LOS ANGELES (Jan. 25)
The Simon Wiesenthal Center of Yeshiva University here has urged the Reagan Administration to apply “strong and direct” pressure on the Chilean government to expel Walter Rauff, a notorious Nazi war criminal who has been living in Chile for more than 20 years.
Rauff invented and supervised the mobile gas trucks used to murder an estimated 250,000 Jews before the death camps at Auschwitz, Treblinka and other sites were set up.
The request to the Administration was contained in telegrams to Secretary of State George Shultz and Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Elliott Abrams. They were signed by Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.
They called on the Administration to intervene directly with President Augustino Pinochet of Chile, noting that Rauff has lived there openly under the protection of various regimes and “to date, Chilean authorities have refused to move against this major World War II criminal. ” The State Department, they said, should become involved to help see that “Rauff does not continue to successfully evade the bar of justice.”
“Since the Chilean Supreme Court has ruled against his extradition, we ask you to request President Pinochet to take steps to expel Walter Rauff from Chilean society. We can think of no more worthy issue to be addressed by the State Department’s Office for Human Rights,” the telegram said.
Wiesenthal Center officials are also discussing the possibility of Congressional hearings on the Rauff case. They reported that Rep. Barney Frank (D. Mass.), who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has indicated that such hearings could be convened as early as the middle of next month.
“At this stage, only strong and direct pressure from the United States can lead Chilean leaders to conclude that their country should no longer be used as a safe haven for one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals of World War II,” Hier said.