A program to intensify the search for former Nazi war criminals was launched in Argentina.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center will use its “Operation Last Chance,” inaugurated Tuesday, to find former Nazi war criminals still hiding in South America.
The program, which started in Lithuania in 2002, is running in nine European countries. They will be joined by Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay in an effort to locate some of the thousands of former Nazi
war criminals believed still to be hiding in South America.
Wiesenthal Center officials expect to continue a second stage of the South American program in Paraguay and Bolivia.
Local newspaper advertising campaigns constitute the first step, including a reward offer.
There are 1,019 ongoing investigations of former Nazi war criminals in 14 countries. Since the beginning of the program, 488 suspects have been identified. Some 99 names have been submitted to local law enforcement in the countries where the suspects reside. Three arrest warrants have been issued and two extraditions requested.
The Wiesenthal Center received the names of four suspects in Argentina on the day of the launch.
“One of them seems quite serious,” Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Wiesenthal Center office in Israel, told JTA.