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How I caught & jailed wicked Nazis who murdered Jews, tortured them with blowtorches & showed no remorse for Holocaust


WHEN Dinko Sakic was found guilty of murdering over 2,000 innocent civilians in a Nazi death camp, he clapped his hands and laughed.

The commandant of the Jasenovac concentration camp – dubbed the “Auschwitz of the Balkans” – smiled as survivors at his trial recalled the atrocities he inflicted on the Jewish, Serbian and gypsy inmates.

Mass murderer Dinko Sakic laughed when he was found guilty of crimes against humanity

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Mass murderer Dinko Sakic laughed when he was found guilty of crimes against humanityCredit: AP:Associated Press
Efraim Zuroff has spent over forty years as a Nazi hunter

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Efraim Zuroff has spent over forty years as a Nazi hunterCredit: Alamy

Known for starving, hanging and even torturing inmates with a blowtorch, Sakic arrived at the concentration camp in 1941 carrying a whip and a submachine gun.

Years later, he would gladly tell journalists for Croatian paper Magazin: “I’d do it all again. I sleep like a baby.”

On October 4, 1998, Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff watched in the Zagreb courtroom as 77-year-old Sakic was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 20 years in a Croatian prison.

Dr Zuroff had tracked down Sakic at his home in Argentina – where he lived freely for 50 years – and helped facilitate his extradition to Croatia to face trial.

He recalls: “All hell broke loose when the judge announced the maximum sentence.

“It was absolutely crazy, half the people in the room were in favour of Sakic and half were against him.

“On one of the days of the trail, some neo-Nazis gave Dinko Sakic the seig heil.

“Sakic even asked to be buried in his Ustase [fascist] uniform.” 

‘Old age should not protect someone’

For 40 years Dr Zuroff, 73, has worked tirelessly to bring some of World War II’s most sadistic Nazis to justice. 

Throughout his career he has helped track down 3,000 Nazi war criminals involved in the killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust

In his role as Chief Nazi Hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Dr Zuroff has personally been involved in bringing legal measures against over 40 suspected war criminals. 

But over the last four decades, one thing has never changed.

He tells The Sun: “Of the people I was very involved with finding and trying to bring to justice, not a single one of them ever expressed any regret or remorse. Never. Not once.” 

Now, 76 years after the end of the war, time is running out to find the last remaining criminals. 

In what are widely seen as some of the world’s last criminal trials related to WW2 atrocities, two former Nazis are currently standing trial in Germany for “knowingly and willingly” assisting the murder of Jews.

At 100 years old, SS guard Josef S is being prosecuted in Germany for assisting in the murder of 3,518 prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945.

And – after dramatically fleeing her care home on the first day of her trial – 96-year-old former Nazi secretary Irmgard Furchner is accused of complicity in the murder of over 11,000 people in the Stuthoff concentration camp. 

Both the suspects appeared in court this month, masked and frail, to plead not guilty to the charges laid against them.

While the defendants look elderly and harmless, Dr Zuroff says old age is no reason to drop charges against alleged war criminals.

Irmgard Furchner is on trial for complicity in the murder of over 11,000 Jews

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Irmgard Furchner is on trial for complicity in the murder of over 11,000 JewsCredit: Reuters
Josef S worked as an SS guard at Sachenshausen camp where at least 30,000 prisoners were killed

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Josef S worked as an SS guard at Sachenshausen camp where at least 30,000 prisoners were killedCredit: AFP

He says: “The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers. Old age should not protect someone.

“When you look at a person like this, you see someone usually trying to look as frail and as sick as possible.

“But we’re not prosecuting him for an offence he did yesterday or the day before. 

“He’s being prosecuted for an offence he committed when he was at the height of his physical powers and energy. 

“He devoted all his energy to the mass murder of innocent men, women and children. Some of whom were older than he is today. 

“This is what we owe the victims. Innocent men, women and children, who were murdered simply because they were categorised as enemies of the Reich.”

I’ll be sad when the last Nazi dies

Dr Efraim Zuroff

Dr Zuroff says countries are often reluctant to bring the suspected criminals to trial. 

Explaining why, he says: “Compare a 90-year-old Nazi with a serial killer. 

“A serial killer on the loose in any normal country, the police will be out there looking for them seriously, because the working assumption is that the serial killer will continue looking for people until they’re incarcerated and out of commission. 

“But what are the chances of a 90-year-old war criminal committing any crimes? It’s basically zero. It’s never happened. They know all they have to do is wait for them to die.”

