A suspected Nazi war criminal described how Jews ‘screamed
like geese’ when they were shot, in a documentary set
to be shown for the first time.
Jonas Pukas, a 78-year-old Lithuanian immigrant, even laughed as he said Holocaust
victims 'flew in the air'.
He gave the disturbing police
tape interview at his home in New Zealand in 1992 and
the audio from it forms part of the film Nazi Hunter,
which will be screened tomorrow.
The meeting was conducted
by then Detective Wayne Stringer, who was investigating
a list of 47 possible war criminals that the New Zealand
government had received from the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal
Pukas died in 1994 at the
age of 80,
A member of the 12th Lithuanian Police Battalion, was said by the Wiesenthal
centre to have taken part in the killings by the mobile
The killers moved from village to village rounding up Jews and gunning them down
in the forests of eastern Europe.
The Australian newspaper said today that the interview would be shown on New
Zealand television’s The Inside NZ on TV3.
Mr Stringer, 56, told the
paper that the interview would form what he described
as the ‘spine’ of the documentary, directed by German-born
‘It still haunts me,’ Mr Stringer said. ‘I’m confident Mr Pukas was a war criminal.’
In a transcript of the interview,
Pukas said of the Jews who were being shot: ‘They shout
like geese you know.’
Making the sound of birds
wailing or crying, he said with a laugh that the Jews
‘fly in air’.
He added: ‘Some of the Jews
used to scream like that, like the geese.’
Despite his graphic description,
Pukas denied taking part in the executions.
‘I only heard the people dying.
I did not see it,’ he told Mr Stringer.
The former detective has not been able to shake off the suspected war criminal’s
'I got far more emotionally involved in the war crimes investigation than anything
else I’d ever done in the police,’ he said.
‘Genocide is still occurring
in all sorts of places around the world. That is why
this film is important.’
Mr Stringer said that at least
‘a handful’ of Nazi war criminals could have lived out
their lives in New Zealand without facing justice for
atrocities they had been involved in.