“Operation Last Chance” was launched on Tuesday and offers the German public a grand total of 25,000 euro ($33,000) for any information pertaining to surviving suspects complicit in World War II hate crimes.
Two thousand placards have been plastered across German cities, including Berlin, with the intention of trapping the dregs of Germany’s Nazi war criminals. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is seeking information on Holocaust perpetrators still at large.
The posters depict an ominous photograph of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi-run death camp, with a tagline that reads: “Late, but not too late.”
“Millions of innocents were murdered by Nazi war criminals. Some of the perpetrators are free and alive,” the posters continue. “Help us to bring them before a court.”
One former war criminal, Ivan Demjanjuk, was convicted as late as 2011. Demjanjuk was a concentration camp survivor found guilty of complicity in some 30,000 Jewish deaths in German-occupied Poland during World War II. He is being cited as an example by the center as a reason for people not to rest on their laurels when it comes to catching remaining war criminals.
“This conviction paves the way for additional prosecutions of individuals who served in death camps, as well as the members of the Einsatzgruppen [mobile killing units],” stated the center’s chief Nazi-hunter and Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is dismissive of anyone who questions the value of bringing elderly war criminals “to justice,” listing five points for the apprehensive observer to take into consideration, two of which are: “The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers,” and “old age should not afford immunity to murderers.”
Zuroff is adamant that remaining Nazi war criminals should be made to face up to their actions regardless of the passage of decades since the close of World War II.
“In my 33 years of hunting Nazis I never once had a case of a Nazi who ever said he was sorry,” Zuroff told AFP. “These are the last people on Earth deserving any sympathy because they had absolutely no sympathy for their victims.”