by Second Generation Storykeeper Debby Ziering

Herman joined forces with Elliot Welles to bring Nazi war criminals to justice. Elliot was also a survivor of the Riga Ghetto whose mother was shot by Maikovskis.  Herman was determined to have Maikovskis extradited to stand trial and Elliot was determined to bring to justice the man who had killed  his mother. Together they formed a task force through the ADL. Herman and Elliot found out that Maikovskis was secretly allowed to emigrate to Munster Germany. Maikovskis had convinced a diplomatic official to grant him a visa. Herman and Elliot both went to Germany and inundated the police with documents of his crimes and demanded to know why Germany was openly harboring Nazi war criminals. In 1988 at the age of 86 Maikovskis was placed on trial under the German court system. Herman and Elliot were at the court sessions daily. The trial dragged on until 1994, six years later, when the judge declared Maikovskis too frail to stand trial. Due to the lack of witnesses, Maikovskis was found guilty on only a few small counts. Maikovskis died at the age  of 92 of a heart attack.

Herman and Elliot were disappointed, but emboldened to increase awareness of the presence of Nazi war criminals. As a result, they were able to assist in  the extradition of many more. Josef Schwammberger was a Nazi labor commander who had been hiding in Argentina for 40 years. Herman and Elliot were able to find him and get him extradited to Germany where he was convicted in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison. In 2004, Schwammberger died in prison.

My Dad showed me that you have to be persistent when calling for justice. While Maikovskis never served time for his war crimes, many other Nazis did.

Read a Wartime Slice of Debby’s story

Read more about Second Generation Storykeeper Debby Ziering

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