|06-22-2006, 07:42 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2005
Student Groups And Concerned Citizens Call For Investigation Of Local Nazi
Student Groups and Concerned Citizens Call for Investigation of Local Nazi
by Robert Miller, L'Haim Quarterly
TOWN OF SUGAR CREEK, CITY OF ELKHORN, WI - On Sunday, June 18th, a day when tornadoes struck Wisconsin communities, some three dozen individuals braved the less than ideal conditions to protest against racism, xenophobia and the rewriting of history in the town of Sugar Creek, city of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Waving placards demanding justice and denouncing the slaughter of millions at the hands of the Nazis during the Second World War, protesters urged the Department of Justice to investigate Ted Junker, 87, a self-admitted Nazi Waffen-SS officer residing in Walworth county, Wisconsin.
"If a Waffen-SS soldier slipped through American immigration restrictions and became a US citizen, this raises serious questions," said Jonathan Brostoff, an event organizer and President of Campus Organization for Israel (COFI) at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM). "It is possible that Mr. Junker lied on his immigration papers about his status in the SS, or his conduct during the war. This must be investigated, and that is what we are here to demand – an honest and open investigation by the Justice Department."
The Nazi SS played a key role in brutally implementing Nazi Germany's racial policies of genocide. SS units rounded up Jews, dissidents and "undesirables" and ran the concentration-extermination camps in which millions of Jews, Poles, Roma and Russians died. The Nuremberg Trials declared the entirety of the SS as a criminal organization.
The public rally consisted of several prepared statements, interspersed repeatedly by chants decrying racist Nazi ideology and demanding justice and a "Fight for Truth". In response to Mr. Junker's published denial that innocents were gassed in Nazi extermination camps, the names of several hundred victims were read out loud. In Auschwitz-Birkenau alone, under a regime of ruthless efficiency, some 8000 human beings were gassed day after day, their bodies cremated in ovens to make room for more.
The protest was well attended by the media, including local affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX News, and proceeded in a civil and organized manner. Portions of the rally were broadcast on all local network news affiliates in the afternoon, and again at night.
The decision to proceed with the public rally came in the context of a discussion within the local Jewish community of how best to respond. While some advocated largely ignoring what they called "a confused old man", Eli Federman, who organized and attended the rally, saw the situation differently.
"The vile, racist ideology that Mr. Junker was spewing had already been broadcast and televised across America," said Federman. "To let this kind of hatred and racism go unanswered is morally objectionable."
Rabbi Shlomo Pontos agreed, stating in an interview with the NBC affiliate that there are "too many effects of the Holocaust to just sit back and not react". He added later that, "I felt proud of the fact that Jews and Gentiles united to stand up and be counted."
Given the emotionally charged nature of the discussion, it is perhaps not surprising that different opinions would exist on how to respond. Like other communities, the Jewish community of Milwaukee is certainly not monolithic in its thinking, and all sides made clear that it was of utmost importance for the range of diverse perspectives on this issue to be respected.
"One of the great strengths of the Jewish community is to have enough room for the many different voices within her," said Brostoff. "Out of respect for the multitude of opinions, we would never speak for or claim to represent the Jewish community as a whole, nor do we think that this issue is solely a 'Jewish issue'. In my opinion, racism, xenophobia and the rewriting of history is a human rights issue, and that affects all Americans."
The organizers of Sunday's public rally intend to pursue an investigation and potential prosecution of Mr. Junker, while confronting his racist Nazi ideology. They have urged the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to pursue the matter. The OSI has investigated and prosecuted Nazi criminals in the past. As recently as 2005, OSI successfully prosecuted and revoked the citizenship of Josias Kumpf, too an SS soldier. A successful prosecution would make Junker the 101st Nazi criminal to be brought to justice, 61 years after the end of WWII.
"Investigating Mr. Junker sends a message of deterrence to all who may have been complicit in past, current or future genocides, that they will be held accountable, even if it is sixty years later," remarked Federman.
"Justice for the slaughter of innocents has no expiration date," added Brostoff.
Steven Rogers, Chief Historian for the OSI, has advised the organizers to forward his office any information they have on Mr. Junker. OSI was only recently made aware of the Wisconsin Nazi's self-admitted Waffen-SS affiliation through media accounts.
After discussing this matter with Federman, local Attorney Brian P. Mularski has decided to play an active role in launching an investigation of Mr. Junker. Attorney Mularski will be speaking with the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. "As we get more information we will share it where appropriate. I expect this matter to be investigated and adjudicated accordingly," Mularski commented.
Mularski's colleague, Attorney ******opher Zimmerman, stated that, "Mr. Junker's own admission as to his involvement in the Waffen-SS brings about the need for a further investigation into this matter." Speaking in light of his experience with immigration issues, Zimmerman continued, "It begs the question of how he obtained his U.S Citizenship given his admitted involvement with the SS."
As Sunday's protesters have shown, the "Fight for Truth" is not over.
Jonathan Brostoff is President of Campus Organization for Israel (COFI) and student at the Univesity of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM). Eli Federman is President of L'Haim, a Jewish student group, a pre-law graduate of Marquette University, and is expecting to enter law school in the fall. The public rally was sponsored by L'Haim Foundation, Inc. a charitable organization devoted to the education and betterment of students at UWM and beyond
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