- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (November 10, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0230617301
- ISBN-13: 978-0230617308
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,500,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Operation Last Chance: One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice 1st Edition
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Historian Zuroff began a career of Holocaust study in the archives of Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial, continued it as a researcher for the U.S. Department of Justice, and, at present, represents the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Evolving from a scholar to a detective, Zuroff underscores the documentary evidence needed to open a case and explains his methods for bringing fugitive war criminals from World War II to justice. Once he identifies an individual, and ascertains that he or she is living, Zuroff alerts, via publicity or direct communication, the authorities of the country that harbors the person. Describing his pursuit of about two dozen individuals, Zuroff outlines a range of problems that may hamper successful prosecution, from legal technicalities to prosaic disbelief that the senior citizen next door was a mass murderer of Jews to outright protection of alleged killers. Some convictions have resulted from Zuroff’s efforts, and some of his subjects will apparently never face the music, but all of his readers will better understand the process of Nazi-hunting. --Gilbert Taylor
“A grim tale of one man's dedication to a legal and moral cause and a shocking expos of the widespread indifference and even antagonism that he has encountered.....A sobering, valuable resource for future historians.” ―Kirkus
“It is never too late to bring those responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust to justice. Operation Last Chance: One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice recounts how, with tireless energy, dedication and passion Efraim Zuroff did just that. His is an essential story that demonstrates the good an individual can achieve when committed to justice and the truth.” ―Abe Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League and author of Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism
“Written like a detective story, Operation Last Chance deals with fundamental issues of human justice under the German occupation, describing the author's efforts to uncover hidden wartime criminals. Zuroff shares his successes and failures in tracking down Nazi murderers. As readers, we become involved in his relentless pursuits. This book should attract the interest of wide and varied audiences.” ―Nechama Tec, Holocaust Scholar & Author of Defiance: The Bielski Partisans
“Efraim Zuroff is the spiritual heir to Simon Wiesenthal. Courageous and careful, he has pursued Nazi war criminals to the end of the earth, to their dying day – always for the sake of justice, always in the name of memory. A historian, Zuroff writes like a novelist, but with a fidelity to truth that makes for brisk and compelling reading. He writes with humility and gratitude but also with admirable moral toughness -- Zuroff's assessment is unfailingly insightful and often haunting.” ―Michael Berenbaum, Director, Sigi Ziering Institute and Professor of Jewish Studies, American Jewish University
“Zuroff gives us an understated yet gripping narrative of a life dedicated to justice--that the perpetrators and collaborators of the most total crime in human history not live on comfortably and free....An unbelievable book and a must-read.” ―Rabbi Irving Greenberg, Founding President, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and Jewish Life Network, Chairman Emeritus, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
“A fascinating book written from the heart. Zuroff knows what he is writing about. He has researched his topic very carefully, and is courageous in fighting old murderers. Whether these people get prison sentences or not, does not matter. Zuroff is doing his best, and the work he does will leave a permanent mark.” ―Yehuda Bauer, academic head of the International Task Force on Holocaust Education
“At a time when memory is being increasingly twisted and challenged, Zuroff has written a book about modern history's greatest crime and how its lessons will influence the world's behavior.” ―Barry Rubin, Director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center of the Interdisciplinary Center on Herzliya, Israel, and author of The Truth About Syria
“Zuroff's log is an important record of free Nazis, and their atrocious crimes, which may yet spur their neighbors to action.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Zuroff's accessible book is an extraordinary read, providing a wealth of information about the role of collaborationist regimes in helping the Nazis and the degree to which most of the leaders of those units tasked with mass-murder went free in the West. Zuroff also shows how some of these men have even remained heroes in their home countries because they are perceived as having fought communism, rather than having been vicious Nazis.” ―Seth Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post
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At least one other example is included in this book while the author was attempting to get Croation war criminals prosecuted. I wont reveal it because I dont want to spoil it.
Very often I found the barriers that were thrown up in his way infuriating and sometimes an indictment of the human capability to rationalize the horrors of the Holocaust away by saying things like "Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians." or "Why are you digging things up?" Human beings are not rational creatures very often when it comes to such things. The author himself has been blamed for causing the deaths of said war criminals by trying to extradite them.
Many of the governments mentioned in this book dragged their feet as much as possible when it came to extradition because the politicians and the judges didnt want to be seen as persecuting the elderly living in their country. Also many probably didn't want to confront the truth that a monster had been living among them either
Living in Ohio we had John Demanjuk living among us as a factory worker after the war and he is believed by many to be Ivan The Terrible. Unfortunately, he also has escape justice as no country wants to take him. I do not know if he is still alive.
Unfortunately few of the people mentioned were ever punished and many died before their cases went to trial. However, the book states it is a necessary fight that is needed to counter the denialism of many peoples around Europe who believe their fellow countrymen could never do a thing like that.
I did find some of the language somewhat stilted at the beginning and full of dates and legalese at times. However, I still think this book is a good read.