Documentary film unveils investigation that tracked down
Nazi War criminals who fled to island country, evading
trial. Nazi cop: 'Jews screamed like geese while shot'
A documentary that aired in New Zealand on Friday featured a first look at an
investigation that tracked Nazi war criminals who fled
to New Zealand after World War II and evaded prosecution.
Simon Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi hunter, Dr. Efraim
Zuroff, told Ynet he became involved with the film after
the director, John Keir, a non-Jewish New Zealander contacted
him a few years ago.
One of the Nazis interviewed in the film is Jonas Pukas, a Lithuanian residing
in Auckland since 1950. During his interrogation by the
New Zealand police in 1992, when he was 78, he recalled
the slaughtering of Jews.
like geese, you understand. They made bird noises, cries
or shrieks," he said with a smile on his face. "After being shot they flew up in the air."
Pukas was a member of the infamous 12th Lithuanian Police
Battalion known for slaughtering thousands of Jews
during the Holocaust. Despite of his gruesome testimony,
Pukas denies partaking in the execution of Jews. "I
only heard them die, I didn't see it happen," he claimed. Pukas died in 1994, aged 80.
Pukas' investigation was conducted by detective Wayne
Stringer from the New Zealand police. Stringer looked
into a list of 47 potential suspects who may have committed
war crimes and immigrated to New Zealand after the
war. The list was given to the New Zealand government
by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an institution that
set out to protect the Jews.
According to Stringer, a large
number of Nazi war criminals have lived in New Zealand
without standing trial for their crimes.
Zuroff aid New Zealand failed
to take legal action against residents who were suspected
of being Nazi criminals. Unlike Australia, Canada, the
United Kingdom and the US, which faced the same problem,
New Zealand didn't create laws to deal with war criminals
who fled there after the fall of the Communist Bloc.
"This sends out
the worst possible message: 'No matter what you once
did. You came here, you've been law abiding citizens,
so you don't have to stand trial,'" Zuroff said.
Zuroff added that John Keir, a non Jewish producer-director
from New Zeland began to investigate the subject a
few years back. "He
filmed me about a year and a half ago," Zurof said. "But the matter is history since all the suspects have died or weren't found in
New Zealand. Currently there are no suspects living
in New Zealand, but the government's stance on the
issue was outrageous. That's why the movie is still