The last Nazi hunters

Since 1958, a small department of Germany’s government has sought to bring members of the Third Reich to trial. A handful of prosecutors are still tracking down Nazis, but the world’s biggest cold-case investigation will soon be shut down.

The Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes is an austere, pale-yellow prison building nestled into the 18th-century city wall of Ludwigsburg in southwestern Germany. Once used by the Nazis to detain political prisoners, the building announces its contemporary tenants obliquely, with a small, silver sign. Entering the Central Office still feels like entering a jail; to gain access, one must pass through a white metal gate and then through a second secure doorway.

Since it was created by the West German government in 1958, the Central Office’s mission has been to deliver Nazis to justice. Every year, its six investigative “departments,” each of which consists of a single prosecutor, scour the globe looking for members of the Third Reich. Chief prosecutor Jens Rommel, who heads the operation, is a sturdy, jovial 44-year-old with frameless glasses and a triangular goatee. The German press calls him a Nazi hunter, but Rommel doesn’t like the term. “A hunter is looking for a trophy,” he told me. “He has a rifle in his hand. I’m a prosecutor looking for murderers and I have criminal code in my hand.”

  • Tweety58

    I don’t care how old these pricks are.If they’ve got a pulse bring these scum to justice.

    • Solo712

      Well, realistically, you would now be hunting the former group leaders of Hitlerjugend (Hitler’s boy scouts).

  • Drunk by Noon ✓

    Why was there never a hunt for the communist murderers?
    Why aren’t they barred from U.S. entry too?
    Your youngest Nazis will be in their 90’s now, if they are even still alive.
    Time to shut this down.

    • UCSPanther

      A lot of commie murderers are still admired as heroes in Russia to this day…

  • WalterBannon

    how did they miss Soros?

    and what about the new nazis like merkel

  • UCSPanther

    Well, 72 years have passed since the end of WWII…

  • Hard Little Machine

    There has always been a German law that protects family members from prosecution for helping to hide and support wanted war crminials. That’s been a big problem. The wanted criminals get hide practically in the open while their family members support them and themselves often profit from stolen property.