Germany reopens investigations into Nazi death camp guards

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Prosecutors in Germany have reopened hundreds of investigations of former Nazi death camp guards and others who might now be charged under a precedent set by the conviction of John Demjanjuk, a guard at Sobibor camp in Poland in 1943.

Given the advanced age of the suspects – the youngest is in his 80s – the head of the German prosecutors' office dedicated to investigating Nazi war crimes said authorities would not wait for the Demjanjuk appeal process to finish. "We don't want to wait too long, so we've already begun our investigations," Kurt Schrimm said.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre's chief Nazi-hunter, Efraim Zuroff, said he would launch a campaign in the next two months – a successor to his Operation Last Chance – to track down the remaining war criminals.

He added that the Demjanjuk conviction had opened the door to prosecutions that were never thought possible. "It could be a very interesting final chapter," he said by telephone from Jerusalem. "This has tremendous implications, even at this late date."...

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