from the Global Wiesenthal Empire:
thousands of branches worldwide|
Edinburgh, Sunday, December 21,
split by 'shop a Nazi' campaign
'shop-thy-neighbour' campaign has been
launched in Austria in the run-up to
Christmas in a bid to get Austrians to
turn in elderly neighbours they suspect of
being Nazi war criminals.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC),
which has its headquarters in Los Angeles,
has spent thousands of pounds on the
double page adverts in Austrian papers in
what it claims is a last-ditch attempt to
track down Nazi criminals who have gone
But while Austrian politicians and key
figures have publicly praised the scheme,
in café houses and beer gardens
across the country it has been treated as
either a joke and an insult.
In the main shopping street,
Christina Hanke said: "Everyone is
getting fed up with hearing about this
sort of thing; when's it going to end?
What happened was terrible, but I had
nothing to do with it, and neither did my
parents. There has to be a time to put it
behind us - it can't go on forever."
Further down the street businessman
Wolfgang Ritter said: "I can't take
the adverts seriously. What is the chance
that someone is going to see them and
think, 'What a good idea, I'll give them a
call and tell them to arrest old Fritz
next door.' It isn't going to happen."
Even in the
Jewish community there are voices of
disquiet about how still seeking to
right the wrongs of the past could be
causing problems for the future.
One Rabbi, who asked not to be named,
admitted: "People ask me how we in the
Jewish community can loudly demand the
wrongs of the Holocaust be addressed yet
keep silent on other more recent incidents
like the genocide in Rwanda. I have to say
they have a point."
The adverts have the express aim of
bringing to justice "concentration camp
guards, Gestapo henchmen and mass
murderers" before it is "too late".
Headlined 'The murderers are among us'
the black and white advert is illustrated
with a photo of a Nazi execution. Beneath
the picture is the caption: "Most Nazi
murderers remain unchallenged - also in
The organisation has also offered a
£7,000 reward for information leading
to the arrest and conviction of former
Zuroff, director of the SWC's
office in Jerusalem, [right, with
Naomi Baruch, Chilean ambassador to
Israel] rejected the criticism. He
said: "This really is the last chance for
Austria, which has not convicted a Nazi
war criminal in more than a quarter of a
century, to finally take legal action
against Austrian Nazi murderers while
justice can still be done."
Austrian minister for justice,
Dieter Boehmdorfer from the
far-Right Freedom Party, also backed the
campaign but said he did not expect any
results from Operation: Last Chance before
the middle of next year.
Boehmdorfer was presented with a list
containing the names of at least 47
suspected Nazi war criminals by Dr Zuroff
and two police
battalions have been drafted in to
look at the matter.
However, in a further farcical twist,
officials admitted they did not even known
whether all 47 people were still alive or
even living in Austria.
The campaign backers said a similar
campaign further east in Lithuania, Latvia
and Estonia had led to the names of around
253 suspected Nazis being submitted. But
no prosecutions have yet resulted.
Zuroff said Boehmdorfer had been very
co-operative and had
"said the right
things" when they met to discuss
the operation. But he added that it was
"easy to say what is right", and that
Austria would now be measured by its
Zuroff added that Austria was one of
the only countries that had not set up its
own authority to hunt down Nazi criminals,
and was something that should be
dossier on the Simon Wiesenthal
of SWC's public tax
Bowing to the
Center has finally removed faked photo
from its website |
example of Wiesenthal faking an image,
of executions of Nazi victims
gives Wiesenthal Center public
Courts Order Wiesenthal Center to Pay
Restitution For Malicious Prosecution