Z. In 1985, Efraim
Zuroff supplied 29 names, his evil mentor Simon
Wiesenthal supplied 219 names and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles
supplied 63 names to the Deschenes
Commission. Justice Jules Deschenes accused them of being long on
allegations, but short on facts. Since not one of the accusations was
substantiated, these hate mongers obviously maliciously maligned 311 innocent