Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sensuality and sexuality are opposites

detail from painting by marguerita
photo by marguerita

by Virginia Stewart-Avalon, M.Ed.

Sexuality in the modern world is blatant; a strutting display of goods, a means of gaining power over others and a method of turning others into objects. Sex is often self-centered self-gratification.

Sensuality means being completely at home in one's body, trusting and living through the senses. Tasting-savoring the flavors that life offers through touching, exploring, the body, the tongue, feelings... Seeing-recognizing the beauty in all that is beautiful-animals, flowers, trees, people, symmetry and asymmetry. Inhaling the fragrances of all and enjoying each. Listening to the voices of all living things and reveling in the uniqueness of each. Sensuality may be enthusiastic, even athletic, but it is always in unison with another.

Patriarchy has perverted sex. It shattered the consciousness of the Divine Sensual, separating it into controllable, cold, remote virginity, which led to possession; and crude sexuality, the perversion of sensuality. Sex as just a physical act can be uncaring even violent or brutal; twisted into the conquering and subjugation of another; the denial of the Divinity of another. When the sex act is finished, there remains only emptiness, an awareness of isolation and loneliness to be escaped through departure or sleep. The veneration of perpetual virginity and the disdain for the sexuality of woman is a denial of life and of life-enhancing values. They represent the enslavement and the murder of the God/dess. A virgin brings no new life into the world and a prostitute destroys the divine in herself. Sexuality focuses the attention on control and destruction. The foundation of the sexual experience is the self; the foundation of the sensual experience is the other.

Making love is not sexual; it is sensual. It is being swept away by the immersion of one's senses in another person… and more. Making love is experiencing the worship of the God/desshood of another. It is adoration, in the original meaning of the word, of the God/dess, of the perfect Divinity of another through the senses. It is tender, gentle, awed reverence; a passion approached through complete vulnerability and surrender to the Divine Other and her/his surrender to the Divine Self. Implicit in surrender is complete trust and respect. Trust that this vulnerability will not be abused and that the gentle, reverent worship will be returned; and the respect of independence. Surrender is not conquest or possession. There can be no enslavement or ownership of a God/dess; the divine can not be controlled by anyone. Love is the most precious sacrament of adoration; it restores the sacred to what has been profaned.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Manual for Shit Happens

"One of the basic human characteristics is to try to search for meaning," Johnson says. "We use whatever means are available to us to explain randomly occurring events." That's why we often interpret chance happenings as signs from God, or credit our "lucky socks" for a successful night of poker. Or we say a player is on a hot streak if he scores a dozen baskets in a row, when in fact a run of success (or a run of failure) may be due simply to chance.Why are we so bad at detecting randomness? Probably because the ability to recognize patterns of events--and to identify their cause--has survival value, says Lockhead. Thus our minds may be designed to detect meaning, whether or not there is any to be found.