Dr Zuroff’s efforts are currently focussed on tracking down a Lithuanian woman who was seen smashing the heads of Jewish babies with a boulder in a provincial town in the summer of 1941. 

Through meticulous research, he found a survivor’s eyewitness account.

He says: “The testimony was from a woman in a small town in central Lithuania who was able to escape the mass murder of the Jews. 

“She was hiding in a pile of hay relatively close to the pit where they were being murdered in the summer of 1941. 

“She wrote in her testimony, which she signed and was taken on April 4, 1945, that ‘I saw two women murdering Jewish babies by smashing their heads with a huge boulder or smashing their heads together’.”

The survivor named the murderer by her last name, which in Lithuanian indicated she was unmarried, and identified her as a student at the time of the killings. 

After meticulously researching the student’s name through the records of the international tracing service, Dr Zuroff believes the suspect, now likely 98, could still be alive in an English-speaking country. 

If you murder Jewish children with a rock 80 years ago, we’ll do everything to find you and bring you to justice

Dr Efraim Zuroff

While Covid travelling restrictions have prevented Dr Zuroff collecting the final pieces of evidence needed to prove the woman’s identity, he has no intention of giving up. 

He says: “If we catch her, I can’t say I’m sure something’s going to happen with her. 

“But just think of the message. If you murder Jewish children with a rock 80 years ago, we’ll do everything to find you and bring you to justice.

“This is what a liberal democracy is about.”

For Dr Zuroff, that message is as vital as ever, especially given the scourge of modern day terrorists. 

He says: “Let’s think about extremists sitting in Europe trying to decide whether or not to join Isis. 

“These trials send a very important message that if you commit these crimes, even many years later, you can be held accountable.”

As the last survivors of the Holocaust pass away, Dr Zuroff believes education will play an even more important role in the future.

Through his work at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Dr Zuroff focusses on the problem of Holocaust distortion – those who seek to play down the full involvement of both civilians and Nazis in the mass murder of Jews across Europe.

The involvement of civilians in the murder of jews was particularly widespread in Eastern Europe. 

Dr Zuroff explains: “Lithuania, for example, had 220,000 Jews who lived under the Nazi occupation, and 212,000 were murdered. 

It’s very frustrating. The trials and tribulations of Nazi hunting. I always say I’m the only Jew who prays for the good health of the Nazis

Dr Efraim Zuroff

“There were less than 1,000 Germans in Lithuania during the Holocaust. Of those 212,000, 90 per cent were murdered by shooting, not in gas chambers.

“How is such a thing possible if there were so few Germans in Lithuania? The answer is obvious, it’s a massive zealous collaboration by the Lithuanians.”

Despite his advancing years, Dr Zuroff shows no signs of letting up. 

He admits: “I’ll be sad when the last Nazi dies, so long as I can bring them to justice. 

“I lost a case of someone who ran away from Canada after being stripped of his Canadian citizenship – László Csatáry.

“He was a notorious sadist and used to walk around with a whip in the Kassa ghetto in Hungarian-occupied Slovakia.

“He used to beat young children who would be forced to dig ditches with their hands. In 1944, he helped deport 15,000 Jews to Auschwitz.” 

In 2012, working with Sun reporters, Dr Zuroff tracked down the 98-year-old in Hungary.

Found in an apartment in Budapest in 2012, Csatáry was indicted days later and charged by Hungarian officials, but he died one week before his trial began. 

Dr Zuroff says: “It’s very frustrating. The trials and tribulations of Nazi hunting.

“I always say I’m the only Jew who prays for the good health of the Nazis.” 

Together with The Sun, Dr Zuroff helped track down wanted war criminal László Csatáry

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Together with The Sun, Dr Zuroff helped track down wanted war criminal László CsatáryCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Dinko Sakic with his wife Nada in 1945

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Dinko Sakic with his wife Nada in 1945Credit: Reuters
Irmgard Furchner was a secretary at the Stuthoff concentration camp

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Irmgard Furchner was a secretary at the Stuthoff concentration campCredit: Alamy
The execution of the SS overseers of the Stutthof concentration camp in 1946

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The execution of the SS overseers of the Stutthof concentration camp in 1946Credit: Alamy
The Kaunas Fortress in Lithaunia stands as a memorial to all those killed by Nazis in the war

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The Kaunas Fortress in Lithaunia stands as a memorial to all those killed by Nazis in the warCredit: Alamy
Josef Lewkowicz survived five holocaust concentration camps before becoming a Nazi hunter – and even saved Oskar Schindler





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