Vilnius – The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff today submitted the names of twelve Lithuanians suspected of murdering Jews during the Holocaust to Lithuanian Special Prosecutor Rimvydas Valentukevicius and called upon the Lithuanian authorities to expedite their investigation of World War II cases. The names were discovered in the framework of “Operation: Last Chance,” a joint project of the Center and the “Targum Shlishi Foundation” of Miami , Florida . So far the Center has received the names of 253 suspects (196 from Lithuania ), of which 67 have been submitted to prosecutors (44 from Lithuania ). The names submitted today were of suspects who are alleged to have participated in the mass murder of Jews from Aukstadvaris, Pandelis, Rokiskis, and Jurbarkas in the summer of 1941.
Zuroff received an update on four of the five murder investigations already initiated by Lithuanian prosecutors in the wake of information received in” Operation: Last Chance.” So far there are at least 24 suspects involved.
Zuroff called for participation by Lithuanian NGO’s in identifying local Nazi war criminals and documenting their crimes and suggested that the Wiesenthal Center would consider helping to fund such activities from “Operation: Last Chance” funds if it would facilitate prosecution and punishment of local murderers, not a single one of whom has been punished since Lithuania regained its independence in 1991.
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