In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Allies declared the Nazi party a criminal organization and pledged to prosecute and punish all those who took part in genocide and crimes against humanity. During the Nuremberg Trials, approximately 1,000 Nazi officials were convicted of crimes against humanity; but hundreds of thousands of suspected war criminals evaded prosecution -- by returning to the societies they'd helped destroy; by concealing their war records, by assuming false identities; by fleeing Europe; or by serving the Allies as spies and scientists. Thousands of Nazi criminals are presumed to be alive.
Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals, a new documentary premiering on PBS on Tuesday, November 15 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings), explores why governments and institutions failed to prosecute and punish mass murderers, and why certain individuals chose to pursue fugitive killers on their own.
Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals is a Saybrook Productions presentation for THIRTEEN in association with WNET New York Public Media, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentaries and arts programming to the New York community.
Filmed in eight countries over the course of three years, Elusive Justice profiles the men and women who took matters into their own hands and succeeded in tracking down Nazi fugitives when official institutions failed. Narrated by acclaimed actress Candice Bergen, the film includes interviews with suspected war criminals, their families and defenders, professional and amateur investigators, as well as attorneys, survivors, military officials, jurists, and politicians.
Jonathan Silvers, writer and director of Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals, is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and filmmaker specializing in international affairs and human rights. Silvers' news reports and documentaries have appeared regularly on ABC, BBC, CNN, and PBS. His reportage appears regularly in The Atlantic among other leading publications. In the film, Silvers discovers The Remains of disabled children murdered during the Nazi era at the Spiegelgrund Clinic in Vienna. In one scene, Silvers acts as a Nazi hunter in his own right, tracking down and confronting Dr. Heinrich Gross, a doctor responsible for the murders of numerous children at the Spiegelgrund clinic.