OCCUPATION: NAZI HUNTER by Efraim Zuroff

OCCUPATION: NAZI HUNTER

The Continuing Search for Perpetrators of the Holocaust
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The murderers are still among us, but Zuroff, coordinator of Nazi war crimes research for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and others like him continue to hunt them; retelling the story of this quest ought to be more exciting. Fifty years after the Holocaust, hundreds, perhaps thousands of the men who committed mass murder are now living peacefully in the United States, England, Canada, and other democracies, writes Zuroff, ``and almost nothing was done to bring them to justice'' until about 15 years ago, when pressure by journalists and former congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman led to the creation of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI). Zuroff traces his own path from grad student at Hebrew University to staff member at the Wiesenthal Center to Israeli point man for OSI, then back to the Center. He walks readers through the mechanics of three investigations in order to give some of the flavor of the Nazi war crimes researcher's tedious day-to-day work. This is not the cloak- and-dagger stuff of The Odessa File, but grinding paper-shuffling reminiscent of investigative reporting or academic research. By one estimate, some 10,000 war criminals were admitted to the US alone, mostly East Europeans who collaborated with the Nazis at the local level but whose role in the Holocaust is incontrovertible and underreported. Zuroff insistently hammers at the facts of local participation in mass murder and takes readers through cases in several countries in excruciating detail. Regrettably, the book reads like a series of essays, with a great deal of repetition and too much time spent on the minutiae of political wrangling in courts and with unresponsive governments. As a result, Occupation: Nazi-Hunter is sadly ineffective in presenting its brief for the continued prosecution of these war criminals. Despite compelling material, Zuroff's sludgily bureaucratic- academic prose style manages to stifle much of this important book's impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1994
ISBN: 0-88125-489-4
Page count: 385pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994




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