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 horrendous genocides.

[W.Z. This 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 countries.

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 MacMillan).

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 trial.

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 States.

Rosenbaum said that “It’s precisely because we have been proactive and so tenacious in pursuing these cases over decades that you see fewer now.”

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 Ukraine.

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 people.]