Ottawa – The Simon Wiesenthal Center officially launched its “Operation: Last Chance” project in Canada today at a rally on Parliament Hill attended by the Israeli ambassador to Canada Alan Baker and members of parliament. Canada is the tenth country in which O:LC, which offers financial rewards for information which will facilitate the prosecution and punishment of Nazi war criminals, has been initiated by the Center and the Targum Shlishi Foundation of Miami. The others are Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia (2002); Poland, Romania, and Austria (2003); Croatia and Hungary (2004); and Germany (2005). To date, the project has yielded the names of 427 suspects from seventeen countries, eighty-seven of which have been submitted to local prosecutors following evaluation by the Wiesenthal Center’s researchers.
In his keynote address, the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, noted that as of April 1, 2006, there were at least 1,128 ongoing investigations of Nazi war criminals being conducted in seventeen different countries, which clearly indicates that the efforts to prosecute Holocaust perpetrators are far from over and lends increased importance to projects such as “Operation: Last Chance.”
According to Zuroff:
“The worst thing imaginable at this point would be to institute an artificial chronological limit on the prosecution of those who committed the crimes of the Holocaust. To ignore such heinous crimes simply because a perpetrator reached a certain age, would be tantamount to publically announcing that acts of genocide would be tolerated. By launching “Operation: Last Chance” in Canada we are sending a clear, unequivocal message that we will continue to attempt to find and bring to justice Holocaust perpetrators as long as it is possible to achieve justice.”
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