  • Taoism: Shit happens.
  • Confucianism: Confucius say, "Shit happens."
  • Buddhism: If shit happens, it isn't really shit.
  • Zen Buddhism: Shit is, and is not.
  • Zen Buddhism #2: What is the sound of shit happening?
  • Hinduism: This shit has happened before.
  • Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah.
  • Islam #2: If shit happens, kill the person responsible.
  • Islam #3: If shit happens, blame Israel.
  • Catholicism: If shit happens, you deserve it.
  • Protestantism: Let shit happen to someone else.
  • Presbyterian: This shit was bound to happen.
  • Episcopalian: It's not so bad if shit happens, as long as you serve the right wine with it.
  • Methodist: It's not so bad if shit happens, as long as you serve grape juice with it.
  • Congregationalist: Shit that happens to one person is just as good as shit that happens to another.
  • Unitarian: Shit that happens to one person is just as bad as shit that happens to another.
  • Lutheran: If shit happens, don't talk about it.
  • Fundamentalism: If shit happens, you will go to hell, unless you are born again. (Amen!)
  • Fundamentalism #2: If shit happens to a televangelist, it's okay.
  • Fundamentalism #3: Shit must be born again.
  • Judaism: Why does this shit always happen to us?
  • Calvinism: Shit happens because you don't work.
  • Seventh Day Adventism: No shit shall happen on Saturday.
  • Creationism: God made all shit.
  • Secular Humanism: Shit evolves.
  • Christian Science: When shit happens, don't call a doctor - pray!
  • Christian Science #2: Shit happening is all in your mind.
  • Unitarianism: Come let us reason together about this shit.
  • Quakers: Let us not fight over this shit.
  • Utopianism: This shit does not stink.
  • Darwinism: This shit was once food.
  • Capitalism: That's MY shit.
  • Communism: It's everybody's shit.
  • Feminism: Men are shit.
  • Chauvinism: We may be shit, but you can't live without us...
  • Commercialism: Let's package this shit.
  • Impressionism: From a distance, shit looks like a garden.
  • Idolism: Let's bronze this shit.
  • Existentialism: Shit doesn't happen; shit IS.
  • Existentialism #2: What is shit, anyway?
  • Stoicism: This shit is good for me.
  • Hedonism: There is nothing like a good shit happening!
  • Mormonism: God sent us this shit.
  • Mormonism #2: This shit is going to happen again.
  • Wiccan: An it harm none, let shit happen.
  • Scientology: If shit happens, see "Dianetics", p.157.
  • Jehovah's Witnesses: >Knock< >Knock<>
  • Jehovah's Witnesses #2: May we have a moment of your time to show you some of our shit?
  • Jehovah's Witnesses #3: Shit has been prophesied and is imminent; only the righteous shall survive its happening.
  • Moonies: Only really happy shit happens.
  • Hare Krishna: Shit happens, rama rama.
  • Rastafarianism: Let's smoke this shit!
  • Zoroastrianism: Shit happens half on the time.
  • Church of SubGenius: BoB shits.
  • Practical: Deal with shit one day at a time.
  • Agnostic: Shit might have happened; then again, maybe not.
  • Agnostic #2: Did someone shit?
  • Agnostic #3: What is this shit?
  • Satanism: SNEPPAH TIHS.
  • Atheism: What shit?
  • Atheism #2: I can't believe this shit!
  • Nihilism: No shit.

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    Fabiolo and Fabiolo ( Jaime de Mora y Aragon, A Noble Spanish Bon Vivant)

    Marguerita and Fabiolo,the canary,1966

    Jaime de Mora y Aragon, a flamboyant Spanish aristocrat whose amiable antics made him the toast of the Costa del Sol, died on Wednesday at a hospital near his home in Marbella, Spain. He was 70.His doctors said the cause was the latest of a series of a heart attacks he had suffered in recent years.
    Whether he was playing the piano in a Marbella cabaret or wrestling in Argentina, Mr. de Mora cut a memorable figure. With his tall, slender build, slicked-back hair, waxed mustache, monocle and cane, he was once likened to a blue-blooded Salvador Dali.
    As a fixture in Marbella since the early 1960's, Mr. de Mora, or Jimmy as he was widely known, became such a favorite among the wealthy and wellborn who make the resort their summer playground that he was named by the city's tourist office as its official greeter.
    The role suited him. For although he was at various times a waiter, bullfighter, taxi driver, model and movie actor, Mr. de Mora was primarily a promoter, one who provided the public face for an assortment of business ventures from nightclubs to theatrical productions financed with other people's money.
    Even his lavish annual parties were someone else's extravagance, that of the Saudi financier Adnan N. Khashoggi.
    The son of a wealthy count and a member of a collateral line of the Spanish royal family, Mr. de Mora was born in Madrid with an array of advantages, most of which he promptly put behind him.
    Dropping out of school at the age of 17, he entered the bohemian life of Paris, learned to play the piano and married a Mexican actress and later a Swedish model.
    His role as an international gadabout was curtailed somewhat in 1965, when he was convicted in asbentia in Italy for passing bad checks.
    For all his popularity in Spain, Mr. de Mora was apparently considered a bit much by the Belgian royal family. In 1960, when his sister, Fabiola, married King Baudouin, he was excluded from the weddingMr. de Mora secured some revenge of sorts. Cast as the Belgian Ambassador in an Italian film, he played the diplomat in drag.
    Even in his official role with the tourist office, Mr. de Mora tended to go over the top. Last August, for example, to publicize an annual gathering of motorcyclists, he put out the word that Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley had chosen Marbella for a belated honeymoon.
    The announcement drew a horde of gullible photographers as look-alikes enlisted by Mr. de Mora were escorted by 50 motorcycles.
    He is survived by his wife, the former Margit Ohlson, and his adopted son Fernando, who as Fernando Diaz Santiago had been his longtime personal secretary before a legal adoption in 1992.B
    y ROBERT MCG. THOMAS JR.Published: July 28,1995.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Jose Saramago : Blindness

    Translated from the Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero from the 1995 Ensaio sombre a Cegueira. 309 pages London: The Harvill Press, 1997 ISBN: 0-15-136700-9

    Comments of Bob Corbett
    October 2001

    Also appended remarks from George Snedeker December 2001

    How are we to imagine a world in which some central part of our meaning system suddenly disappears? I've played with the idea in thinking about having survived an atomic war which destroyed most humans, and all the basic infrastructures of everyday life. The problems one runs into even in such a game of imagination is to be consistent and being able to step far enough away to see what it is that really changes. In my day-dreaming imaginings I never went so far as to even dare to consider the inner changes in my person or the other survivors around me. It was much more than I could do to even anticipate and manage the physical problems of change and how to deal with them.

