world's leading Nazi hunter is planning to come
to Norway for up to three months to investigate
Norwegians who may have committed war crimes
as part of the Waffen SS's Wiking division
Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, wants to
meet justice minister Anders Anundsen to lobby
for a commission to investigate the elite international
I want to ask the government to establish a
commission of inquiry to investigate what happened
in the Wiking division and what role Norwegians
played in war crimes committed during the Second
World War," Zuroff
told Norway's NRK news channel.
Zuroff planned to fly to Norway on Wednesday
but cancelled his journey after misunderstandings
with Norway's justice ministry. He now intends
to come in March or April next year.
A former Wiking soldier, Olav Tuff, told NRK
earlier this year that he had witnessed Norwegian
soldiers committing war crimes against Jews
and other civilians when he was serving on
the Eastern Front in 1941.
More recently, the book "Unforgiven
Norwegians", by the journalist Eirik Veum has highlighted Norwegian involvement in war-time
Zuroff intends to spend up to four months in
Norway researching the country's involvement.
He also wants to push for an amendment to Norwegian
law to end the limitation on prosecution for
past war crimes, which would make it impossible
to jail perpetrators of crimes from the 1940s.
Several hundred Norwegians served in the Waffen
SS during the Second World War, fighting under
German officers alongside Swedish, Danish,
Finnish, Estonian, Dutch and Belgian volunteers.
Zuroff said that a thorough investigation was
important on "a
moral and historical level", as well as simply being a way to identify those guilty of war crimes
It is important that what happened there is
actually known in Norway, because there were
many who served in the Wiking division," he
said. "This should be taught in Norwegian schools."
Zuroff believes the commission should look
at war crimes on the Eastern Front, crimes
against Norwegian Jews who were sent to concentration
camps, and conditions in Norwegian prisoner
camps that were run by Norwegians and Norwegian
Veum believes that several hundred Norwegians
who fought on the German side in the Second
World War are still alive today.