Accountability for war criminals and their enablers never ends

Bizar Male

On this Yom HaShoah, the Hebrew calendar anniversary of the heroic but doomed 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Israelis and Jews honor the martyrdom of 6 million murdered by the Nazis.

As the number of aged survivors from that war of annihilation diminishes every day, the imperative of memory grows. It is our duty to never forget the victims, perpetrators and enablers, then and now, to this monstrous crime against humanity. Especially not when people dream up new anti-Semitic conspiracy theories daily and allegedly proud Americans don “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirts.

President’s Biden’s Yom HaShoah proclamation, which wisely reflects Jewish sensibilities in omitting the customary phrase “in the year of our Lord,” decries silence and indifference.

It was Yom HaShoah four years ago when high school boys from Rambam Mesivta yeshiva protesting Queens Nazi death camp guard Jakiw Palij alerted us of the State Department’s refusal to expel him after the Department of Justice had prevailed in federal court. We pushed every New York member of Congress to complain, which prompted President Trump to direct his ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell, to successfully deport Palij. It was the first time in memory that State did the right thing.

But many other Nazis caught hiding here by DOJ were allowed to die in bed because State did nothing. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, stepson of a survivor, must open up the sealed files. Cherrie Daniels, State’s Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, must push to make it happen.

Congress, meaning Greg Meeks, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Bob Menendez, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, must force out the truth.

Up north, the Canadian government has been trying to expel Einsatzgruppe death squad man Helmut Oberlander for more than a quarter century, but the very wealthy Nazi is having lawyers stall and stall. If the duplicitous Germans just requested his extradition, Oberlander would be gone on the next plane.

We must not only say “never forget.” We must act as though we have never forgotten.

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