    Jose Saramago presents us with exactly such a problematic, yet his masterful analysis deals not only with the physical aspects of change and how his characters deal with them, but he inters into the psychological realm and astounds us with his insights and brilliance.

    A man is sitting at a traffic light one day waiting for the light to turn green and he suddenly goes blind. This is the "first blind man." Slowly this mysterious form of blindness, the like not known in the literature of modern medicine, spreads to the whole nation. As best we know, there is only one sighted person left in the realm. We follow a cast of fewer than 10 characters in detail. We have no names, only descriptors. After all one character tells us "blind people need no names." There is the first blind man, the first blind man's wife. The blind man had a seeming good semaritan who helps him home and but then steals his car and is thus called the man who had stole the car. There is the doctor whom he consults and the doctor's wife, the girl with dark glasses, the boy with the squint and the man with the black eye patch. There are a few others, but these become our key characters, later on adding the dog of tears.

    In the early days of the white blindness in which each person seems only a white creamy mass, the government freaks out at the quick contagion of it and inters a large number of the blind in an old insane asylum. There, in scenes which are quite reminiscent of Golding's The Lord of the Flies, pure anarchy reigns and a gang sets itself up to control the government delivered food.

    Soon however, the 7 central characters have escaped the asylum when it turns out that all the guards who are keeping them interred have themselves gone blind and they simply walk out into a world of all blind people.

    All blind people that is, save one. The doctor's wife somehow remains sighted and she is able to give this small group the advantages that allows it to survive when others could not. She can locate places, keep them all in line and, most importantly, find food and water in a world gone blind.

    What is this odd book of Jose Saramago? Is it an allegory? If so an allegory of what? Of the dependency of humans on basic systems of order in the manner of Thomas Hobbes? Is it a condemnation of humans as being only on the edge of civilization and being shown to be ready to plunge into barbarism at the least shaking of central systems of order? Or on a more positive note, is the tiny group of 7 the hopeful core that even in such catastrophic circumstances would maintain humanity and re-create a safer environment? Were this latter the case then the critic has a difficult time explaining the presence of the one sighted person who survives and leads. Or does this problematic suggest that leaders are essential to the continuation of the human species?

    Or, abandoning the allegory theory, is this simply an astonishing tour-de-force of imagination, being just what it is literally and no more, the investigation of the logic of life when something such as sight disappears and the sighted woman is necessary as a sop since no other believable mode of survival would be easily available. This view would harmonize with the direction one finds in other Saramago novels especially The Stone Raft and The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, perhaps even of The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. Saramago seems to have a passion for playing with alternative realities and attending with care to the logic of the system he once sets up.

    I believe I lean much more to this notion that we are to understand Blindness not as an allegory, but as an exploration of an alternative reality. On his view we are freer to remain inside the story as given and just marvel at how he unravels the story and develops not only the physical ramifications, but especially how he deals with the inner realities and changes in the character's minds. However, on this view we are left with the curious status of the doctor's wife's sight, and then the even more curious recurrence of the "special" dog which we had in The Stone Raft as well. Saramago seems to like dogs in nearly occult roles in his fantasies. This one, however, plays no central as the dog in The Stone Raft. Rather, it gets it name by licking away the tears of the doctor's wife when she breaks down in near despair on see what has happened to the blind city. The dog of tears remains with the group the rest of the tale, but seems to have no other role.

    After just the first few pages I nearly lost my faith in Saramago. The blind man goes blind at the stop sign, gets taken home by the car thief and soon is taken to the doctor, who is an ophthalmologist, by his wife. I began to wonder -- how in the world can he sustain an entire moderately long novel as the story of this blind guy. Where could this go? What is there to build on? I suspected I may have had a weak Saramago novel in my hand. And then the thunderous second shoe drops, the doctor goes blind in the night. I simply gasped aloud on the subway I was riding when that happened. I knew I was now in for something odd, but I had no idea just how odd and soon people were falling into blindness with great rapidity and I was hooked on a new alternative world according to Saramago. The ending, which I won't mention was very unsatisfactory to me, but I'll leave that to the reader to discover and evaluate on his or her own.

