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When he recovered, he was taken back to Janowska. By then Allied forces were closing in on the Nazis. Wiesenthal and 33 others — out of an original , prisoners — who had not died or been moved out of the camp were lined up to be shot. For a third time, Wiesenthal was saved. Commandant Friedrich Warzok decided to let the prisoners live so they would need guarding — and the officer and his men would not have to go to the eastern front to fight.

Warzok moved his prisoners west. Some were shot. Searching for food, Wiesenthal and a corporal named Merz fell into a conversation. Merz asked what he would do if he ever got to New York and people inquired about the concentration camps. They'd say you were crazy. Might even put you into a madhouse. How can anyone believe this terrible business -- unless they lived through it? With that, biographer Pick wrote, Wiesenthal made a decision: If he survived, he would show the world that the Nazis really had committed these atrocities, so there would be no erasure of history.

SS officers from the southern Polish city of Krakow found Warzok and his prisoners. They shot more of the Jews, then took Wiesenthal to the Plaszow camp in Poland and subsequently to the Gross-Rosen camp in what was then Germany but is now Poland. At Gross-Rosen, he found a fellow captive who knew "Irene Kowalska," the name his wife was using, in Warsaw.

The Nazis, this fellow prisoner said, had burned the homes on her street with flamethrowers and blown up the remains. Days later, Wiesenthal faced death for the fourth time. An SS guard lifted a rock to bash in his head. Accidentally, the guard dropped it, smashing Wiesenthal's foot. The Nazis amputated a toe, without anesthetic.

The next day the quarry was evacuated. Using a broomstick to prop himself up, Wiesenthal hobbled out. Guards took him and others to the Buchenwald concentration camp, then finally to Mauthausen, outside Linz, Austria. The horror of Mauthausen indelibly shaped Wiesenthal's view of the Holocaust, especially its victims. More than , prisoners passed through the camp, according to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

About , died. Of those, 38, — fewer than a third — were Jews. The others included Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Spanish Republicans, common criminals and "anti-social elements. It would become Wiesenthal's lifelong conviction that non-Jews must be counted among the victims of the Holocaust. He arrived at Mauthausen on a train that carried him and 2, others for six days without food or water.

He stood in freight cars where died. The cars were so crammed that many of the dead remained on their feet, unable to fall. An additional died during a four-mile walk from the train station to the concentration camp. Wiesenthal collapsed in the snow and was lifted onto a truck carrying the dead. Other prisoners revived him, but took him to the "death block. His weight fell to less than pounds.

He told Pick that he had stayed alive only because of a Polish trusty, who occasionally gave him a piece of bread. The trusty also helped him stay sane. He gave Wiesenthal pencils and paper, with which the captive sketched prisoners and the commandant, Franz Ziereis, who boasted, according to biographer Levy, that he had given his son a birthday present: "50 Jews for target practice. Wiesenthal drew a nearby quarry, as well, depicting it as Dante's Inferno. From the bottom, prisoners carried paving stones up steps. Many died on the way. To entertain SS chieftain Heinrich Himmler, guards threw 1, Dutch Jews from the rim to their deaths feet below.

The SS called it "parachute jumping. On May 5, , Col. Richard Seibel led troops of the U. Wiesenthal saw a large gray tank with a white star on its side and the Stars and Stripes waving from its gun turret. He struggled to reach the courtyard. The tank with the white star was about a hundred yards in front of me.

I wanted to touch the star, but I was too weak. I had survived to see this day, but I couldn't make it the last hundred yards. I remember taking a few steps, and then my knees gave way, and I fell on my face. I felt the rough texture of an olive drab American uniform brush up against my bare arms. I couldn't speak; I couldn't even open my mouth. I pointed to the white star, I touched the cold, dusty armor with my hands and then I fainted.

Seibel and his troops found as many as 10, bodies in a single grave. Among the living "were thousands who had been starved, beaten and cruelly tortured," Seibel told his superiors in a report quoted in Pick's book. I saw the dissection rooms and the cooling rooms where the bodies were stacked like planks of wood. I saw the highly charged electric fences where prisoners, who could no longer endure the suffering, threw themselves for a swift death.

