Research team uncovers Nazi horrors in Ukraine
21 September 2007, Ludwigsburg, Germany (dpa) - A team of French researchers has uncovered more than 2,500 sites in Ukraine where executions were carried out under the German World War II occupation, according to a report released Thursday.
21 September 2007
Ludwigsburg, Germany (dpa) - A team of French researchers has uncovered more than 2,500 sites in Ukraine where executions were carried out under the German World War II occupation, according to a report released Thursday.
The team has researched 700 sites where executions by shooting took place, with the number of victims ranging from five to 100,000.
The total killed - many of them Jews - remains unknown. According to estimates, around 1.5 million Jews were murdered in Ukraine during the German occupation.
Seven years ago, a research team under the French priest Patrick Debois, whose grandfather died as a prisoner-of-war in Ukraine, began probing the death sites.
They work by interviewing eyewitnesses, as well as by evaluating archaeological and forensic evidence. The work is 60-per-cent funded by the French Shoah Foundation.
At the beginning of the month, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre criticized Germany for not doing enough to apprehend war criminals.
Kurt Schrimm, who heads the special prosecutions office in Ludwigsburg in south-western Germany, said the slowing pace was related to the scarcity of legally acceptable evidence 62 years after the end of World War II.
"That evidence exists only in cases that are few and far between," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in an interview. Often important documents were missing or witnesses had died of old age.
"We are doing as much as we can," said Schrimm, adding that it was unfair to compare his work to that of the US Office of Special Investigations which unmasks European immigrants suspected of crimes during World War II.
The Wiesenthal centre, founded in 1977 and named after the late "Nazi hunter" Simon Wiesenthal, is based in Los Angeles.
Subject: German news