AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A Dutch tribunal will decide whether to release the names of Holocaust-era war criminals whose identity is currently shielded by privacy laws.
Researchers and Nazi hunters say it may be the last chance to identify and punish war criminals who may still be alive.
The ruling, expected next week in the Dutch capital, follows a petition filed earlier this month by a Dutch journalist and activists with the Research War Crimes association, the Het Parool daily reported last week.
The petition by the association and journalist Arnold Karskens concerns files on war criminals that are inaccessible to the public at the National Archives of the Netherlands. The war criminals’ names are in a separate archive known as CABR, the Dutch-language initials of the words Central Archive for Extraordinary Jurisprudence.
In the petition, Karskens cited that the fact that some of the war criminals listed, including concentration camp guards, may still be alive. “When they’re all dead, there’s no more use” in opening the archives, he told Het Parool.
The petition follows a decade-long effort by Karskens to gain access to the archive, the paper reported.
Thousands of SS soldiers went unpunished in the Netherlands.
Efraim Zuroff, a hunter of Nazis for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who submitted an expert’s opinion to the petition supporting the data’s release, said it was “maybe the last opportunity to expose” war criminals living in the Netherlands today who were involved in the Holocaust.