I saw the bunkheads [sic] in the barracks, bunks made for one man, where prisoners so emaciated could sleep three to a bed. Man's inhumanity to man did exist. The world must not be allowed to forget the depths to which mankind can sink, lest it should happen again. Wiesenthal was too shattered physically to leave. Two days after liberation, he was beaten by a disgruntled trusty. His friends urged him to report the incident. He went to U.


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Army offices and walked through a door with a scrawled sign: "War Crimes. He watched as American officers gathered information for possible prosecutions. Wiesenthal went back to the War Crimes Office and offered his services. A lieutenant colonel saw how weak he was and simply shook his head. The Americans urged him to return to Poland and resume his architectural career.

He refused. Ten days later, after gaining some weight and rubbing his cheeks with red paper to give them color, he returned to the War Crimes Office. He was sent to arrest an SS man named Schmidt, who had been a guard at Mauthausen. Schmidt lived on the second floor of a nearby apartment building. He did not resist. Wiesenthal said he himself was so weak that Schmidt had to help him back down the stairs. Wiesenthal tried to find his wife's body so he could arrange a proper burial.

He wrote to a lawyer in Krakow and asked him to go to Warsaw to look for her remains.

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A few days after receiving Wiesenthal's letter, the lawyer got an unexpected visit from a woman on her way to Lvov hoping she might find her husband. It was Cyla Wiesenthal. They were reunited in Linz. I put the names of my family. No one [in either family] is alive in Europe. To have a family, they decided, they had to have a child. Their daughter, Paulinka, was born in September in Linz. Eventually she would marry a lawyer in Israel and give her parents grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

From the start, Cyla Wiesenthal was not enthusiastic about her husband's new line of work, which was demanding and dangerous and paid little. She once said that living with the Nazi hunter was like being "married to thousands, or maybe millions, of dead. Cyla wanted him to resume architecture, perhaps go to Israel with her, and leave the Holocaust behind. Although they disagreed, Cyla Wiesenthal stood by her husband. Still, she rarely joined him at functions and declined interviews. They lived quietly and had few close friends in Austria.

They were married for 67 years. She was buried in Herzliya, Israel, where Paulinka lives and where Simon Wiesenthal will also be buried Friday after a memorial service today in Vienna. In addition to their daughter, they are survived by three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Among those who plan to attend the funeral is Martin Mendelsohn, a Washington attorney and a former director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which hunts Nazi war criminals.

Mendelsohn, who visited his old friend recently in Vienna, said Wiesenthal had been suffering from kidney problems. He said Wiesenthal's death was "a monumental loss" both for him personally and for the rest of the world. He had grown frustrated when, with the onset of the Cold War, the United States and its allies were more concerned with helping West Germany rebuild its army as a bulwark against the Soviet Union than finding and prosecuting German war criminals. He developed correspondents among , Holocaust survivors across Germany, Austria and Italy. They distributed photographs to identify and find former SS officers, who, according to Wiesenthal, rarely used their real names after and sometimes had pseudonyms even during the war.

Within three months, Wiesenthal knew of 1, places where war crimes had been committed. He sent his information to the Allies. When the International Military Tribunal met at Nuremberg in and to try Nazi war criminals, it used some of his files. Wiesenthal's work drew his attention to Eichmann, described by historian Raul Hilberg as "the supreme practitioner" of extermination. Eichmann was a participant in the infamous Wannsee Conference in , at which the Nazis adopted their "Final Solution," and he was assigned to implement the plan.

Eichmann expedited the deaths of millions of Jews. Perisco cites one SS officer who testified that Eichmann had told him "he would leap laughing into the grave, because the feeling that he had 5 million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction. His wife, Veronika Liebel, obtained a divorce and asked a local court for a declaration that Eichmann was dead, so she could receive a pension. A clever hoax, Wiesenthal thought. If Eichmann were declared dead, he would disappear from wanted lists, and his case would be closed.