    Jose Saramago is one of the great masters of storytelling and fiction of our time. His language is impeccable and he plays with it often, calling attention to it, even interrupting the story to reflect on words and modes of expressing thoughts. The story itself is captivating and in the later sections when the group of 7 are wandering in this nightmare of a city where all are blind is one of the most frightful and even terrifying scenes I know in fiction. This is in no way a horror story, yet I can't imagine a novel in the genre of horror rising to the level of terror that Saramago strikes in us in these scenes of wandering bands of blind people struggling to find food and stay alive. It is a macabre and brilliant painting of pictures for the verbally sighted and yet another addition to the marvelous list of Saramago triumphs.

    Special thanks to George Snedeker for this note:

    George Snedeker

    I have just read your review of Saramago's BLINDNESS. as a visually impaired person, I have been trying to make sense of his use of blindness as a trope. blindness operates in his text as both an intertextual sign and as a referent. blindness represents limitation. this is true in the very obvious sense of the analogy between knowing and seeing. blindness also leads the characters to return to the state of nature. I have always been troubled by the doctor's wife. her eyes allow her to lead the others to safety. she is also necessary as the narrator of the story. without her, who would describe the events and scenes of the novel.

    A more systematic review from George Snedeker

    BETWEEN METAPHOR AND REFERENT:Reading Saramago's "Blindness"
    George Snedeker
    Sociology Program
    SUNY/College at Old Westbury

    Jose Saramago received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. Although several of his books were available in English translation, not many people in the United States had read his novels prior to the award. Soon his latest novel, Blindness, was on the New York Times Best-Seller List. If I had not previously read two of his earlier books, I would not have been much interested in reading an allegorical novel that uses blindness as its master sign.

    Saramago uses a quotation from the Book of Exhortations as the epigram to Blindness: "If you can see, look. If you can look, observe". Near the end of the novel, when the blind people are getting their vision back, he has one of his characters remark:" I don't think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see" (292). These two quotations indicate the political and philosophical intention of the novel. They indicate, but do not disclose it. The greatest problem with an allegorical novel like Blindness is that it grants too much freedom to the reader. It allows too many interpretations.

    Saramago uses blindness as a metaphor for both personal misfortune and social catastrophe. The story begins when the first blind man loses his vision in his car while waiting for a traffic light to change. The man who helps him get safely home goes back and steals his car. The next day the wife of the first blind man takes him to see the eye doctor. Within a few days, the wife of the first blind man, the car thief, the doctor and all of the patients in his waiting room also go blind. The only character in the novel that miraculously avoids the affliction of blindness is the doctor's wife.

    With a large number of people going blind quickly and with no apparent cause, public health officials panic and the blind are interned in a former mental hospital to protect the population from infection.

    They are provided with food but are left to fend for themselves within the walls of the abandoned mental hospital. Soldiers keep watch and threaten to kill anyone who tries to escape.

    The numbers of infected persons increases rapidly. New groups of blind people are imprisoned in the hospital. Among the new inmates are a group of hoodlums, one of whom possesses a gun. The hoodlums soon demand that the other internees pay for their food and provide them with women to fulfill their sexual desires. This outrage soon leads to a revolt. A few days later, the blind internees realize that the entire population of the city has gone blind and they leave the hospital in search of food.

    As the narrative of Blindness progresses, the conditions of the blind continue to get worse. They find themselves in a society that no longer functions. Blind people roam the streets looking for food and shelter. After scavenging for days, they realize that soon it will be impossible to obtain enough nourishment to keep alive. While they are at the edge of despair their vision miraculously begins to return. The novel abruptly ends without making clear in what ways people have been transformed by the horrific experience of collective blindness.

    As I mentioned earlier, the doctor's wife is the only character who does not go blind. She remains free from infection. This allows her to assist the group of blind people. Her eyes allow her to exercise a degree of control over the situation. It is she who kills the blind man with the gun. It is she who leads the blind in their search for food and shelter.

    Blindness is clearly a sign of limitation in this novel. It causes the entire society to no longer function. It also places blind people in the condition of physical jeopardy and psychological torment. The society no longer functions because the blind are not able to provide the ordinary services that we are routinely dependent upon for survival: the production and distribution of food, water and electricity and the maintenance of the infrastructure of transportation and communication.

