JERUSALEM — The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center released the names of what it called the 10 most wanted war criminals on the U.N. War Crimes Commission's list Tuesday and urged the opening of U.N. files detailing their crimes.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the center, said his organization has obtained the commission's list of 38,000 names in 12,000 files, compiled in the 1940s and never made public.
Hier told a news conference that the names were released to pressure the 17-nation commission, which includes the United States and most European nations, into opening the files on suspected war criminals. The commission is expected to meet in New York today to consider making the files public.
The commission, set up by Allied nations in 1943 during World War II, had not met since it was disbanded in 1948. The files were later turned over to the United Nations.
Among the names on Heir's list:
-- Heinrich Mueller, head of the Gestapo and allegedly an architect of the program to exterminate European Jewry. Mueller was last seen in 1945.
-- Alois Brunner, allegedly responsible for the deportation of 128,000 Jews from France, Greece and Czechoslovakia. Heir said that Brunner, now 75, lives in Damascus, Syria.
-- Anton Burger, said to have been deputy commander of the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia and responsible for mass deportations to Nazi death camps. The 76-year-old Burger's whereabouts are unknown.
-- Erich Gruene, allegedly the chief doctor at the Maidanek death camp near Lublin, Poland, where more than 1 million people were gassed to death. Gruene's whereabouts are unknown, said Heir.
The others on the list are Friedrich Warzok, Heinrich Otto Drechsler, Josef Schwaemburger, Hans Wilhelm Koenig, Dr. Horst Schumann and Rolf Gunther.
Schwaemburger is believed to be living in Argentina and Koenig is thought to be in Scandinavia, the center said. The whereabouts of the others are not known.
Brunner, Berger and Gunther were identified as aides to Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer in charge of exterminating Jews during World War II.