Accessories to Genocide
"I've never encountered a single case of a Nazi war criminal who ever expressed any regrets or remorse. These are the last people on earth who deserve any sympathy because they had absolutely no sympathy for their victims."
"[Still a few more names on the] most wanted [list]."
"This is the nitty gritty of Nazi hunting. Any person we can get into court, we're happy."
"There are a couple more years left, not more [to see justice done]."
Efraim Zuroff, American-born Israeli Nazi-hunter
|Most Jewish children were killed on arrival at the camp after the healthy adults were selected for a slower process of being worked to death.|
The last of the Third Reich's gas chambers were put out of business 70 years ago. During the time that they were in operation, a frenzy of mass murder took place in the interests of destroying world Jewry. The fascist enterprise succeeded to an amazing degree, because it was staffed with people dedicated to carrying out the Final Solution that Adolf Hitler was so committed to. The mass psychosis of anti-Semitism brought to its pinnacle of achievement.
Taking place in a fertile environment for hatred to manifest itself to the degree that it was not the least bit difficult to find not only Germans willing and eager to give assistance to this great and noble undertaking, but locals in European countries where concentration camps, death camps, work camps were set up to work Jewish slaves to death, and those incapable of work to prolong their miserable lives, summarily slaughtered; gassed with Zyklon B, suitable for eradicating vermin.
The particulate matter that arose with the stench of burning human flesh in the chimneys that never rested, fertilized European agricultural fields to produce bumper crops for many years; there was no waste in that vast, far-reaching enterprise; human skin binding books and producing lampshades, gold pried from the teeth of corpses, human hair used to stuff pillows, human fat used to produce soap, the shoes and clothing of Jews destined for death to be usefully recycled....
Germany, the source of Nazi war crimes, enacted a law permitting prosecutors to charge all those who worked in death camps or within an SS mobile killing unit as an accessory to murder, irrespective of whether they had themselves killed anyone. Their work was deemed critical to the success of the entire operation, like a well-oiled machine whose many working parts reflected efficiency and collaborative success in a defined mission.
Mr. Zuroff years ago was busy in the microfilm archives of Yad Vashem -- the national Holocaust memorial in Israel in 1986 -- when he experience an epiphany. It occurred to him that among the names appearing on the 15 million index cards which reflected the identities of Jewish concentration camp survivors compiled by the Red Cross, other names might also be present; those of their tormentors and killers.
He studiously applied himself to perusing them all, comparing the Red Cross files in a cross-reference to a list of 49 wanted Nazi war criminals. A few minutes of scrutiny rendered 16 of those sought-after criminal names , inclusive of data such as where they had moved on to, at the conclusion of the war. "That was it. That was the moment I went from researcher to Nazi hunter", the now-68-year-old recalls.
A ditch with remains of Majdanek death camp prisoners
And for over thirty years Mr. Zuroff immersed himself in the unrelenting pursuit of those who helped make the genocide of European Jewry the success it achieved. Hunting globally for the men and women acknowledged to be responsible for carrying out orders to destroy helpless people, men, women, children of all ages and vulnerabilities. He became, eventually, the lead investigator for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, dedicated to confronting anti-Semitism.
He immersed himself in tracing the routes used by Nazis to remove themselves from their crime scenes. Directly resulting from his investigations, some 40 Nazi war criminals have been tried or investigated, people ranging from a commander of a Croatian concentration camp, to a Hungarian accused of murdering a Jewish teenager for failing to wear the yellow star all Jews were forced to wear to assign themselves to the category of target.
A female radio operator at Auschwitz, accused of involvement in 260,00 murders, Helma Kissner is now 92 years old. There are those who feel a woman of that age should be spared; after all the crimes for which she is held responsible took place a long time ago. In the unspeakable past of degrading and punishing Jews for being Jews; that dedication to cleansing the world of their presence, a deep wound was created that time will not, cannot heal.
|WWII Letters -- Photos of WWII German Concentration Camps|