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calendar   Tuesday - September 20, 2005

Obituary

imageimageNazi-hunter Wiesenthal Dies at 96
VIENNA (BBC)

Holocaust survivor and Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal has died in the Austrian capital, Vienna, aged 96. His death was announced by officials at the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center. He was credited with helping to bring more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice in the decades following World War II. They included Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Holocaust, and Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps in Poland.

Mr Wiesenthal died in his sleep at his home, according to Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which campaigns against anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance. “Simon Wiesenthal was the conscience of the Holocaust,” Mr Hier said. “When the Holocaust ended in 1945 and the whole world went home to forget, he alone remained behind to remember. He did not forget.

“He became the permanent representative of the victims, determined to bring the perpetrators of history’s greatest crime to justice… “The cause had few friends. The Allies were already focused on the Cold War, the survivors were rebuilding their shattered lives and Simon Wiesenthal was all alone, combining the role of both prosecutor and detective at the same time.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said: “Simon Wiesenthal’s passing saddens us all. He was a champion in the fight to bring to justice the 20th century’s worst criminals who had escaped justice. You can forgive crimes committed against you personally, but in my opinion you are not authorised to forgive for others.

“And in that effort, Wiesenthal earned the respect and the recognition of the state of Israel, of the Jewish people and of everyone… who supports the fight against racism, and injustice. “He helped make this planet a better place.” Lord Janner, a former war crimes investigator and chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, told the BBC: “He was my hero.

“He was a brave, fantastic, single-minded man who’d suffered hugely himself in concentration camps during the war and was determined to do whatever he could to bring at least some of the Nazis to justice.” The mayor of Vienna, Michael Haeupl, said he had worked tirelessly “to improve relations between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens”. Mr Wiesenthal, who grew up in Ukraine, was a prisoner in the Mauthausen death camp when it was liberated by the American troops in May 1945.

In the 1950s, he helped to track down Eichmann in Argentina. In 1960, Eichmann was abducted there by Israeli agents and subsequently tried, convicted and executed in Israel. Mr Wiesenthal went on to establish the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna to track down war criminals. It located Stangl in Brazil. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany in 1967, and died in prison.

Another high-profile case involved Hermine Ryan, a housewife living in Queens, New York, whom he accused of supervising the killings of hundreds of children at Majdanek camp. She was extradited to Germany for trial as a war criminal in 1973 and received life imprisonment. Mr Wiesenthal’s biggest disappointments were his failures to secure the capture of Gestapo chief Heinrich Muller and Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele.

Never forget.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 09/20/2005 at 10:45 AM   
Filed Under: • Genocide •  
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