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Nazi-hunters give Germany top grades

The Local · 13 Jan 2011, 15:30

Published: 13 Jan 2011 15:30 GMT+01:00

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The Los Angeles-based Nazi-hunting organisation said in its report for 2010 that Germany had joined the United States as the only countries to earn an "A" grade and that German policy changes had resulted in two convictions, three indictments and more than 100 new investigations.

"This year for the first time ever, we have awarded the highest grade to another country, Germany, in addition to the United States," said the report, published by the centre's Israel office on Thursday.

"During the past year, Germany achieved remarkable success in the wake of significant changes in its prosecution policy, which we believe are of unique significance for the efforts to hold Nazi war criminals accountable for their crimes," it added.

Although the United States obtained no convictions during the year, the centre said that was largely because of its vigour in the past, adding that it had charged two suspects and launched fresh investigations into five more.

"The Americans, who for years have achieved the best practical results, have more or less finished their task, hence the lower figures achieved during the period under review," it said.

At the other end of the scale, the centre gave fail grades to nine countries it said had underperformed, splitting them into two groups.

It listed Syria as ideologically unwilling to prosecute former Nazis, while Norway and Sweden were bound by statutes of limitation.

It placed Australia, Canada, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Ukraine in its group of countries "which are able, at least in theory, to take legal action against Holocaust perpetrators, but have failed to achieve significant positive results."

It noted that the United Kingdom, like Australia, had closed its specialist agency for the prosecution of Nazi-era crimes, making successful prosecutions on regular charges "extremely unlikely."

The centre said the single most disappointing case was Hungary's failure to act against Sandor Kepiro, who the report alleges was one of the Hungarian officers who organised the murder of hundreds of civilians in Novi Sad, Serbia on January 23, 1942.

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"Kepiro was convicted in Budapest in 1944 for violating the code of honour he had sworn to uphold, but was never punished due to the Nazi occupation and his subsequent escape to Argentina," it said.

"He was exposed by the Wiesenthal Centre living in Budapest in the summer of 2006."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:24 January 13, 2011 by mixxim
Why are these people only interested in Nazis? There are many more non Nazis guilty of attrocities in the world now, as well as Russians, there have been many massacres in Africa, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia, South America, Middle East - even Israel cannot hold out clean hands. Perhaps by drawing attention to events 70 years ago they believe attention will be drawn away from them?
19:22 January 13, 2011 by xx.weirich.xx
maxxim, I totally agree with you. Thank you so much for saying this. Stalin was many times worse, and there are people now who do bad stuff too, but only Nazis make the news. It's wrong.
23:25 January 13, 2011 by William Thirteen
why are 'these people' only interested in Nazis? The Simon Wiesenthal Centre's self description is 'a global Jewish human rights organization that confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promotes human rights and dignity, stands with Israel, defends the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations.' If you feel that their mission should be expanded to include the numerous atrocities you mentioned (and perhaps we should toss in the extermination of the Native Americans as well, though that might not fly in LA) you are free to join and lobby the management like every other member. As far as Stalin goes, while no one (outside Russia) denies his atrocities, his anti-Semitism was more opportunistic than programmatic.

Those interested in the history of the accursed lands between Berlin and Moscow might take a look at Timothy Snyder's excellent book 'Bloodlands'....
11:48 January 14, 2011 by tallady
Well said,william thirteen,, I remember the recent extradition of Demjanjuk from the US ,at the time I thought leave the old man,,but a spokesperson from Simon Wiesenthal Centrer said " a persons age does not lessen the seriousness or the culpability of the crime ,and I had to agree..

Bringing war criminals to justice serves as a warning to all who would be.
19:23 January 14, 2011 by mixxim
Sorry Tallady, Who has been deterred by bringing war criminals to justice. There appear to be lots of people who are undeterred, maybe those who have not committed atrocities did not do so because they did not want to, rather than that they were deterred? I would guess that NO one has been deterred by the law.
22:06 January 14, 2011 by zeulf
What is sad to me is that it took this long to get the top marks, Germany for most of the 40s 50s 60s and 70s seemed half hearted in its attempts to prosecute or research . so little and too late a sad history for this nation
23:20 January 14, 2011 by teutonic-knight
@ Zeulf, go look at Russia and Stalin's evil that killed 20 million of its own citizens, yet no one is hunting for stalin or his generals. And the Japanese that killed about 20 million Chinese and no one is hunting the Japanese generals.
14:15 January 15, 2011 by tallady
@ mixxim don't be sorry,,how would we know who has been deterred,if they never became a war criminal, who may have been deterred from murdering their neighbor because of a life sentence or a death sentence,,dig out your crystal ball and find out.
22:21 March 17, 2011 by osiris7
Who cares that it doesn't provide justice for any other crimes, or any crimes today. If it provides justice for even one murdered victim it is worth it, and if it had been your grandmother or family member, you would feel the same way.
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