In 1992, amid renewed neo-Nazi agitation throughout Western Europe, a German court tried a sick old man named Josef Schwammberger for crimes committed in Poland in World War II. The survivors of the Holocaust are now in the last years of their lives, and soon there will be no one left who can offer personal witness to the appalling events of that time. This investigation of the case of the last major Nazi war criminal likely to be brought to trial explores the historical and personal legacies of the Holocaust. How did Schwammberger, an SS sergeant, come to hold absolute sway over two Polish towns? How accurate are victims' recollections? Why did the German government make no serious effort to pursue Schwammberger, until the Simon Wiesenthal Centre established his whereabouts beyond question? What can his case teach us about our shared responsibility to remember?
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