The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center hung posters on the streets of major German cities yesterday seeking information on the last perpetrators of the Holocaust still at large nearly 70 years on.
The 2,000 placards displayed in cities feature a chilling black-and-white photograph of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and the tagline: “Late, but not too late.”
Part of the center’s “Operation Last Chance” to catch the surviving suspects behind World War II-era atrocities, the signs offer a reward of up to 25,000 euros (US$33,000) for information leading to the capture and conviction of such criminals.
“We expect to get tips about people who served in the death camps or in Einsatzgruppen [mobile death squads] and in that way to help bring them to justice,” said Efraim Zuroff, the campaign’s initiator. “But of course you realize that such a campaign also raises public interest [and serves] as a reminder of the importance to bring those people to justice.”
Zuroff heads the Jerusalem office of the US-based organization, named after Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, who was perhaps the best-known Nazi hunter until his death in 2005.
The posters, which will confront Germans on their high streets, pack an emotional punch.
“Millions of innocents were murdered by Nazi war criminals. Some of the perpetrators are free and alive,” they read. “Help us to bring them before a court.”
Zuroff estimates that only 60 potential defendants are still alive. He said they should not be shown clemency due to their age.
“In my 33 years of hunting Nazis I never once had a case of a Nazi who ever said he was sorry,” Zuroff said.
“Don’t look at these people and see a frail old man or woman; think of someone who at the height of his physical strength devoted his energy to murdering innocent women and men,” he said. “These are the last people on Earth deserving any sympathy because they had absolutely no sympathy for their victims.”