    The central problem with Saramago's novel is that his master sign "blindness" is a floating signifier. No matter what his intention, the metaphor of blindness has a real referent. Readers of this novel are faced with an ambiguity, the relationship between the "symbolic" and the "real". The authorial voice of the novel and the critical response which has appeared in the mainstream press has occluded the problem of the referent. Saramago writes as if his metaphorical depiction of misfortune and catastrophe could somehow be innocent of the cultural meanings that are routinely associated with visual impairment. It is interesting to note that reviews which have appeared in the mainstream press fail to even consider that the use of blindness as a metaphor might pose a problem.

    Reviewers have often made the comparison between Blindness and Camus' Plague, Kafka's Trial and Golding's Lord of the Flies. None of the reviews I have read have made the more obvious comparison to H.G. Wells' short story "The Country of the Blind". In this story, Wells uses blindness to represent a restricting society and the struggle of the individual against social conformity. Both Saramago and Wells use blindness as a sign of limitation because this idea is readily available. It is part of our common stock of cultural images. They use "blindness" for the same reason that Golding uses "children" in Lord of the Flies.

    Like Camus, Saramago uses disease as a way of representing social and political crisis. Both authors emphasize the human response to social catastrophe. However, there is a problem with the representation of historical events by means of a medical model. In this representation, nature displaces the social and replaces it with an image of fate. As a consequence, blindness is defined as a physical condition.

    Saramago's writings have often been discussed as an example of "magic realism". However, Blindness has more in common with Kafka's allegorical novels than it does with works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Salman Rushdie.

    The fundamental problem posed by allegorical novels is how to locate their political and social meaning. Saramago provides his readers with few clues to guide interpretation. The story is set in an unnamed country, somewhere in the second half of the twentieth century. There are few identifying characteristics that provide a context for the events that transpire.

    The epidemic of blindness takes place without any apparent cause; the disease spreads quickly and as the novel ends the blind are getting their vision back. Their recovery has as little explanation as the onset of blindness. The problem the reader is faced with is what to make of the metaphorical illness, the social catastrophe, and the miraculous recovery. What does it all mean?

    Near the end of the book, Saramago has one of his characters suggest that perhaps they had never really been blind, that perhaps the sighted do not really see. If this is meant to be the underlying message of the novel it is, in fact, not a very original idea, since the analogy between "seeing" and "understanding" is one of the oldest ideas in Western philosophy. It is perhaps most clearly illustrated in Book 7 of The Republic, where Plato uses a visual metaphor to illustrate the limits of human understanding. He describes a cave where several people are seated in such a way that they cannot see the direct light of the fire. Instead, they can only see its distorted shadows upon the wall of the cave.

    I suspect that Saramago is more interested in probing the human capacity to understand social reality than the Platonic concept of Absolute Truth. I wish he had chosen a better way of representing this quest.


    Plato. 1961.The Collected Dialogues of Plato. Princeton: Princeton University Press

    Saramago, Jose. 1997. Blindness. New York: Harcourt Brace

    Wells, H. G. 1911. The Country of The Blind and Other Stories. London: T. Nelson

    Bob Corbett

    Jack Tworkov:express the creative force of the unconscious in art.

    The automatic method tried to tap the unconscious mind and put it on a canvas without the interference of the conscious mind. Doodling was one manifestation, as was most of abstract expressionism.

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    Wanted: The last Nazis

    By Claire Soares
    Thursday, 1 May 2008

    At first glance, the mugshots appear to be a gallery of roguish grandfathers, but the octo- and nonagenarians are the 10 most-wanted fugitives of one of the most heinous regimes the world has ever seen. They are the last remaining Nazis, and the codename of the hunt to find them – Operation Last Chance – says it all

    More than 60 years after the Nuremberg trials put the first of Hitler's henchmen in the dock, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre yesterday released its most wanted list of the remaining Nazi war criminals. The battle to bring them to justice is complicated by a mix of political apathy, legal wrangling, legendary powers of evasion and what Nazi-hunters term "misplaced sympathy" for the craggy-faced men in their twilight years.

    "They are old, and the natural tendency is to be sympathetic toward people when they reach a certain age, but the passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the perpetrators," said Efraim Zuroff, the Jerusalem-based director of the Wiesenthal Centre. "If we were to put a chronological limit on prosecution, we would basically be saying you can get away with genocide."

