BERLIN (JTA) – At least four investigations of possibleÂ Nazi-era war criminals have been turned over to German investigatorsÂ in recent months.
The alleged Nazi war criminals were identified following an awareness campaign by the SimonÂ Wiesenthal Center.
“Operation Last Chance II,” launched in 2011 and expanded Monday with aÂ new poster campaign, has yielded hundreds of calls and emails fromÂ around the world, said Efraim Zuroff, the organization’s chief Nazi
Zuroff, based in Jerusalem, told JTA that 110 names of suspects – 81 in Germany – had been culled from nearly 300 tips. At leastÂ one tip related to a possible kapo, or camp prisoner forced to workÂ as a guard, is under investigation in Israel.
“We are in the processÂ of trying to find out if it is true,” Zuroff said.
Of the four active cases, two involve alleged concentration campÂ guards, including a male guard at Dachau and a female guard atÂ Auschwitz; one relates to the 1944 massacre of civilians inÂ Oradur-sur-Glane in France; and the fourth involves a man whoÂ allegedly possesses a huge collection of Nazi-era memorabilia andÂ modern weaponry. It is not clear whether the suspect is himself a warÂ criminal, Zuroff said.
Federal prosecutor Kurt Schrimm, head of Germany’s Central Office forÂ Clarification of Nazi Crimes, based in Ludwigsburg, told JTA that anÂ earlier investigation into a suspected former Auschwitz guard livingÂ in Israel was dropped this fall when it was learned the suspect hadÂ died.
Zuroff has applied to the German Supreme Court to get the name of theÂ individual, with no results.
He said he hoped a new flow of information about other suspects wouldÂ begin with Monday’s expansion of the campaign to Munich, Nuremberg,Â Dresden, Leipzig, Rostock and other cities. Some 3,000 posters are due to go up in theÂ coming days.
The response to the ad campaign – with the slogan “Late but not tooÂ late” – is already “way beyond our expectations,” Zuroff said. “ItÂ proves that the poster struck a very strong nerve in German society.”
In addition to tips, at least 70 requests came from individuals andÂ museums for copies of the oversized poster.