Israel Won't Extradite Alleged Jewish War Criminal.
Israel has refused a Polish request for the extradition of Solomon Morel, 87, alleged to have committed crimes against humanity as the head of a labor camp holding ethnic Germans in Poland's southern Silesian region immediately after World War II, Poland's Rzeczpospolita daily reported. Poland made its second request to Israel for the Israeli citizens extradition on a charge of genocide in April 2004, after an earlier request was refused in 1998.
Justice Minister Andrzej Kalwas said Poland would forward no further extradition requests for Morel to Israel. "Unfortunately I must say that there is no legal chance for this extradition," Kalwas told the Polish PAP news agency. Israel has no extradition treaty with Poland.
Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) war crimes authority suspects Morel is responsible for the death of some 1,538 ethnic Silesians and Germans held at the Swietochlowice concentration camp between February and November 1945. Morel served as its commander immediately following the defeat of Nazi Germany. Some of the prisoners had Nazi connections.
Morel's case was brought to light in the 1990s when a U.S. Jewish journalist, John Sack, published a book detailing alleged "revenge killings" by Jews placed in charge of prison camps at the end of the war. Poland's post-war communist government imprisoned some 100,000 Germans in 1945, and at least 15,000 are estimated to have died in captivity.
Eyewitness evidence collected during a lengthy IPN investigation suggested Morel used both psychological and physical torture against the nearly 6,000 inmates at the camp, including beatings and starvation. He is also alleged to have allowed the spread of deadly infectious diseases in the camp. "There is no basis to accuse Morel of the crime of genocide or crimes against the Polish nation. He and his family are survivors of genocide, the obvious victims of genocide committed by the Nazis and their Polish collaborators," reads an official statement from Israel's Justice Ministry.
Morel fled Poland to Israel in 1992 after Polish justice authorities launched a criminal investigation against him. In 1998, Israel refused to honor an earlier extradition request; also claiming it had not been presented with evidence of Morel's alleged involvement in war crimes. According to the Rzeczpospolita report, Israel believed that the camp held 60 inmates and emphasizes Morel's wartime experience as a Polish Jew targeted for death by Nazi Germany. Morel's parents and siblings did not survive.
Israel also alleged the Polish request was made "against a Jewish citizen" after 1989 by "a few Germans" after 1989 "during a period of growing anti-Semitism." Israel's Justice Ministry also underscored the fact that "thousands" of Jewish survivors were killed in Poland in the immediate post-war period and claims that many suspects escaped justice.