Efraim Zoroff

Under Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has redoubled its efforts to find any Nazi war criminals remaining at large. At the top of their list is Aribert Heim.

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The Nazi Hunters

A few of the big fish who escaped Nuremberg were captured later. One of the top leaders of the Nazi party, Adolf ­Eichmann, was kidnapped from his home in Argentina in 1960 by agent­s of the Mossad, the secretive Israeli intelligence service. He was tried and sentenced in 1961 and hanged in 1962 [source: The History Place]. Klaus Barbie, "The Butcher of Lyon," who is said to have enjoyed physically torturing prisoners, including children, was captured in Bolivia in 1983. Barbie, who had worked as an agent for the British and then the Americans following World War II, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 1991 [source: Jewish Virtual Library].

­Now in the 21st century, it's assumed that most of the top officials who evaded justice have died one way or another. After all, a man who was 35 in 1940 would be 103 years old by 2008.

­Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, belie­ves that some war criminals are still alive. The Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to tracking down escaped war criminals and persuading local officials to prosecute or extradite them. Zuroff says he believes that there are "at least dozens" of Nazis still evading capture today [source: Spiegel]. Since time is running out -- many of these lower-level Nazi war criminals have entered their 90s by now -- the Simon­ Wiesenthal Center has launched Operation Last Chance, a final effort to bring as many Nazis to trial as can be found before they die of old age.

With man­y of the rank-and-file members of the Nazi army reaching the last years of their lives, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has launched Operation Last Chance as a final effort at bringing these people to justice. The Center increased its standard $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of war criminals to $25,000, and Central and South American governments that have resisted efforts to capture war criminals in the past are now cooperating [source: Carroll, Goni].

The Center is hoping the push will uncover one Nazi in particular, and Zuroff says that if he can be caught, the last-ditch operation will have been a success [source: Carroll, Goni]. Find out about this war criminal and his atrocities, as well as why he may still be alive, on the next page.