Wiesenthal Center announces receipt of names of 174 suspects in Lithuania in “Operation: Last Chance”, welcomes opening of additional investigation by Lithuanian prosecutors as a result of “O:LC”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today in Vilnius that it had already received the names of 174 Lithuanians suspected of participation in the rimes of the Holocaust in the framework of its “Operation: Last Chance” launched in the Baltics exactly nine months ago.

The program, which is being sponsored by the Center and the Targum Shlishi Foundation of Miami, Florida, offered a financial reward of $10,000 for information, which would lead to the conviction, and punishment of Holocaust perpetrators in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia featured large ads with graphic historical photos of the persecution and murder of Jews in these areas.

The Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who coordinates the project, also announced at the press conference that he had just been informed this morning by Lithuanian Special Prosecutor Rimvydas Valentukevicius that Lithuania had recently opened an investigation regarding the murder of Jews in the town of Rokiskis based on material obtained by the Center in the framework of “O:LC.” He also noted that it was extremely likely that additional investigations would be initiated by Lithuanian prosecutors in the coming weeks based on new information which had recently been submitted to the Center and was currently being checked by the Center’s researchers

Zuroff also announced a change in the financial rewards offered in the framework of “O:LC.” From now on, the Center would pay $1,000 for information, which would lead to an official murder investigation against a suspect still alive and healthy enough to stand trial. It would add an additional sum of $1,500 if an indictment were submitted and would complete the sum of $10,000 if the suspects were convicted and punished. “We hope that this change will lead additional persons to supply us with the information necessary to bring the murderers of Lithuanian Jewry to justice. Time is rapidly running out and the efforts to bring the guilty to justice must be facilitated as quickly as possible,” said Zuroff. Zuroff was joined at the press conference by Dr.Shimon Alperovich, Chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, who expressed his fullest support for “O:LC.”

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