Conviction of Jon Demjanjuk prompted the reopening of investigations against guards who worked in Holocaust extermination camps.
The criminal conviction of Nazi concentration guard John Demjanjuk in May prompted German prosecutors on Wednesday to reopen dozens of investigations and cases against guards who worked in the vast set of extermination camps during the Holocaust.
The German authorities announced the new prosecutions on Wednesday, according to media reports.
The 91-year-old Ukranianborn Demjanjuk was deported from the US to Germany in 2009. A Munich court convicted him in May of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for working as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Demjanjuk’s attorney has appealed the conviction.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Thursday hailed the decision by German prosecutors to open criminal investigations against dozens of former guards at Nazi concentration camps.
Efraim Zuroff, from the Wiesenthal Center, said he welcomed efforts to bring former guards to justice based on the precedent of John Demjanjuk, found guilty of being an accessory to murder for the time he was guarding Treblinka concentration camp.
Zuroff, who is widely considered to be world’s leading hunter of Nazis, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that “The Demjanjuk conviction has created the possibility to prosecute perhaps as many as several dozen Holocaust perpetrators who served in the most lethal Nazi installations and units, and basically spent as much as two years carrying out mass murder on practically a daily basis.
He added that “These were the persons who carried out the major bulk of the mass murder of European Jews during the Holocaust – practically half of the approximately six million Jewish victims.”
Kurt Schrimm, the head of the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Germany (Zentrale Stelle) said: “We don’t want to wait too long, so we’ve already begun our investigations,” according to a Guardian news report on Wednesday.
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