Known as “the world’s last Nazi hunter,” Efraim Zuroff has spent the last 30 years bringing suspected war criminals to justice. For several weeks this summer, he offered Jewish communities across the United States a window into his work that gets harder with each passing year.
Zuroff, Jerusalem director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, most recently spoke in the North Carolina cities of Raleigh and Charlotte, and the South Carolina cities of Columbia and Greenville. His talks centered on the process and significance of exposing, prosecuting and convicting such criminals; to date, Zuroff has brought 40 Holocaust-era figures to justice worldwide.
“Dr. Zuroff’s speech had a dual appeal,” explained Rabbi Yossi Refson, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Charleston and the Low Country. “He presented a heartwarming message about how we care for our fellow Jews. And he also presented a powerful message for future perpetrators of hate: That Jews don’t forget and will always come to find them.”
According to Refson, hosting the Ph.D. and Nobel Peace Prize nominee was an important way to “spread the word” about remaining Nazi criminals and to put them on warning. Zuroff’s goal of ensuring that the criminals know that they are hunted, he said, is furthered with such public events.
For Steve Zimmerman, who lives in Charleston, S.C., Zuroff’s presentation was an ideal opportunity to teach his 18-year-old son about the Holocaust.