Efraim Zuroff

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Efraim Zuroff (2007)

Efraim Zuroff (born August 5, 1948 in New York ) is an Israeli historian of American descent. He is the director of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center . Through his initiatives to bring suspected criminals of National Socialism to trial , he became known as "The Last Nazi Hunter". He found the couple Dinko and Nada Šakić as well as Erna Wallisch , among others .


Zuroff grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family in the New York borough of Brooklyn . His father was a rabbi and his mother was the director of the student union at Yeshiva University . In 1967, the Six Day War triggered Zuroff's increased preoccupation with his Jewish identity and the history of the Holocaust . He began studying history at Yeshiva University. After completing his bachelor's degree, he moved to Israel in 1970, where he completed a master's degree in Holocaust research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem .

In 1978 he met Simon Wiesenthal , whom he referred to as his mentor, and became director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in Los Angeles. As a researcher with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) of the US Department of Justice , he went back to Israel in 1980, where he prepared criminal proceedings against Nazi war criminals who lived in the United States. Since 1986 he has been working for the Simon Wiesenthal Center again. He heads the SWC's Jerusalem office and coordinates the prosecution of Nazi war crimes worldwide. Among other things, this earned him the name “ The Last Nazi Hunter ”.

In 1998 he was able to find Dinko Šakić , who was guilty of war crimes during the Second World War and was a guard in the Jasenovac concentration camp in the " Independent State of Croatia " (NDH), as well as his wife Nada Šakić , a half-sister of Vjekoslav Luburić and a guard in the Stara concentration camp Gradiška , a subcamp of Jasenovac. She had previously lived undisturbed in South America for more than 50 years . Dinko Šakić was extradited from Argentina to Croatia in 1998 at the age of 76 and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1999, while Nada Šakić was released for lack of evidence. The incriminating documents from the Simon Wiesenthal Center ultimately led to the couple's extradition. According to the judicial authorities in Zagreb, she suffered from Parkinson's disease, and the prosecution said there was insufficient evidence to support charges. Efraim Zuroff protested sharply against the dismissal. Prior to this, he handed over documents to the Croatian judicial authorities that Nada Šakić believed would be brought to light.

Zuroff in his office (2012)

Since 2001 he has published an annual “Status Report” in which he reports on his investigations and the charges against criminal National Socialists . In 2002, he launched Operation Last Chance , which provides financial rewards for those who provide pertinent information and advice that will help convict former Nazi criminals. In January 2008, the reward for hints was increased from $ 10,000 to $ 25,000. Since the beginning of 2008 Efraim Zuroff tried to bring the former concentration camp guard Erna Wallisch to trial. On February 16, 2008, however, Wallisch died at the age of 86, whereupon the new investigations by the Austrian public prosecutor's office “because of death” were stopped.

The Israeli documentary Tzaiad Ha'Natzim Ha'Acharon (English: The Last Nazi Hunter ) was made in 2012 about Zuroff's work and directed by Nitza Gonen .

Efraim Zuroff is also committed against neo-fascism. On February 16, 2013, on the occasion of Lithuania's Independence Day , he and Dovid Katz protested against a march of ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis. A week later, he had a heart attack . On March 16, 2014 Zuroff took part in the protests against the march in honor of the Latvian legionaries in Riga.

Zuroff lives with his wife Elisheva in the settlement of Efrat in the West Bank . They have four children and six grandchildren.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Simon Wiesenthal Center . Operation: Last Chance. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  2. a b c d Simon Round: Interview: Efraim Zuroff. In: The JC , February 4, 2010.
  3. Time is short in the last Nazi hunter's quest for justice. In: The Independent , May 10, 2011.
  4. ^ New York Times : War Crimes Horrors Revive As Croat Faces Possible Trial
  5. Film Tzaiad Ha'Natzim Ha'Acharon in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  6. Eva-Elisabeth Fischer: The tears of the Nazi hunter. Süddeutsche.de, April 30, 2015, accessed April 30, 2015 .
  7. Louis Lewitan: That was my salvation - Profession: Nazi hunter. In: Zeit-Magazin , No. 5/2014, January 23, 2014.
  8. ^ Efraim Zuroff on March 16, 2014 in Riga