Germany Launches 'Last Chance' Hunt for Nazis

70 Years After War, Race To Bring Criminals to Justice

By Reuters

Published July 16, 2013.
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The campaign posters, with a hotline number for anyone with information, will be on show in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne in conjunction with outdoor advertising company WALL AG.

“Germany has a well-developed consciousness of Nazi criminality. It is one of the few countries where family members ring up with information on relatives,” said Zuroff.

The Center declined to say how much the campaign cost, but said the funding came mainly from small, private donations.

On its list of Most Wanted Nazi War Criminals is Gerhard Sommer, 92, a former member of Hitler’s SS suspected of being involved in the massacre of 560 civilians in Italy.

Another is Soeren Kam, who the Center says served as an officer in the SS Viking Division and took part in the murder of a Danish anti-Nazi newspaper editor. Germany has twice refused to extradite him to Denmark.

Although an international military tribunal put some of the most infamous Nazi leaders on trial soon after World War Two in the Nuremburg Trials, Germany has a patchy record on bringing its Nazi war criminals to justice.

In the last few years, however, prosecutors in some parts of Germany have actively sought out some of the last survivors.

Many Germans are keen to draw a line under the Holocaust and seal the post-war democratic identity of their nation. To many, the spectacle of Demjanjuk being rolled into court on a hospital bed was pathetic and some find it distasteful to pursue old men, often in poor health, for crimes committed nearly 70 years ago.

Others say that it is never too late and prosecution helps to fight those who still engage in denial and distortion of the Holocaust.


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