Jan 27, 2019 dpa-international.com
Germany lauded for efforts to prosecute former Nazis

Tel Aviv (dpa) - An annual report on Nazi war criminals released Sunday lauded Germany for its effort to investigate and prosecute perpetrators.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre made note of Germany's prosecution policy adopted in 2011, which allows any person who served in a death camp or in the Einsatzgruppen killing squads to be convicted of accessory to murder based on their service alone.

Published since 2002, this year's report spans the period from April 1, 2017 until March 31, 2018 and was released in conjunction with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The rights group hunts suspected Nazi war criminals and fights anti-Semitism.

During that period, Helmut Oberlander, 94, who served in the Einsatzgruppe D paramilitary death squad in the former Soviet Union, was denaturalised by Canada.

This was the fourth time Canada revoked the citizenship of Oberlander, who has been accused of hiding his Nazi past before obtaining citizenship in 1960. The previous decisions were repealed after appeals by his lawyers and he has appealed the fourth one too.

The report also stated that three new indictments were filed in Germany as well as one extradition request in Poland, during the latest recorded period.

In total, since January 2001 to March 2018 there have been 105 convictions of Nazi war criminals, the report said. Forty six were recorded in Italy, 39 in the United States, eight in Germany and eight in Canada.

During the same period, 105 indictments were filed against Nazi war criminals, with the most cases submitted by the United States (35), Italy (33) and Germany (22).

For decades after the war, German courts argued that the top Nazi leadership was principally to blame for the mass murder of Jews and that lower-ranking individuals in the Holocaust machinery were bound by a chain of command and, therefore, less culpable.

That approach changed radically after a legal precedent set by the 2011 conviction of John Demjanjuk, who was found guilty as an accessory to the murder of more than 28,000 Jews while he was a guard at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland.