TORONTO (JTA) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s latest list of the world’s 10 most-wanted Nazi war criminals contains three new names, all with Canadian connections, and the center claims to have new evidence against one of them.
The new names names contained in the SWC’s "Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals" replace three alleged Nazi war criminals who died over the past year. The report was released Wednesday.
Topping the SWC’s list of suspected former Nazis who are still alive and have evaded prosecution is Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, who allegedly helped organize the deportation to Auschwitz of approximately 15,700 Jews in 1944.
He escaped to Canada after World War II. He was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in 1997 and voluntarily left the country. It is believed he now lives in Hungary.
At the no. 4 spot this year is Vladimir Katriuk, said to have commanded a Ukrainian army unit that committed mass murder of Jews and civilians in Belarus.
Katriuk, now 91, also escaped to Canada after World War II and was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in 1999. In 2007, his citizenship was reinstated, a decision upheld by a court in 2010.
The SWC says "new research" by a German historian has revealed Katriuk’s "active role in the mass murder of the residents of the village of Khatyn, Belarus," and "provides a firm basis to overturn the decision not to strip Katriuk of his Canadian citizenship."
If new research provides insights into the war-time activities of Katriuk, "we encourage the researchers to provide that information to the war crimes unit of the Department of Justice so that the status of the dossier can be re-evaluated," said Len Rudner of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
In the no. 10 position this year is Helmut Oberlander, believed to have served with an Einsatzkommando unit in Ukraine and Crimea that murdered more than 23,000 people, mostly Jews.
Oberlander fled after the war to Canada and was stripped of his citizenship in 2001. In 2004, his citizenship was restored but it was revoked a second time in 2007, a decision that was overturned by a court two years later. The case is still pending.
The SWC has assigned Canada a failing grade for its prosecution of suspected Nazi war criminals.