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Peres demands justice for living Nazi criminals

AFP · 27 Jan 2010, 16:02

Published: 27 Jan 2010 16:02 GMT+01:00

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Speaking in Hebrew to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Peres, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, also shared with lawmakers childhood memories of his grandfather, who was burned alive by the Nazis.

"Survivors of the Holocaust are gradually departing from the world of the living ... at the same time, men and women, who took part in the most odious activity on earth - that of genocide - still live on German and European soil, and in other parts of the world," he said.

"My request of you is: Please do everything to bring them to justice."

Germany has recently stepped up its pursuit of those who carried out the slaughter of some six million Jews before during the Second World War. A high-profile trial of John Demjanjuk, an 89-year-old accused of pushing 27,900 men, women and children into the gas chambers, is expected to wrap up in May.

Peres, now 86, said he could still remember his grandfather's voice as an 11-year-old being put on a train to escape the horrors of the Nazis.

"I remember his poignant embrace. I remember the last words and the order I heard from his mouth: 'My boy, always remain a Jew'."

"I continued watching my grandfather until he disappeared from sight. That was the last time I saw him."

The president's grandfather was forced into a synagogue in modern-day Belarus with the rest of the Jewish people of his village and the building was torched.

"The only remains of the whole community were embers. There were no survivors," Peres said.

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Dressed in a sombre suit and wearing a traditional skullcap, Peres led standing officials including Chancellor Angela Merkel in an ancient Aramaic prayer in memory of the six million Jews who perished.

Turning to current issues, Peres reiterated his belief that Iran "is a danger to the entire world" and that Israel was "prepared to relinquish territories to achieve peace with the Palestinians."

"I believe that peace is attainable," the president stressed.

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Your comments about this article

17:13 January 27, 2010 by majura
Although not directly related, I saw two idiots in Thor Steinar hoodies here (Berlin) today on my lunch break. I'm gonna guess Hartz IV bludgers that looked like their Eier were frozen solid in the -8˚ snow- too stupid and too poor to get a Thor Steinar jacket.
17:59 January 27, 2010 by Bushdiver
I say enough is enough of this Nazi thing. It happened, it's over since many years and it's time to move on. Putting some late 80's or mid 90's year old person behind bars for what happened 65 years ago makes no sense. If I think about it Israel has exactly treated the Palastinians as equals. They may not have mass murdered them like the Nazis did to the Jews but the Jewish counrty hasn't learned from the opression they suffered during WWII. Theyve been opressing the Palastinians for years.
18:19 January 27, 2010 by Fredfeldman
I strongly disagree, enough is never enough when the Nazi's are concerned. Evil is evil no matter when and where it shows its ugly head so whether they are twenty or ninety those people have a lot of blood on their hands and the murdered cry out for retribution.
18:40 January 27, 2010 by Der ewige jude
Bushdiver, I think Jews DID learn a BIG lesson:

The lesson: That Jews should have their own country and be able to defend themselves - that includes all the "peaceful" countries in the neighborhood (incl. pals)

Europe had about 11 million Jews before the war. Now, less than a million ans still leaving . . . has Europe learned the lesson?
19:20 January 27, 2010 by lordwilliams629
I said it before and i'll say it again, these nazis deserve no rest till they die, even if they live to be 150. These p..ricks murderd inocent men women and children, years of life should never give these pigs a minute of rest. Any of you nazi lovers ever see that film clip of the little child running to his/her mother while the nazi in uniform keeps throwing the little kid by arm, the kid looks no more than 2 or 3 years old. If I had the chance to pump a bullet in that nazi's head today, I would do it with joy even if that man was in weel chair and half dead.
23:45 January 27, 2010 by Jibzy
@william: But if the same kid was born into a muslim family..u'd love that scene..wont ya?
00:32 January 28, 2010 by ron1amr
So Peres has personally witnessed the atrocities of the war as an 11 year. How does that effect him now and his level thinking? Israel is a war nation. When a small faction like Hamas attack the Israelis, Israeli tankers bomb the general area from where the fire came from. There is no infiltration just bombing as the Hamas knowingly hide amongst innocent people. There is no resolution in this type of situation just a deep hatred. You cant bring back the people that died during the war or any time. Why do middle east people hate one another for 100s of years?

We as humans are we ever going to learn? Further more pursuing these people cost a lot of money and for what? A few years in jail till death? It still doesn't bring back loved ones and will it bring closure? I don't think so.
06:25 January 28, 2010 by Bushdiver
@ Der ewige jude

Have you ever been to Palistine? Judging from your comment, I don't think so. The Jews treat them like dirt. Similar to the way the Nazis treated them during WWII. I agree with f f Nazis still livibringing the handful oron1amr. The cost of bringing the handful of Nazis that are still living to justice would be expensive and isn't going to bring any of the dead back. What happened was terrible and should never happen again. The Nazis that are still alive have had this Holocaust hanging over their heads their whole lives. I'm sure that many of them had nightmares the rest of their lives. They will untimately be punished for their crimes by a higher being when they die.
10:48 January 28, 2010 by abemarch
A philosophy of "an eye for eye" means never forgiving and never forgetting.

How does this philosophy translate into peace? To accommodate this philosophy only serves to perpetuate hate. No one can change the past. Being sympathetic loses it's value when constantly being bombarded with pity me, or you owe me. Enough is enough.
11:53 January 28, 2010 by Gaffers
@Bushdiver ... No they won't. There is no higher being and even if you believe there is he's murdered more people than the Nazi's ever did. Let's not bring religion into this. It's what started the issue in the first place. "My God's better than your God..."

I believe that justice should prevail for these War Crimes and that the individuals should be punished. It is possible that they do regret their actions and may have changed for the better but a crime must be punished.

the question is (for me) what constitutes a War Criminal. Is a German Soldier at one of the camps that carries out killings guilty of crimes even if he would have been shot if he disobeyed? Do those need to be punished?
13:52 January 28, 2010 by joeschafe
I suspect the constant fear of being found out as a Nazi war criminal is in itself a sort of punishment. Not enough to qualify as an eye for an eye, perhaps, but 65 years of living in paranoid fear has to constitute some degree of retribution. Thus by simply existing, the nazi-hunters and holocaust survivors exact some measure of revenge.
15:04 January 28, 2010 by Der ewige jude

I was actually born in Israel so I think I have better knowledge than you on this topic.

Der ewige jude
16:38 January 28, 2010 by Gaffers
I was born in England but that doesn't stop some Germans telling me how the English are :-)
13:52 January 29, 2010 by Frenemy
...I thought that was what Mossad "kidon" teams were intended for.... (?)

So now Israel wants to "legally prosecute" them?? (they're losing it)
22:50 January 29, 2010 by lordwilliams629
jibzy your fine one to talk, being that your a jew hater and supporter of islamic terroism.
04:12 January 31, 2010 by Bazza Mac
the jews are worse than the nazis where,thats not anti semetism just a fact.
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