Let's hunt war criminals together
"Through such collaboration, ridding the world of the last remnants of the scourge of Nazism may be accelerated." — Lubomyr Prytulak
Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center
8 King Street East, Suite 710
CANADA, M5C 1B5
Tel: (416) 864-9735
Fax: (416) 864-1083
Thanks for your telephone call of 13Sep99. There is indisputable value to keeping open lines of communication, and your diplomatic skills do much to make such communication easy.
I write to you today because I particularly noted your statement that you had helped track down several members of the Jewish Ghetto Police of the sort that are described on my web site, and this eventually led to my thinking up the following proposal.
You have occasionally been accused of painting exaggerated images of former Nazis blending into normal society and living among us undetected and unpunished. However, given the horrific crimes committed by the Nazis, I cannot but agree with you that it does behoove us to be vigilant, and even today to hunt down Nazis and punish them wherever they may be found, whether they pass as blue-collar workers or holders of high office.
Although I am sure that we agree that the crimes committed by Nazis against collective humanity provide sufficient motivation for us to hunt them, I expect that as a Jew, it will be natural that you should be particularly incensed against the crimes that Nazis committed against Jews, and I expect that you will understand that as a Ukrainian, it will be natural that I should be particularly incensed against the crimes that Nazis committed against Ukrainians. Nevertheless, we see that the enemy of both Jews and Ukrainians, and indeed of all humanity, is a common enemy, and deserving of punishment no matter what his own nationality, and no matter what the nationality of his victims on any particular occasion.
As our goal is the same, I propose a collaborative effort to hunt down Nazi war criminals. I on my part will bring to your attention any information on as-yet-unrecognized or unpunished Nazi war criminals that may come to my attention — no matter what their status, and no matter what their nationality — on the possibility that you will be able to add to my information and clarify the case. In return, if you make the same request of me, I will apply my resources, meager though they be, to similarly help obtain information on any case that you may be working on. Through such collaboration, ridding the world of the last remnants of the scourge of Nazism may be accelerated.
But enough by way of introduction. There is work to be done, and I am ready to begin. The more specific purpose of my present letter is to bring to your attention one such individual who gives a strong impression of having been a Nazi collaborator of major proportions. I am speaking of Simon Wiesenthal, and the indications of his collaboration with the Nazis are as follows:
(1) In his Ukrainian Historical Journal (1985, No. 9, pp. 99-109, p. 105) article, L. A. Ruvinsky claims that in July 1941, the Nazis arrested Simon Wiesenthal along with 39 other members of the Lviv intelligentsia, that all but Wiesenthal were executed, and that Wiesenthal subsequently passed through five Nazi prisons and twelve prison camps. Ruvinsky suggests that it was only by offering his services to the Gestapo and becoming a Nazi agent that Wiesenthal was able to escape execution and subsequently to pass through so many Nazi institutions unharmed, I suppose in the role of spy, informer, or provocateur.
(2) Simon Wiesenthal admits that when he was being sheltered by Polish partisans, he recorded detailed information concerning their personnel and their activities, and allowed his record to be captured by the Nazis (Alan Levy, The Wiesenthal File, 1993, pp. 52-54).
(3) Simon Wiesenthal admits that as a slave laborer working for the Nazis, he was allowed to keep two pistols (Joseph Wechsberg, (ed.), The Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs, McGraw Hill, New York, 1967, p. 31).
(4) Simon Wiesenthal admits that whereas other prisoners were shot upon being recaptured following their escape, he was instead relieved from work and put on double rations (Joseph Wechsberg (ed.), The Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Memoirs, McGraw Hill, New York, 1967, p. 39).
I think that you will agree that the above list of indicators of guilt is substantial, and perhaps more substantial than the indicators of guilt of every last one of the many suspects brought to the attention — many by yourself — of Canada's Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, and perhaps even of every last one of the many accused who are currently being prosecuted by Canada's war crimes unit. For this reason, I expect that you will also agree that the case of Simon Wiesenthal is an excellent one on which to begin our collaboration, and I hope to receive from you any relevant information that you may be able to obtain.