10 most wanted Nazi criminals still at large
Each year since 2001, Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center produces an Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi war criminals which, since at least 2005, includes a list of “most wanted” criminals that had never been convicted.
The 2015 Annual Nazi war criminals report lists ten men:
1. Gerhard Sommer – Germany (Italy)
In July 1933, when he was 12 years old, Sommer became a member of the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth), where he obtained the rank of Jungzugführer in the Deutsche Jungvolk. On 1 September 1939, at age 18, he joined the Nazi Party NSDAP and in October enlisted in the Waffen-SS.
Sommer fought in the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in the Balkans and Ukraine. He was wounded twice and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class. In 1943 Sommer applied for the rank of SS-Reserveführer. After training in Proschnitz, he was appointed an SS-Untersturmführer on January 30, 1944. He served as a Zugführer and later a Kompanieführer in the 7th Kompanie des II. Bataillons/SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 35. On 19 August 1944 he received the Iron Cross 1st class. Near the end of the war, Sommer served in the 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Netherlands.
On 22 June 2005, Sommer and nine other former SS members were convicted by an Italian military court in La Spezia for the “continued murder with special cruelty” of 560 villagers at Sant’Anna di Stazzema. All ten were sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay compensation payments.
Sommer and four of his comrades appealed, but the sentences were confirmed in 2006 by a military court in Rome.
In 2002 investigations against Sommer were initiated in Germany, but no criminal charges have yet been brought. Gabriela Heinecke, a lawyer from Hamburg in charge of the “Nebenklage” of the Italian survivors of the massacre continues to be denied access to the records by the German public prosecution department.
As of May 2006, Sommer was living in a nursing home in Hamburg-Volksdorf, Germany.
2. Vladimir Katriuk – Canada (Belarus)
Update: Vladimir Katriuk died on May 22nd 2015
In 1942 Katriuk joined Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 to fight the Soviet partisans. Katriuk’s Nazi ties were known at the time of the Federal Court of Canada decision, but more details did not emerge until the release in 2008 of KGB interrogation reports at the trial of Grigory Vasiura, one of the battalion officers.
The new KGB documents, yet unseen by the general public, claim that Katriuk was directly involved in the Khatyn massacre. In an articlewritten by Lund University historian Per Anders Rudling, relying on new KGB interrogation reports, wrote that “One witness stated that Volodymyr Katriuk was a particularly active participant in the atrocity: he reportedly lay behind the stationary machine gun, firing rounds on anyone attempting to escape the flames.”
Another Soviet war crimes trial in 1973 heard that Katriuk and two others killed a group of Belarusian loggers earlier on that day, suspecting they were part of a popular uprising. “I saw how Ivankiv was firing with a machine-gun upon the people who were running for cover in the forest, and how Katriuk and Meleshko were shooting the people lying on the road,” the witness said. Katriuk was a member of Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 that helped the Nazis to create “dead zones.” The dead zone policy involved exterminating Soviet partisans who had launched ambushes against Nazi forces.
In August 1944 Katriuk with his entire battalion defected and joined the French Resistance to fight Nazis. Later that year he joined the French Foreign Legion as a private and was one of twenty to twenty-five volunteers who were asked by their French commanders to go to the front to fight the German army. Katriuk was placed in charge of a machine gun and, during the course of his participation, was severely injured.
He spent two and a half months in an American hospital in France. Katriuk later fought with the allies at the Italian front near Monaco until the end of the World War II.
3. Alfred Stark – Germany (Greece)
Murder of Italian prisoners of war in Kefalonia
4. Johann Robert Riss – Germany (Italy)
Murder of civilians near Padule di Fucecchio
5. X – Denmark (Belarus)
Murder of Jews in Bobruisk
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