Famed Nazi Hunter Goes After SS Guard, 90

He wants Denmark to investigate Helmuth Leif Rasmussen
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2015 10:00 AM CDT
Famed Nazi Hunter Goes After SS Guard, 90
Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff talks to the media outside a Copenhagen Police Station in Copenhagen, Denmark, Tuesday, July 21, 2015.   (Anthon Unger/POLFOTO via AP)

A leading Nazi hunter has asked Denmark to investigate a 90-year-old Dane suspected of being involved in the mass murder of Jews in Belarus during World War II. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center filed the request yesterday with the Copenhagen police after the Justice Ministry last year turned down a similar request saying it was not their matter. Zuroff says they have a strong case against Helmuth Leif Rasmussen because of documents found by Danish historians published in a book last year, and that they were looking at other cases. The book, En skole i vold (A Book of Violence), claims that 1,400 Jews died in Belarus when Rasmussen, now known by the name Rasboel, was in the "inner circle" of the Bobruisk camp run by the SS.

"Some of these people were involved in terrible crimes," Zuroff says. "Now we're looking for additional Danish Waffen SS who served in this camp. This might only be the tip of the iceberg." Some 6,000 Danish volunteers joined the SS during World War II after the German army invaded the country in 1940. Prosecutors say they will review the material before deciding if they need further information. Rasboel, who lives in Copenhagen, has acknowledged in interviews that he had been a guard and a member of the SS, but has denied involvement in killings. One of the authors of the book, Dennis Larsen, who has interviewed Rasboel twice, says he admitted seeing Jews "being killed and thrown into mass graves." "But he always said he was a bystander," Larsen says. "He said he was just a guard, nothing else." (Read more Denmark stories.)

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