Nazi hunter to probe Norway for war crimes

The Local Norway
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Nazi hunter to probe Norway for war crimes

The world's leading Nazi hunter is planning to come to Norway for up to three months to investigate Norwegians who may have committed war crimes as part of the Waffen SS's Wiking division


Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, wants to meet justice minister Anders Anundsen to lobby for a commission to investigate the elite international Panzer division. 
"I want to ask the government to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate what happened in the Wiking division and what role Norwegians played in war crimes committed during the Second World War," Zuroff told Norway's NRK news channel. 
Zuroff planned to fly to Norway on Wednesday but cancelled his journey after misunderstandings with Norway's justice ministry. He now intends to come in March or April next year. 
A former Wiking soldier, Olav Tuff, told NRK earlier this year that he had witnessed Norwegian soldiers committing war crimes against Jews and other civilians when he was serving on the Eastern Front in 1941. 
More recently, the book "Unforgiven Norwegians", by the journalist Eirik Veum has highlighted Norwegian involvement in war-time atrocities. 
Zuroff intends to spend up to four months in Norway researching  the country's involvement. 
He also wants to push for an amendment to Norwegian law to end the limitation on prosecution for past war crimes, which would make it impossible to jail perpetrators of crimes from the 1940s. 
Several hundred Norwegians served in the Waffen SS during the Second World War, fighting under German officers alongside Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Dutch and Belgian volunteers. 
Zuroff said that a thorough investigation was important on "a moral and historical level", as well as simply being a way to identify those guilty of war crimes
"It is important that what happened there is actually known in Norway, because there were many who served in the Wiking division," he said. "This should be taught in Norwegian schools." 
Zuroff believes the commission should look at war crimes on the Eastern Front, crimes against Norwegian Jews who were sent to concentration camps, and conditions in Norwegian prisoner camps that were run by Norwegians and Norwegian guards. 
Veum believes that several hundred Norwegians who fought on the German side in the Second World War are still alive today. 


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