NEW YORK (Jan. 29)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has called upon President Augusto Pinochet of Chile to immediately take into custody Walter Rauff, a former Nazi official sought by Israel for crimes against humanity, “in order to make certain that he does not evade being brought to judgement once again.”
At the same time, the leader of Reform Judaism in this country, has urged Pope John Paul II to instruct the Apostolic Delegate to Chile to support Israel’s request for extradition of the accused Nazi mass murderer.
In a telegram to Pinochet, Abraham Foxman, ADL’s associate national director and head of its international affairs division, supported Israel’s request for extradition under the genocide treaty of the United Nations. Foxman said that “justice to some 250,000 Jews murdered by Rauff’s diabolic invention of movable gas vans” demands that Chile declare him “persona non grata.”
SAYS CHILE CAN BENEFIT FROM BOLIVIA’S EXAMPLE
In a separate statement, Foxman noted that in 1962, Chile had denied a request for Rauff’s extradition from West Germany on grounds that a 15-year statute of limitations had elapsed. Declaring that it is important that such technical considerations not be permitted to obstruct justice for this war criminal, Foxman said that Chile can benefit from the example of Bolivia which acceded last year to a French government request for custody of another Nazi war criminal, Klaus Barbie.
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, said in a cable to the Vatican that Rauff “was and is sought as a war criminal. He reportedly told in 1962 of having been given refuge in Vatican City convents for 18 months after World War II before escaping to Chile.”
Rauff has been accused of heading the German team responsible for the preparation, building and equiping of mobile units used to put Jews to death in the period before the Nazi concentrations camps of Eastern Europe. The role of the Vatican in aiding war criminals escape from Europe was first documented in a three-part series by Charles Allen, Jr., in the February 16, 17 and 18, 1983 issues of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Daily News Bulletin.