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Poland reopens investigation into Auschwitz death camp crimes

Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (INR) [official website], the body charged with investigating Nazi and communist-era crimes, on Thursday announced a new probe into Nazi crimes aimed at tracking down living Nazi perpetrators. The investigation, opened by the branch in Krakow [AP report], follow investigations conducted during the Communist era that were concluded in the 1980s without making any indictments because Poland had difficulty questioning witnesses and perpetrators living abroad [BBC report]. As part of the probe, investigators plan to interview approximately 500 camp survivors [Telegraph report] for new information on the operations of the infamous death camp and who operated it. It was unclear whether the investigation would extend beyond Auschwitz, but the announcement was welcomed by Jewish groups [Reuters report].

Poland is not alone in its pursuit to remedy crimes committed during the Holocaust. German prosecutors announced earlier this month they intend to reopen hundreds of investigations [JURIST report] involving former Nazi death camp guards. In addition, Germany's recent trial and conviction [JURIST reports] of Nazi guard John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile; JURIST news archive] may have emboldened Poland. In September, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] at The Hague began hearing arguments [JURIST report] from Germany and Italy, which is seeking damages from Germany for crimes committed by Nazis during World War II.

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