Posted on July 12, 2002
Nazi hunters offer rewards
NAZI hunting groups placed advertisements
in several newspapers Lithuania, offering a $US10,000
($17,800) reward for evidence leading to the prosecution
of anyone who participated in the Holocaust during World
"Jews of Lithuania did not disappear!
They were mercilessly massacred in Vilnius, Kaunas Siauliai
and over 100 other places of mass murder," read
the text of the large black-and-white ad, featuring
a photograph of Nazis beating Jews to death with clubs.
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal
Centre - which has devoted decades to tracking down
ex-Nazis - and the Miami-based Targum Shlishi Foundation
designed and paid for the advertisement, which included
contact telephone numbers of the Lithuanian prosecutors
Efraim Zuroff, head of the Wiesenthal
Centre's Jerusalem office, announced the project to
offer money-for-evidence this summer during a visit
to Lithuania; he dubbed the program "Operation
Last Chance". He said he would run similar advertisements
in the other two Baltic countries, Latvia and Estonia.
Over 90 per cent of Lithuania's pre-war
Jewish community of 240,000 perished during the Nazi
occupation. Zuroff has said none of the Baltic states
has done enough to confront the fate of their pre-war
Jewish populations after the three nations regained
independence during the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Historians say hundreds or possibly thousands
of collaborators helped murder Jews in Lithuania, which
had one of eastern Europe's largest and most culturally
active Jewish communities before the war.
After regaining independence, this nation
of 3.5 million people promised to try those who participated
in the massacre of Jews. Several of men in their 80s
and 90s were charged - but only one was ever convicted.
No suspects spent any time in prison.