The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization, with headquarters in Los Angeles, California, has criticized Poland for the lack of results in prosecuting Nazi war criminals. The sixth annual report, prepared by the center, criticizes Poland for not achieving either an indictment or a conviction of ex-Nazis from March 2006 until April 2007.
In this period Poland didn’t mount any war crimes trials. The center rated Poland’s activity in this area as “poor” for the first time since annual reports by the center began to be published in 2001. The report was also critical of countries such as Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia and Canada, which opened dozens of inquiries but brought none to trial.
On the other hand, it praised the U.S. for its success in unmasking and deporting war crimes suspects, and Italy, which managed for a second time to convict 10 Nazi war criminals within one year. The author of the report, Efraim Zuroff from the center’s Jerusalem office, said it was still possible to prosecute ex-Nazis for war crimes despite their advanced age. And the number of those convicted of war crimes has risen during the last 12 months. According to his statements, the only obstacle is a lack of political willpower.
One of those the center would like to see brought to justice is Alois Brunner who was an aide to Adolf Eichmann – one of the organizers of the “Final Solution.” He is believed to live in Syria and was responsible for sending thousands of Jews to the concentration camps. The Polish Institute of National Remembrance announced that it would not respond to the criticism by the Wiesenthal Center. Poland, which was invaded by Nazi Germany in September 1939, currently has the highest number of open inquiries against war criminals in the world.
The Wiesenthal Center, founded in 1977, was named after the famous “Nazi hunter” Simon Wiesenthal. After surviving the Holocaust, he dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazis so that they could be brought to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The center is based in Los Angeles. This week’s report was issued by its Jerusalem office.