Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today urged Austrian Justice Minister Dr. Maria Berger to expedite the case of Majdanek guard Erna Wallisch, which was recently reopened by the Austrian authorities, in order to ensure that she be held accountable for her crimes at the Nazi death camp on the outskirts of Lublin. In a letter sent today from Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted the urgency of the situation due to Wallisch’s age (85) and emphasized the importance of such prosecutions despite the decades that have passed since the crimes were committed.
According to Zuroff:
“The new evidence and witnesses uncovered by the Poles have created an unforeseen opportunity to achieve justice in this case and I therefore urge you to do everything possible to expedite the investigation in Vienna so that justice can be achieved. In this respect, it is important to remember that the passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the perpetrators and that murderers do not deserve any consideration just because of longevity.
“Austria’s absolute failure during the past three decades to prosecute Nazi war criminals is well-known, but one of the first steps you took was to add 50,000 euros to the reward for information on escaped Nazi war criminal Dr. Aribert Heim. We hope that you will continue to distinguish yourself from your predecessors by actively expediting the Wallisch case so that she will not be allowed to elude justice.
“People like Erna Wallisch do not deserve any sympathy. The fact that they have not previously been convicted is a travesty of justice which can now be corrected. Doing so, will send a very powerful message that Austria has finally ceased to be a haven for the perpetrators of the Holocaust.”