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Operation Last Chance: One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0230617308
ISBN-10: 0230617301
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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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Product Details

  • 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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,578,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Seymour Adler on December 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Many of us felt in the decades after World War II that the nations of the world, and particularly the democracies, would maintain a commitment to fight Nazi ideology, including antisemitism, and to bring the perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice. Dr. Zuroff's book is infused with his passionate pursuit of justice. However, the book is also infused with a palpable sense of frustration at the indifference and, in many cases, the active opposition to the prosecution of known mass murderers in both Western democracies and emerging Eastern European democracies. This book tells many gripping stories, each different and enlightening. There are heroes in this story but there are also many, many villians, governement officials over the past 25 years who simply lacked the will to take action. The book is informative and well-researched without bogging the reader down in inordinate detail on each case. It is as much a trip of the heart as of the mind. When I finished the book I was filled with conflicting emotions: admiration for Dr. Zuroff and his team for their lonely but tenacious efforts, pride in the role that the US governement has played in bringing these murderers to justice within the bounds of our system of law, and angry at the many democracies around the world for whom the murder of 6 million is, in practical terms, a matter of little importance.
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Format: Hardcover
The idea of sadistic mass murderers living happily ever makes our blood boil. Efraim Zuroff has dedicated most of his life to tracking down the perpetrators of the Holocaust to bring them to justice. Operation Last Chance shares his experience, with its high points and its many disappointments. The greatest challenge must be to continue the sacred quest, knowing that time isn't on his side. Zuroff's knowledge of the Holocaust is encyclopedic and he brings the reader to unknown landscapes like Croatia and Estonia. His search is aided by good people who are nauseated by the actions of the Nazis and by evil people whose boasting of past deeds sometimes brings their downfall.
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Format: Hardcover
A MUST read -- enthralling and insightful. Anyone who is interested in some of the most important questions which arise in the aftermath of the Holocaust -- who are these people who committed such horrendous crimes, calmly killing hundreds and thousands of other human beings? how do we make sure that these evil criminals are punished? why do some people who did not take part in these awful crimes against humanity protect those who did? what should be done to ensure that all political actors, both states and multi-state organizations, accept upon themselves the responsibility to not allow the victims' posthumous demands for justice go unheard -- should immediately go out and buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Operation Last Chance is a book that every conscientious individual ought to read. In this most engaging read, Efraim Zuroff expertly weaves research, analysis, historical data, and his own personal experiences into a gripping account of Nazi hunting over the past 3 decades. Zuroff's unique ability to tell the stories with passion, clarity, and humor is an outstanding tool to educate young and old about the evil nature of Nazi criminals and their supporters around the world. The book's ability to draw the reader into the drama, frustration and intricacy of Nazi hunting is extraordinary. Above all, this book demonstrates the power of memory and the timeless imperative to educate about the past in order to improve the future.
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Format: Hardcover
Efraim Zuroff's "Operation Last Chance: One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice" is a beautifully written book synthesizing history, autobiography, the thriller of real-life mystery, and a deep quest for justice that makes for a life of unending activism; it is an activism rooted in the deeper understanding that the Holocaust is not only a matter of the past but of the present and future, and the intellectual battles to preserve history and memory are becoming ever more timely and relevant (not less!), as various vested interests commit resources to denial and distortion, even as the last victims, witnesses and perpetrators go the way of the world. Far-flung strands come together seamlessly: a Brooklyn Jewish fellow with Lithuanian Jewish roots who settles in Israel and was inspired by Simon Wiesenthal to a life dedicated to bringing to justice Nazi war criminals who had fled to the far corners of the earth, often to be protected by powerful local forces. This put Zuroff in the remarkable position of becoming the de-facto advocate for millions of murdered people who have no other advocate (all the more so in the 21st century, when the work is so often frustrated by the age or death of the perpetrators and so many take the easy way out and say: "Hey, it's over"). The lone individual who would take this battle for justice on himself has to be not only brave, determined and dauntless (and impervious to constant attack by the many who would prefer uncomfortable things to be forgotten), but he has to be a scholar, diplomat, investigator, lobbyist, media-man, speaker, justice-seeker and history-writer all in one.Read more ›
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