Nazi Germany

'Wanted' posters a bid to catch last surviving Nazis

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 3:59am

Nazi hunters hung posters on the streets of German cities yesterday seeking information on the last perpetrators of the Holocaust still at large nearly 70 years on.

The 2,000 placards feature a chilling black-and-white photograph of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and the tagline: "Late, but not too late."

The move is part of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's "Operation Last Chance" to catch surviving suspects, with rewards of up to €25,000 (HK$255,000) for information leading to the capture and conviction of any such elderly criminals.

"We expect to get tips about people who served in the death camps or in Einsatzgruppen (mobile death squads) and in that way to help bring them to justice," said the campaign's initiator, Efraim Zuroff.

"Such a campaign also raises public interest and serves as a reminder of the importance to bring those people to justice."

Zuroff heads the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, the Los Angeles-based organisation named after the Holocaust survivor who was perhaps the best-known Nazi hunter until his death in 2005.

The posters carry the message: "Millions of innocents were murdered by Nazi war criminals. Some of the perpetrators are free and alive. Help us to bring them before a court."

Zuroff estimates only about 60 potential defendants are still alive.

He dismisses the idea that they should be shown clemency given their advanced age. "In my 33 years of hunting Nazis I never once had a case of a Nazi who ever said he was sorry," he said.

"Don't look at these people and see a frail old man or woman. Think of someone who at the height of his physical strength devoted his energy to murdering innocent women and men."