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ABCNEWS VideoSource
TAPE_NUMBER: EF00/0102 IN_TIME: 04:00:44 - 10:19:55 LENGTH: 02:46 SOURCES: All BBC except shot 3 = HOLOCAUST EDUCATION TRUST RESTRICTIONS: BBC = No access UK/CNN/CNBC/Euronews/Internet FEED: VARIOUS (THE ABOVE TIME-CODE IS TIME-OF-DAY) SCRIPT: Russian/Eng/Nat Investigations into Latvia's state archives by an organisation which tracks suspected Nazis has revealed that the country may be quietly rehabilitating some of those who were responsible for Holocaust-related crimes. Thirty-thousand Jews were murdered in the central European country in just one act of slaughter in 1941. The latest findings were released on the eve of a two-day international conference on the Holocaust, opening on Wednesday in Stockholm, Sweden. In this forest, just outside Latvia's capital, Riga, and in the winter of 1941, a slaughter took place. Thirty-thousand Jews were herded to their deaths. These archive pictures show the victims' last moments. The Jews were forced into a pit by the local security police, the Arajs Commando, and then they were shot. Now it has been revealed that some of the murderers have been quietly rehabilitated, given extra pensions and welfare benefits. The information has been obtained by the Simon Wiesenthal centre which tracks suspected Nazis. The documents the centre has discovered tell a revealing story. SOUNDBITE: (English) "We can give you the dates when they got the rehabilitation, in some cases people applied several times and only got it recently. But the evidence is absolutely unequivocal, it's clear-cut, we have over 40 names of people convicted of terrible crimes who during the past few years were granted rehabilitation by the Latvian authorities." SUPER CAPTION: Efraim Zuroff, Simon Wiesenthal Centre The evidence was found here in Latvia's state archive. This rare access shows the extent of this collection - thousands of files, opened over decades. The archive has not allowed access to the file on Konrad Kaljis, a former Arajs commando officer who left Britain in a blaze of publicity earlier this month. But the state prosecutor in charge of the case says it's too easy to generalise about war criminals. SOUNDBITE: (Russian) "The Arajs Commando didn't only consist of executioners but also soldiers who fought against Soviet Red Army partisans. They didn't commit any war crimes." SUPER CAPTION: Janis Osis, State Prosecutor But the evidence in the Jewish documentation museum paints a different picture. And it's a matter of historical record that the commandos' leader - Victor Arajs - was jailed for war-crimes in the 1970s. This man was also convicted of war crimes and spent 10 years in Soviet labour camps. He joined the Arajs Commando voluntarily in 1942. SOUNDBITE: (Russian) "I was one of the guards when the Jews were shot, my job was just to stop trespassers. There was a special execution unit, and yes, it was a crime against humanity." SUPER CAPTION: Arnis Upmolis, former Arajs Commando This bleak place just outside Riga is the site of a former concentration camp. Inmates here died of the cold, of hunger and random killings by guards. Those guards were Arajs Commando. Now, with rehabilitation, it seems they're no longer counted as criminals. Jewish survivors come here to pay their respects, but their number dwindles by the year and they say that if education about the Holocaust dies with them their suffering will have been in vain. SHOTLIST: XFA Riga, Latvia London, UK Unknown - 25 January 2000 and File BBC - 25 January Riga 1. Various shots of forest with snow 2. Various shots of stone memorial Holocaust Education Trust - FILE Riga 3. Various b/w footage of Jews being led to pit and shot BBC - 25 January Unknown 4. Set-up Efraim Zuroff 5. Close-up list of names 6. SOUNDBITE: (English) Efraim Zuroff, Simon Wiesenthal Centre 7. Various shots of archive shelves with KGB records BBC - Recent London, UK 8. Konrad Kaljis walking through airport BBC - 25 January Riga 9. SOUNDBITE: (Russian) Janis Osis, State Prosecutor (PART MIXED AUDIO TRACK) 10. Various photographs in Jewish museum 11. Set-up Arnis Upmolis 12. Close-up of photographs 13. SOUNDBITE: (Russian) Arnis Upmolis, former Arajs Commando 14. Various of former concentration camp location 15. Man walking to memorial statue 16. Close-up man's face?