Monday, July 29, 2013

Operation Last Chance: "Late, but not too late"


"Spät, aber nicht zu spät" is the claim of a poster campaign called "Operation Last Chance" which is in these days all over Berlin.

On the striking poster is a black and white photograph of the notorious "Gate of Death" at the Nazis' Birkenau extermination camp with the train tracks leading up to it.

The campaign is launched by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish-Austrian Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter.

Wiesenthal spent all his life after the war to hunt the Nazis and he took part on locate Adolf Eichmann, one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, who was found guilty and executed by hanging in 1962.

After his death in 2005, the Center continues the hunt for suspected Nazi war criminals, but today its primary activities include Holocaust remembrance, education, and fighting antisemitism.

The new campaign is made to bring remaining Nazi war criminals to justice by offering financial rewards for information leading to their arrest and conviction; up to 25,000 euros for valuable information contributing to the punishment of Holocaust perpetrators, under the following conditions:
5000 euros for an indictment;
5000 euros for a conviction
100 euros per day in prison for the first 150 days in jail, up to an additional 15,000 euros.
Maximum: 25.000 €

The idea behind is to bring the remaining Nazis, which are still alive, to jail, before they die.
"I don't imagine 60 people will be brought to justice but every single one is a victory. It may be two or three or five and there is no reason to forego these." - Efraim Zuroff, head of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told Reuters.

It's hard to understand if this campaign arrives too late, if is necessary or not, if it will help the fight against neo-nazi (a too long underestimates problem in Germany). Although for some Germans this topic is still a bit a taboo, it is also understandable how most of the younger Germans would like to mark a line between their history and their future.