    The top target is Aribert Heim, now 93. Jewish prisoners at Mauthausen concentration camp probably knew better him as "Doctor Death". The Austrian medic would inject petrol and an array of different poisons straight into the hearts of his so-called patients to see which killed them fastest. He once removed the tattooed flesh of a prisoner and turned it into soft furnishings for his commandant's flat.

    An 18-year-old Jewish footballer and swimmer who was sent to Heim with an inflammation of the foot was knocked out, castrated and then decapitated. His head was boiled to remove the flesh and his skull was put on display. "[Heim] needed the head because of its perfect teeth," testified one hospital worker at the camp, according to an arrest warrant uncovered by the Associated Press news agency.

    Although the hunt for the fugitives continues, the race is on to bring them to justice before they die. Conscious of the ticking clock, Mr Zuroff will launch a media blitz in South America this summer, airing adverts there for the first time which publicise the $485,000 (£245,000) reward offered for Heim's arrest.

    Heim has been on the run since 1962 when, happily married and working as a gynaecologist in the West German town of Baden-Baden, he was tipped off that his arrest was imminent. Proof that he is still alive after all these years may be the €1m (£785,000) sitting in a Berlin bank account, which would probably have been claimed by his family if he were dead. The best guess now is that the doctor is in either in Chile, where his daughter lives, or Argentina – a favoured destination for fleeing Nazis, including the architect of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, and another lover of ghoulish medical experiments, Josef Mengele.

    It is only Heim whose whereabouts are unknown. For the other nine suspects, Mr Zuroff rattles off a string of house numbers and street names in cities around the world – from Klagenfurt in Austria to Perth, Australia. In these cases, the biggest problem is a lack of political will. John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian emigrĂ©, was extradited from the US to Israel in 1986 and sentenced to death for allegedly being the Treblinka camp guard "Ivan the Terrible". But Israel's Supreme Court overturned the ruling and released him. He is now fighting deportation from America.

    "Some countries don't have the guts or the courage to prosecute and punish," sighs Mr Zuroff. "Nazi war criminals are not serial killers. They are not likely to murder again and the governments basically know that in a few years they will pass away."

    Take Sandor Kepiro, who is No 3 on the list. Now aged 93, he was among Hungarian officers alleged to have carried out a three-day massacre of more than 1,000 mostly Jewish people on the banks of the Danube in Serbia. He was convicted in 1944 but was pardoned and moved to Austria. In 1946, he was convicted again – in absentia – and decided to flee further afield, this time to Argentina.

    Half a century later, he slipped secretly back into his homeland after being assured he would not face punishment. But when he was discovered living in Budapest in 2006, there was a public outcry. No decision has been made on whether he will stand trial.

    Hungary is one of nine countries to be given a "failing" grade in the Wiesenthal Centre's annual scorecard. Sweden is another; lambasted for its blanket refusal to investigate Nazi-era crimes, because of a statute of limitations which kicks in at 25 years for all acts of murder, including genocide.

    Another is Australia; accused of being too slow in processing the extradition of most-wanted Nazi No 7, Charles Zentai.

    "For three years, they let this guy play games in court," says Mr Zuroff. "When you are talking about three years for someone who is in his 80s, that is a long time and could, effectively, help him elude justice."

    Mr Zentai, now 86 and living in a Perth suburb, is accused of beating an 18-year-old called Peter Balazs to death when he caught him riding a Budapest tram without wearing a yellow star to identify himself as a Jew. Mr Zentai denies the charges and has been fighting extradition since 2005. Last week, he lost a constitutional challenge against state magistrates ruling on his case. His family claims the incriminating witness testimony came from confessions beaten out of soldiers. They say that he stands little chance of a fair trial in Hungary, should extradition go ahead.

    Mr Zentai's son, Ernie Steiner, said yesterday: "I know my father was never a Nazi, so why is a Nazi-hunter hunting my father? He was never involved in the Holocaust or the mistreatment of Jews. So this is a complete fabrication."

    He dismissed the Most Wanted List as the theatrics of a bounty hunter, saying: "Of course there's a principle of justice but, when you've got the wrong bloke, you are persecuting an innocent man."

    One who didn't get away

    The case of the "Executioner of Bolzano" has been a triumph for Nazi hunters. Michael Seifert tortured his victims in the north Italian concentration camp using fire, broken bottles, clubs and ice-cold water.
    After the war he moved to Canada, working in a Vancouver mill and raising his family. In 2000, he was convicted in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering at least 18 people but it was two years before he was arrested by the Canadian police at Italy's request. He began a long fight against extradition, which ended in failure this February when, at the age of 83, he was finally deported to Rome to serve his sentence.