Campaign to locate last Nazis

By Toby Axelrod, October 11, 2011

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is to join up with German prosecutors to track down the last living Nazi war criminals.

Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi hunter for the Wiesenthal Centre, said that the campaign will be launched in Berlin this autumn.

The announcement comes following meetings in August between Mr Zuroff and German investigator Kurt Schrimm, head of the state agency dedicated to the investigation of Nazi war crimes.

The move was triggered by the conviction last spring of John Demjanjuk as an accessory to murder at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland.

The verdict, which is being appealed, presented "enormous potential for the prosecution of individuals who had served in the four 'pure' death camps - Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor and Chelmno - as well as in the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile killing squads," said Mr Zuroff.

"Previously, the German prosecutors only brought cases in which they could find evidence of a specific crime with a specific victim, but in the wake of the Demjanjuk conviction, that no longer had to be the case," he added.

With the German state backing him, Mr Zuroff is restarting "Operation Last Chance," the final push to track down Nazi war criminals. The project offers rewards for information on suspects.

Last updated: 12:34pm, October 11 2011