The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, has called on courts and authorities in the United States to quickly pave the way for the extradition of the alleged Nazi war criminal Peter Egner, 88, to Serbia, where he is to stand trial on charges of genocide. “The accusations brought against Egner are so horrendous that no further time must be wasted. Not only the Jewish community in Serbia, but Jews world-wide expect Nazi war criminals to be tried and brought to justice, irrespective of their age. These people may be frail, but so are many Holocaust survivors. Justice done belatedly is still better than justice not done at all,” Lauder declared.
Egner is wanted in Belgrade on charges of participating in the killing of 17,000 civilians, mainly Jews, Roma and political opponents between 1941 and 1943, during the Nazi German occupation of then Yugoslavia. The Serbian government issued an international arrest warrant for Egner in April and filed an extradition motion with US authorities in November. Egner, an ethnic German born and raised in Yugoslavia, entered the United States in 1960 and gained US citizenship in 1966.
The Justice Department in Washington in 2008 asked a court to revoke his citizenship based on evidence of his role in an Einsatzgruppe, a mobile Nazi death squad that participated in the mass murder of more than 17,000 civilians, most of them Jewish, in Serbia in 1941 and 1942. Egner lives in a retirement community near Seattle. While Egner – an officer of the secret Nazi police Gestapo, and the SS – denied any knowledge of the Einsatzgruppe, the Justice Department cited German documents showing his role in the unit, which murdered prisoners by gassing with carbon monoxide in a specially designed ‘gas vans’ (pictured above).