Berlin – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today launched “Operation Last Chance II,” a project which will focus on the men who served in Nazi death camps and the Einsatzgruppen (special mobile killing units), at a press conference held at the Bundestag press lobby here today. Modeled after its original “Operation Last Chance” project started in 2002, which focused primarily on Eastern Europe, the current initiative, which is supported by the “Targum Shlishi Foundation” of Miami headed by Aryeh Rubin, is offering financial rewards of up to 25,000 euros for information which will lead to the prosecution and punishment of Nazi war criminals. The Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who conceived and directs the new project, explained that the May 2011 conviction in Munich of Sobibor death camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk, who is the first person to be convicted in Germany without evidence of a specific crime with a specific victim, paves the way for the successful prosecution in Germany of any person who served in one of the death camps or the Einsatzgruppen. Also participating in the press conference were: MP Dietmar Nietan, former MP Gert Weisskirchen, and activist against anti-Semitism Joerg Rensmann.
According to Zuroff:
“The Demjanjuk conviction at long last enables the prosecution of individuals who were active participants in the mass murder of Jews on practically a daily basis for extended periods of time, but hereto for legal reasons could not be prosecuted for their crimes. This travesty of justice can now be corrected, but we are in a race against time to find the individuals still alive and expedite their prosecution. My estimate is that there are at least several dozen such cases which can still be brought to trial and we want to do whatever we can to help the German legal authorities bring these Holocaust perpetrators to justice.”
Zuroff explained that the rewards will be given to the persons who give the information in the following manner:
- 5,000 euros upon indictment of the suspect;
- 5,000 euros upon his or her conviction;
- 100 euros a day for the first 150 days of imprisonment, for a total of an additional 15,000 euros.
- Total=25,000 euros.
The Center’s hotline for information is in Germany: (01573) 494-7307
For those those calling from outside Germany: 49-1573-494-7307