Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today expressed its frustration and disappointment in the wake of the death earlier this week in Hannover of former Nazi police battalion commander Erich Steidtmann, who led several police battalions which actively participated in the mass murder of numerous Jews in eastern Europe, before he could be prosecuted for his crimes. In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted that Steidtmann’s death unprosecuted reflected a decades-long failure by the German judicial authorities in his case, which was opened as early as the sixties, but was closed then for lack of evidence.
According to Zuroff:
“It was only thanks to research by the Wiesenthal Center’s Dr. Stefan Klemp and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazine that the case against Steidtmann was reopened, but unfortunately it will never come to court nor will Steidtmann ever be punished. Had the prosecutors done their job properly in the sixties, he would not have escaped justice, but at least he did not die in peace and tranquility.”