Wiesenthal Center launches new effort to try Nazi war criminals

July 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM   |   Comments

JERUSALEM, July 23 (UPI) -- The Simon Wiesenthal Center launched a new effort Tuesday to bring Nazi war criminals to justice in Germany, calling it Operation Last Chance II.

The center's campaign uses posters in major German cities, including Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne, asking anyone who has information about perpetrators of war crimes to come forward. Informants are offered rewards of as much as 25,000 euros ($33,000).

The campaign was inspired by the conviction of John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian who became a U.S. citizen. He died last year at the age of 91, a year after he was found guilty in Germany of being a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland.

"Ivan Demjanjuk was the first Holocaust perpetrator to be convicted in Germany in decades solely on the basis of his service in a death camp," said Efraim Zuroff, the center's Israel director. "This conviction paves the way for additional prosecutions of individuals who served in death camps, as well as the members of the Einsatzgruppen [mobile killing units]."

Zuroff said that the passage of time and their own old age should not protect murderers and that victims of the Holocaust are entitled to confront those who harmed them.

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