Iceland Criticized for Its Failure to Prosecute Suspected War Criminal

A Simon Wiesenthal Center official has labeled as “scandalous” Iceland’s failure to investigate a suspected Nazi war criminal living there.

A judicial commission in Iceland recommended recently that no action be taken in the case of Ewald Mikson, a suspected Nazi collaborator in Estonia who is now living near Reykjavik under the name of Edward Hinriksson.

He is suspected of serving as a Gestapo investigator at the Tartu concentration camp and carrying out executions at the antitank ditch near the camp.

In a letter to Prime Minister David Oddesson of Iceland, the director of the center’s Israel office said the decision would remain a blot on Iceland’s record.

“At times like this, when neo-Nazi extremism is raising its ugly head in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and right-wing fanatics question whether the crimes of the Holocaust ever took place, the decision of the Icelandic government will be a source of joy and inspiration for the forces of evil the world over,” Efraim Zuroff wrote.

In New York, meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League called on the Austrian government to seek the immediate return of a convicted neo-Nazi who fled the country to avoid a prison term.

Walter Ochensberger, 50-year-old publisher of the neo-Nazi magazine Sieg, was convicted for violating Austrian law, which prohibits Nazi activities. He fled to Spain to avoid complying with the two-year sentence handed down by an Austrian court.

In a letter to Austrian Justice Minister Nikolaus Michalek, the national director of ADL, Abraham Foxman, said, “Unless you act promptly now to bring Ochensberger back to Austria to serve his sentence, the case will stand as a travesty rather than a triumph of Austrian justice.”

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