THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Wiesenthal Center presses
call for Rauff investigation
New York (JTA) — The
Born in Kothen, Ger-
Simon Wiesenthal Center many on June 19, 1906,
said that it will continue to Rauff joined Hitler's Nazi
press the Vatican to conduct police at the age of 31. He
an investigation into moved up to the rank of col-
church-related activities in onel in the SS and later
y involving Walter served in Tunisia and Italy
aff, the Nazi War crimi- before being arrested in
nal and inventor of the Milan where he was the
mobile gas vans, despite his police chief in the war's last
death in Chile this week at stages.
the age of 77.
He was sent to the Rimini
"It does not put the mat- detention center, but soon
ter to rest," said Gerald escaped and at the end of
Margolis, director of the Los 1946 went to Naples. In tes-
Angeles-based Wiesenthal timony before the Chilean
Center. He said the center Supreme Court, Rauff said
will continue to urge Pope he was aided in Italy after
John Paul II to open Vati- his escape from Rimini by a
can archives and investi- Catholic priest and shel-
gate what the center alleges tered in "convents of the
was church aid to Rauff Holy See" for some 18
after the war and help for months.
him in fleeing Europe to
He was reunited with his
safe haven in South
family and travelled to
Syria, then to Ecuador in
The center last week re- 1949 and finally to Chile
leased 43 pages of docu- where he lived since 1958.
ments, some of them prey- He maintained his Ger-
iously classified by U.S._
citizenship. In 1963,
government intelligencethe Chilean Supreme Court,
agencies, which provide rejected a request for his ex-
additional information tradition from West Ger-
linking Rauff to important many on the basis that
figures in the Catholic Chile's 15-year statue of
Church in Italy during and limitations had expired.
after the war. Rauff told the
Rauff, who suffered from
Chilean Supreme Court in
1962 that he was provided lung cancer in recent years,
aid and shelter by the had lived primarily in San-
tiago and was rarely seen in
In Israel, the reaction to p.
Rauffs death was a sense of Nazi-hunter
frustration that war crimi- Klarsfeld was arrested out-
nals continue to remain free side Rauffs home in San-
cr during a demonstra-
without being brought to tiago
justice for their war crimes. tion urging the Chilean
"It is a pity that this man government to extradite
will not be brought to jus- Rauff to West Germany. Is-
tice," said Avi Pasner, rael
. also sought his extradi-
spokesman for premier Yit- ton.
But despite the interna-
"It is shameful. We hope tional efforts to have Rauff
that other war criminals brought to justice, Chile
who are still hiding will not President Augusto Pinochet
escape their punishment." would not act on the re-
quests. He-maintained in an
Gideon Hausner, chair- interview last March that
man -of Yad Vashem and "the highest court in the
prosecutor ofNazi war trim- land decided Rauff could
inal Adolph Eichmann at stay." While he said he re-
his 1961 trial, expressed gretted Rauffs actions dur-
simil ar frustration that ing the war, Pinochet said,
Rauff never was brought to "But that was a long time
justice. He said Rauff was ago. I can't do anything
one of the privileged war about it once the courts
criminals to have died in his have decided."
own bed, escaping justice for
Meanwhile, in a Wash-
many years. ington ceremony this week,
a uff is held responsible the U.S. turned over six files
the death of an esti- on Nazi mass murderers to
mated 200,000 Jews in Israel for inclusion in Yad
Europe who were killed in Vashem, the Holocaust
the mobile gas vans he de- memorial in Jerusalem.
signed which channeled
The files were from the
exhaust fumes back into the
air-tight vehicles. Known U.S. Justice Department's
as "black ravens," the vans Office of Special Investiga-
were sometimes disguised tions (OSI). Attending the
ceremony in the office of At-
as Red Cross vehicles.
torney General William
They were used primarily French Smith were Israeli
in the early stages of the Ambassador Meir Rosenne;
Holocaust before the con- Neal Sher, director of the
struction of Auschwitz and OSI; and Mark Talisman,
other death camps which vice chairman of the U.S.
carried out Hitler's final Holocaust Memorial Coun-
solution on a larger scale.
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