(JTA) — The World Jewish Congress has called on U.S. courts to facilitate a quick extradition of alleged Nazi war criminal Peter Egner to Serbia.
Serbia’s justice minister on Nov. 26 formally requested the extradition of Egner, 88, who lives in a retirement community outside of Seattle, Wash.
“The accusations brought against Egner are so horrendous that no further time must be wasted," Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said Tuesday in a statement. "Not only the Jewish community in Serbia, but Jews worldwide expect Nazi war criminals to be tried and brought to justice, irrespective of their age. These people may be frail, but so are many Holocaust survivors. Justice done belatedly is still better than justice not done at all.”
Egner, a Yugoslavia native, is accused of joining in April 1941 the Nazi-controlled Security Police and Security Service in German-occupied Belgrade, a Nazi mobile killing unit that participated in the mass murder of more than 17,000 Serbian civilians during World War II.
Egner came to the United States in 1960 and became a citizen six years later.
The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit in 2008 attempting to strip Egner of his citizenship, saying he lied about his Nazi past on his citizenship application.
Egner has admitted volunteering to serve in the Security Police and Security Service, as well as guarding prisoners as they were being transferred to concentration camps. He also admitted serving as an interpreter during interrogations of political prisoners, which sometimes involved severe torture. Prisoners often were executed following their interrogations.