Saturday, 18 January, 2003, 00:46 GMT BBC News

Nazi hunters advertise in Latvia


A Latvian newspaper has published advertisements offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the trial and conviction of Nazi war criminals.

The advertisements are part of a campaign called "Operation Last Chance" launched by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which hunts Nazi criminals.

About 80,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis and local collaborators in Latvia between 1941 and 1944. Thousands of Jews from other European countries were also sent to Latvia for execution.

But Latvia has not prosecuted any Nazi suspects since it regained independence in 1991.
The ads, showing a grainy photo of Jews being led to their execution, say "those who are responsible... must be punished".

They give phone numbers for the Latvian chief prosecutor's office and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Prosecutors in the former Soviet republic say gathering evidence against the few surviving suspects has been difficult.

" If anyone comes forward with information we are ready to investigate," said Dzintra Subrovska, a spokeswoman for the Latvian Prosecutor General's Office.
Similar ads were published in neighbouring Lithuania late last year and others will be run in Estonian newspapers later this month.

Of Latvia's 95,000 pre-war Jewish population, barely 4,000 survived the Holocaust.

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