Summary

Footage Information

ABCNEWS VideoSource
LATVIA: NAZI WAR CRIMES IN LATVIA
09/17/2000
APTN
VSAP194740
TAPE_NUMBER: EF00/1043 IN_TIME: 09:30:05 // 12:23:44 - 15:18:03 LENGTH: 03:14 SOURCES: APTN RESTRICTIONS: FEED: VARIOUS (THE ABOVE TIME-CODE IS TIME-OF-DAY) SCRIPT: English/Nat XFA Prosecutors from seven countries compared evidence on Nazi war crimes in Latvia, particularly the Rumbula killing field, at an official meeting in the capital Riga. The main targets of the conference are 86-year-old Konrads Kalejs and 87-year-old Karlis Ozols, who are both currently living in Australia. Representatives from Britain, Canada, Germany, Israel, Russia, Australia and the U-S discussed the investigation into the suspected World War Two criminals. The old pine forest is now circled by car dealerships and littered with abandoned tires and scrap metal. Most passers-by would hardly recognize it as site of one of the worst atrocities of the Nazi era. In just two days in 1941 some 25-thousand Jews were put to death here, on the outskirts of Latvia's capital Riga, just off a busy four-lane highway to Moscow. During the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation, 90 per cent of Latvia's 90-thousand Jews perished. The Rumbula massacres stood out in their gruesome assembly line efficiency. On November 30 1941 the Nazis, including Germans and Latvians, swept into the Jewish ghetto, roused men, women and children, and forced them onto the cobblestone streets. To lull people into cooperating in their own death march, they were told they were being sent to a new camp and to pack a suitcase, according to the director of Riga's Jewish museum. The victims, many who were aware they were doomed, walked through the ghetto's barbed wire gates to Rumbula, 6 miles away. Stripped naked, they were beaten and kicked through a gauntlet, one by one, to the pits. Then each was shot in the back of the head. German SS officers bragged they'd used 25-thousand bullets at Rumbula. This was a bullet per murder, according to the Latvian-American historian Andrew Ezergailis, the leading expert on Nazi atrocities in Latvia. 59 years after, the hunt for Nazi killers is still on. At the meeting on Friday between prosecutors from seven countries, who were invited by Latvia to compare evidence on war crimes, attention was focused on the Rumbula killing field. The main targets of the conference are Konrads Kalejs and Karlis Ozols. Both reportedly were officers in the Arajs Kommando, a Nazi death squad staffed mostly by Latvians and involved in various massacres, including those at Rumbula. Kalejs and Ozols now live in Australia and have denied involvement. Latvian prosecutors have been preparing war crimes charges against Kalejs based on evidence he served as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp at Salaspils, a few miles from Rumbula. SOUNDBITE: (Latvian) "The conference itself can not influence the juridical status of Konrads Kalejs. His status will change only when he is charged. As of now, he's not charged. We asked our colleagues to provide some additional evidence on the case." SUPER CAPTION: Janis Maizitis, Prosecutor General of Latvia One purpose of the conference was to scrutinize the strength of Latvia's evidence against Kalejs and determine if it met international legal standards. SOUNDBITE: (English) "I'm just pleased to be here and impressed with the amount of work that the Latvian government has been doing on these matters and on behalf of Canada we are willing to offer complete cooperation with any materials that we can provide and so on." SUPER CAPTION: Max Walpert, Department of Justice of Canada If Kalejs or Ozols were indicted, extradited and put on trial, it would be the first time an alleged Nazi would face a Latvian court on genocide charges since the Baltic state regained independence. Jewish groups say Latvia did not do enough to honestly confront this period of its history. They demand is straightforward - Kalejs and others should be tried in court, legal technicalities or not. SOUNDBITE: (English) "We don't forget, we don't forgive. And it is good that now we speak about Kalejs and people of this kind. I can not call them people because in my mind they are not people - they're animals. If we speak about it and this person now does not feel comfortable - it is good." SUPER CAPTION: Carmela Skorik Prosecutors signaled earlier this year that they were close to indicting Kalejs based on the evidence that he served as a Nazi guard at the Salaspils concentration camp near Riga. But they later said they needed to investigate the matter further. SHOTLIST: Rumbula/Riga, Latvia - September 15, 2000 - APTN Rumbula, Latvia 1. Mid shot of sign for Rumbula car market 2. Wide shot of Riga-Moscow highway 3. Mid shot pine forest in Rumbula, site of the 1941 massacre 4. Mid shot memorial stone 5. Close up of memorial stone File - 1941 6. Various black and white footage of Nazis entering Baltic towns, being greeted by some of the locals 7. Various of synagogue destruction Riga, Latvia 8. Wide shot Riga 9. Mid shot conference participants arrive 10. Close up plaque 11. Wide shot of the beginning of the conference 12. Mid shot participants 13. Close up of participants 14. Wide shot Janis Maizitis, Prosecutor General of Latvia speaks 15. Close up of documents 16. SOUNDBITE: (Latvian) Janis Maizitis, Prosecutor General of Latvia 17. Wide shot conference 18. SOUNDBITE: (English) Max Walpert, Department of Justice of Canada 19. Wide shot Riga streets 20. Mid shot sign "Jews in Latvia" Museum 21. Setup of Carmela Skorik, Riga's Jewish theatre director 22. SOUNDBITE: (English) Carmela Skorik, Riga's Jewish theatre director 23. Wide shot memorial stone in Rumbula ?
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