War Criminal
on Trial

Rauca of Kaunas

By Sol Littman

Reprint published by the JewishGen Press

Paperback, 9” by 6”, 260 pages with all illustrations and photos.

Available from for $26.00


This reprint of the timeless1983 book by the Canadian investigative reporter Sol Littman is a fascinating and disturbing account that is composed of two intriguing parts. First, Littman describes life within and the final “liquidation” of the Kovno ghetto (Kaunas, Lithuania) during World War II, giving the reader a vivid description of what it must have been like to try to survive that horrendous environment. Then he describes the search, hunt and extradition proceedings of Helmut Rauca, one of the main Nazi perpetrators in the murders of the Jews of the Kovno ghetto. Littman raised difficult questions about the role played by the Canadian Government in allowing Rauca and other suspected war criminals to find safe havens within its borders. This book is well worth reading.


Sol Littman

A Sociologist turned journalist and community activist, Sol Littman was born in Toronto, Canada, and educated in the sociology departments of the University of Toronto, State College of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He has served as a teaching fellow in the Sociology and Anthropology Departments of the State College of Washington and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has lectured at numerous American universities on diverse subjects related to racism, civil rights and Holocaust denial. Currently, he is serving as a visiting scholar in the Judaic Studies Department of the University of Arizona. He has also presented a full-semester credit course on the Holocaust for the university's History Department.

In 1955, Littman joined the staff of the Anti-Defamation League. For the next thirteen years he was deeply involved in research on American radical-right organizations such as the John Birch Society and neo-Nazi groups such as the American Nazi Party. His exposure of racial and ethnic housing discrimination in the Grosse Pointes of Detroit and his analysis of white-collar anti-Jewish discrimination in the auto industry were actively pursued by the ADL.

In 1968, Littman returned to Canada to head B'nai Brith Canada's newly formed League of Human Rights. Among the many projects undertaken by the League, the most notable was the attack on social discrimination which prompted Toronto's Granite Club to abandon its discriminatory membership practices.

In 1971, he turned to journalism. For two years he designed and edited the newly revised Canadian Jewish News, wrote a bi-weekly column on the arts for The Toronto Star and wrote articles for Canada's major magazines.

In 1973, he joined the staff of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a news documentary maker, producing features on such varied subjects as cancer treatment centers, juvenile homes, comic-book conferences and computer art. His 1974 investigations of Canadian prisons were broadcast nationally and won him a news broadcasting award.

In 1976, he joined the editorial staff of the Toronto Star writing numerous editorials on prisons, law and justice, native rights, education financing and immigration. In 1981 he took early retirement to devote himself to writing books.

In 1982, Lester Orpen and Dennys published his book War Criminal on Trial, an account of the arrest and trial of Helmut Rauca, charged by the West German government with the murder of 10,500 people in Kovno, Lithuania. War Criminal on Trial is also a careful reconstruction of destruction of the Kovno Jewish population and the attempts of the Jewish leadership to delay the Endlosung. Because of the consistent demand of Kovno survivors and their families for copies of the book, Key Porter Books published a second edition in 1998. The second edition includes a new chapter detailing Canada's reluctance to prosecute the three thousand war criminals who found shelter in Canada.

A second book, Pure Soldiers or Sinister Legion was published by Black Rose Books in 2003, Pure Soldiers is the history of a German-recruited Ukrainian Waffen-SS division that committed numerous wartime atrocities. As many as two thousand of its veterans were permitted to immigrate to Ukrainian, Romanian, French, British, Slovak, Polish, American and Canadian archives.

For fourteen years, until his retirement in 1999, Littman served as Canadian Representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. In that capacity he played a key role in persuading the Canadian government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in Canada. Although Littman remains critical of many of Justice Deschênes conclusions, he is grateful that the Inquiry led to the amendment of Canada's Criminal Code to allow the prosecution of war crimes committed beyond Canada's borders. He has also presented the Justice Department with several lists of Nazi War Criminals who found refuge in Canada.

Littman has also spent considerable time in Europe and Israel writing articles on Swedish prisons, Italian museums and Arab-Israeli relationships. His next book, titled Traitor, Torturer, Christian Gentleman is an account of the French war criminal le comte de Bernonville and some of his Quebec associates. It will include an analysis of the work of the Canadian Justice Department's Special Unit on War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity as well as a comparison with the USA's Office of Special Investigations.

Littman is currently domiciled in Tucson, Arizona where for the past ten years he has been serving as a Visiting Scholar with the University of Arizona's Judaic Studies Center, giving occasional lectures on the Holocaust, Jewish Writers in Europe and America and Stalin's murder of Jewish writers in the Soviet Union.

January 2015

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