An organisation which hunts Nazi war criminals has criticised Australia and several other countries for failing to do enough to bring alleged perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice.

In its 12th annual report, the Israel branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre accuses a raft of nations of failing to prosecute or investigate alleged Nazis.

"The most disappointing result in a specific case during the period under review was , who was accused of the murder in November 1944 of 18-year-old Peter Balasz," it said.

The Los Angeles-based centre said Mr Zentai allegedly killed the Jewish teenager "whom he caught on a tram without the yellow star required of all Jews," and took part in manhunts for other Jews in Budapest in 1944.

Last year the court ruled that Mr Zentai could not be extradited because the offence of committing a war crime did not exist at the time of the alleged incident.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre .

Mr Zentai, a 90-year-old Perth man, has always maintained his innocence.

Only the United States scored an "A" on the report, with Canada, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Serbia each earning a "B".

At the bottom of the table, Australia, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Norway, Sweden and Syria were all given "F" grades.

"Countries like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Ukraine consistently failed to hold any Holocaust perpetrators accountable, primarily due to a lack of the requisite political will," the report said.

It added that Sweden and Norway "refuse to investigate, let alone prosecute, due to a statute of limitations".

At the top of the centre's list of most-wanted alleged war criminals is Alois Brunner, who is accused of being a key operative for Adolf Eichmann and of responsibility for the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews.

Born in 1912 and last seen in 2001, Brunner lived in Syria for decades, the centre said, but acknowledged the chances of his still being alive were "relatively slim".

The report came as Israel prepared to observe Holocaust Day from sundown on Sunday, with the entire nation coming to a standstill for two minutes of silence on Monday to remember the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust in World War II.

ABC/AFP

 

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