The Simon Wiesenthal Center released on Sunday the findings of its 12th annual report on the investigation and prosecution of Nazi criminals around the world.
In the report, the SWC added two names to its list of most wanted Nazis, SS-Death’s Head division camp guards Hans (Antanas) Lipschis and Theodor Szehinskyj, both of whom escaped to the United States after World War II.
The list comprises 10 people and the two additions replace Dutch-German Nazi criminal Klaas Faber, who died in Germany last year before he could be incarcerated for his crimes, and Karoly (Charles) Zentai, whose extradition to Hungary to stand trial for murder was blocked by the Australian authorities. The Wiesenthal Center called the Zentai case the “most disappointing result” of the period under review.
The SWC also routinely awards grades, ranging between A (highest) and F, to countries’ efforts and results in finding and prosecuting Nazis who had either committed crimes on their soil or had been admitted by these countries after the Holocaust.
The report covers the period between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013.
The country with the highest mark was the Unites States, with Canada, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Serbia receiving a B grade. Norway, Sweden and Syria were classed in the F-1 category reserved for countries “which refuse in principle to investigate, let alone prosecute, suspected Nazi war criminals because of legal (statute of limitation) or ideological restrictions.”
Australia, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine received an F-2 mark, for “those countries in which there are no legal obstacles to the investigation and prosecution of suspected Nazi war criminals, but whose efforts (or lack thereof) have resulted in complete failure during the period under review.”
SWC director Efraim Zuroff noted that countries in Eastern Europe, and the Baltic states in particular, remain uncommitted to punishing suspected perpetrators.
“The lack of political will to bring Nazis war criminals to justice and/or to punish them continues to be the major obstacle to achieving justice, particularly in post-Communist Eastern Europe. The campaign led by the Baltic countries to distort the history of the Holocaust and obtain official recognition that the crimes of the Communists are equal to those of the Nazis is another major obstacle to the prosecution of those responsible for the crimes of the Shoah,” said Zuroff.
According to Zuroff, who is also the author of the report, the purpose was to “encourage all the governments involved to maximize their efforts to ensure that as many as possible of the unprosecuted Holocaust perpetrators will be held accountable for their crimes.”
Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Luxemburg, Paraguay, Russia, Slovenia, and Uruguay all received an X mark representing those countries that failed to provide pertinent data and “did not take any action whatsoever to investigate suspected Nazi war criminals during the period under review.”
The most positive development, according to the report, was “the indictment in Hungary in July 2012 of former Kosice (in Hungarian- occupied Slovakia) ghetto commander Laszlo Csatary for his role in the mass deportation of approximately 15,700 Jews to the Auschwitz death camp in the spring of 1944. On July 17, 2012, he was indicted, placed under house arrest, and had his passport confiscated, as he awaits possible criminal prosecution.”