Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal dies aged 96

20th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

20 September 2005, VIENNA - World famous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal died early Tuesday aged 96 of multiple internal organ failure at his Viennese home, the Vienna Jewish Community said. The death of the legendary head of the Jewish Documentation Center caused a wave of dismay round the world. In post-war decades, concentration camp survivor Wiesenthal was involved in the arrest of more than 1,000 Nazis, above all the notorious Adolf Eichmann. The Nazi hunter's invariable slogan was "justice, not revenge"

20 September 2005

VIENNA - World famous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal died early Tuesday aged 96 of multiple internal organ failure at his Viennese home, the Vienna Jewish Community said.

The death of the legendary head of the Jewish Documentation Center caused a wave of dismay round the world.

In post-war decades, concentration camp survivor Wiesenthal was involved in the arrest of more than 1,000 Nazis, above all the notorious Adolf Eichmann. The Nazi hunter's invariable slogan was "justice, not revenge".

The Jewish Community said Wiesenthal's funeral would be in Israel on Friday. In Vienna beforehand, there would be a farewell ceremony at the Central Cemetery on Wednesday. The body would then be flown to Israel.

Black flags would be flown over Vienna City Hall for Wiesenthal, who was an honorary citizen of the capital city.

Tributes poured in on Tuesday from Austria and round the world. Israeli President Moshe Katzav, on a state visit to Latvia, said Wiesenthal had striven for "a better world" and been an embodiment of "human decency". He had been "the greatest fighter of our generation".

The Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial site Yad Vashem issued a statement saying he had been the symbol of the hunt for Nazis, and "the conscience of the world".

French President Jacques Chirac paid tribute to Wiesenthal as "a tireless fighter for law and justice". German President Horst Koehler said he had set an example to future generations. He had made it possible for Germany to look into the future again.

In a statement from the Los Angeles Wiesenthal center, its chief Rabbi Marvin 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."

Austrian President Heinz Fischer said: "The name of Simon Wiesenthal will live on honourably through his worldwide work, his documentation centers, and in many other ways."

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said Wiesenthal had been "a tireless fighter against forgetting". Despite his personal experiences, Wiesenthal's aim was always to be vigilant, and to see that the most terrible epoch in history could not be repeated. "We will hold him and his work in honour."

Opposition Social Democrat (SP) leader Alfred Gusenbauer said that up till a very advanced age, Wiesenthal had fought tirelessly "to uncover the crimes of the Holocaust and lead Nazi culprits to their just punishments".

Opposition Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen spoke of Wiesenthal as "a great Austrian" who was also honoured round the world.

Head of the right-wing Freedom Party (FP), Heinz-Christian Strache, said Wiesenthal's work had also sometimes been "critically regarded". He said that Wiesenthal, up till an advanced age, had tried for his own ends to face up to "the tragedy of his life".

Among Wiesenthal's most spectacular cases, besides Eichmann, was that of Karl Silberbauer, who arrested 14-year-old Anne Frank in Amsterdam, and was discovered in 1963 working as a police inspector in Vienna.

In 1967, Wiesenthal tracked down the former commandant of the Nazi concentration camp at Treblinka, Franz Stangl, in Brazil, and in 1987 was involved in the capture of former commander of the Przemysl ghetto, Josef Schwammberger, in South America.

In all, Wiesenthal helped to bring more than 1,100 cases to court, even if by far not all of them led to convictions. Over half a century, he contributed perhaps more than any other individual to clearing up Nazi crimes.

DPA

Subject: German news

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