Pursuit of Nazi Collaborators - Means of Pursuit

Means of Pursuit

The pursuit took many forms, both individual and organised. Several organizations and individuals (famous Nazi hunters) pursue ex-Nazis or Nazi collaborators who allegedly engaged in war crimes or crimes against humanity. The pursuits took varied forms such as individuals who reported they saw someone who they recognised, who had now assumed a false identity intent on slipping back into civilian life undetected. Specific individuals were named and sought by groups or governments for their crimes during the war.

Others were subject to after-war spontaneous retaliation committed by populations within occupied countries, which in some areas led to "witch hunts" for those suspected of having been collaborators, where vigilantism and "summary justice", were common. After a first period of spontaneous pursuit, provisional governments took the matter into their own hands and brought suspected criminals to court. The Nuremberg Trial in Germany judged only the highest German Nazi authorities and each country prosecuted and sentenced their own collaborationists. Pierre Laval in France was judged and sentenced to death, while Philippe Pétain was also sentenced to death, but Charles de Gaulle later commuted his sentence into a life condemnation. Government action to the form of investigation and interrogation for people suspected to be such. For example: U.S. DOJ Office of Special Investigations.

Infiltration of Nazi support and escape organisations (the most famous one being the ODESSA network and its various "ratlines") and those believed to be aiding and abetting them. However, many suspected war criminals were also given amnesty, some of whom succeeding in reaching high positions in post-war administrations (e.g. Maurice Papon, who became Police Prefect of Paris in charge during the Algerian War (1954–62) and was blamed for the 1961 Paris massacre). Others were never even tried such as Robert de Foy who resumed being head of the Belgian State Security Service 1945-1958.

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