Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, responded today to a decision by a Leipzig court to allow the publication of a memoir by a Gestapo secretary in which she mentioned her former lover Erich Steidtmann, whose service as an officer in a unit which carried out killing operations in the Warsaw Ghetto was thereby exposed, as another proof of the relative failure of the German judicial authorities to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice in the Federal Republic.
In a statement issued here today, the veteran Nazi-hunter pointed out that in the wake of Steidtmann’s futile efforts to block the publication of the book, his lies regarding his service in the Warsaw Ghetto were exposed, as was the failure of the German judiciary to adequately investigate his case. “It appears that among other things, Steidtmann claimed that he had fought against 400 German deserters who joined the ghetto fighters against the Nazis, a claim that is patently untrue and should immediately have aroused the suspicions of the German investigators. Instead, his self-serving false version of the events was apparently accepted and led to the decision not to prosecute him,” said Zuroff, who also noted the unusually-extensive coverage of the case which stemmed in his opinion “from the prurient interest of the media rather than the failure of the German judiciary to prosecute Steidtmann.”
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