Posted on Mon, Sept. 08, 2003
Golden Beach man hot on
the trail of Nazis
Investment banker offering
rewards in three countries
BY ELLIE BRECHER
The first phase of Operation: Last Chance,
a Simon Wiesenthal Center Nazi-hunting venture in the
Baltics, was so successful, according to the Golden
Beach investment manager who financed it, that it's
being expanded to other countries.
Aryeh Rubin, 53, leaves today for Warsaw,
Bucharest and Vienna, offering $10,000 to anyone whose
tips lead to arrests and convictions of Poles, Romanians
and Austrians guilty of World War II atrocities.
''The Holocaust has basically been forgotten
or denied in these places,'' said Rubin, who believes
it's never too late to track down elderly Nazis and
their collaborators. ``I am tickled pink that these
bad guys who did these horrible things have a little
more angst in their waning days that someone is looking
"These guys got away with it in 95
percent of cases.''
Rubin and the Wiesenthal Center's Jerusalem
director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, last summer made the offer
in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which led to information
on 241 suspect ''names that nobody would recognize,
but these were hands-on killers,'' said Rubin.
The names of 13 Ukrainian collaborators
reportedly living in the United States were given to
the Department of Justice's Office of Special Investigations,
One of those cases he believes "has
Information on 10 suspects has been turned
over to the chief prosecutor of Latvia's Division of
Investigation of Crimes of Totalitarian Regimes, according
to the Wiesenthal Center.
The names of 32 suspects were given to
the chief prosecutor of the Special Investigations Division
of the Lithuanian Procurator General for formal investigation.
The prosecutor has opened three murder investigations,
''There's no question that the results
clearly prove that the motivation and thinking of the
project were correct,'' he said. ``But one disappointment
was that convicted murderers who in many cases may have
been the only witnesses who knew what happened in sites
of isolated murder didn't come forward.''
However, ordinary people who wanted to
unburden their consciences did come forward after reading
about the reward in local newspapers, Rubin said.
"The most poignant was in a Lithuanian
town where there were 50 Jewish families before the
war and none afterward. Somebody [told Rubin] that they
saw them in a covered wagon then heard the shots, saw
the wagon return empty and the clothing thrown in the
The Polish leg of the upcoming trip will
hold special meaning for Rubin, who lost relatives there
in the Holocaust.
''In a 45-day period, my father saw his
father, brother and niece die on the run'' from the
Nazis, he said.
Later this month, he and Zuroff plan to
visit Germany, Ukraine and Belarus to search for more