11:54 GMT, 8 August 2012 mailonsunday.co.uk
‘Jews screamed like geese when they were shot’: Chilling interview with ‘Nazi war criminal who was member of mobile murder squad’
By Richard Shears

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 Centre.

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 murder squad.

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 Alexander Behse.

‘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 words.

'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.