Liebel submitted an affidavit from a man saying he had seen Eichmann killed during a battle in Prague. But Wiesenthal had affidavits from people saying they had seen him alive since. He sent an investigator to Prague, who learned that the man who had signed the affidavit was Liebel's brother-in-law. In , Wiesenthal learned that Eichmann had gone to Rome and hidden in a monastery. In , he was told that the Nazi had been seen near Buenos Aires.

Wiesenthal had no resources to search in South America. The year-old Wiesenthal became extremely depressed and collapsed physically. His doctor ordered him to rest, according to biographer Pick. For six years, he supported his family by writing articles about neo-Nazis and doing vocational rehabilitation training for a Jewish organization. In , a German prosecutor told the Israelis he had learned that Eichmann was indeed in Argentina. Wiesenthal said he had passed along information that Eichmann's mother-in-law was telling friends that her daughter had remarried and was living in Argentina with a man named "Klemt.

Yad Vashem officials flew Wiesenthal to Jerusalem.

Nazi Hunter: The Wiesenthal File

It was vindication for all of the delays, disappointments and slights he had suffered in pursuing his cause. At a news conference, Wiesenthal said, "Eichmann's seizure was in no way a single person's achievement. It was a collaboration in the best sense of the word. I can only talk about my own contribution, and I do not even know if it was particularly valuable. But Wiesenthal, who initially resisted the idea, eventually wrote a book called "I Hunted Eichmann," which made him famous overnight.

The book accurately described what he had done, Pick said, but it left him open to attack because of the title, which suggested, some believed, that he had played the primary role in capturing Eichmann. Harel, the Mossad chief, grew angry. Ben-Gurion's government had been condemned by the U. Security Council for violating Argentine sovereignty. Ben-Gurion ordered the Mossad to say nothing about Eichmann for 15 years. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Nazi Hunter , please sign up.

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Jun 23, P. Winn rated it really liked it. Samuel Wiesenthal spent over 4 years in a concentration camp. Surviving that, he made finding the criminals who committed the atrocities his life work. This is a great story of the war, and overcoming heart break, personal horror and doing good despite what happened. Feb 02, Dr. One who is less than half aware of the history of the times might take up this book with a vague notion that it was about the life and persona of a man famous for hunting down some of the criminals against humanity who had managed to hide from justice for years, indeed, for decades, until his efforts caught up with them.

And the book does begin with a chapter about him and his personal history, as a part of the larger scape that his time and place were deeply involved in, with all the resulting One who is less than half aware of the history of the times might take up this book with a vague notion that it was about the life and persona of a man famous for hunting down some of the criminals against humanity who had managed to hide from justice for years, indeed, for decades, until his efforts caught up with them.

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And the book does begin with a chapter about him and his personal history, as a part of the larger scape that his time and place were deeply involved in, with all the resulting finesses to do with the role of Austria and Austrians in the nazi movement, the anschluss, the holocaust and aftermath.

But really the book has a much larger canvas, which is that of the major parts of the work of the man in his untiring and often solitary on going war for justice in hunting the criminals down.

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And so the subsequent chapters methodically deal with some of the prominent nazis he managed to hunt down. But the surprising part is, despite the horror and disgust evoked by each of the said criminals, and they are indeed horrendous, with names involved being Eichmann, Mengele, Stangl and likes of them - it's the three or so chapters that deal with the question of Kurt Waldheim that grip one, and not only because he was head of U. At the very beginning, of course, there is a chapter describing his background - his being born, life in Poland that had shifting birders what with this or that neighbour occupying a part here or there, his education, and disruption of life that was brought by WWII and German occupation followed by ghetto life and concentration camps, his surviving it and miraculously meeting his wife who had equally miraculously survived as well, and the beginning of the life that he led thereafter, not as the architect he had qualified as but a seeker of justice for the victims of holocaust.

Only in Prague was I ever forgetting that I was a Jew. But a lie can never protect us from a lie. Those who falsify history do not protect the freedom of a nation but rather constitute a threat to it. The idea that a person can rewrite his autobiography is one of the traditional self-deceptions of Central Europe. When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete. Without Simon Wiesenthal, the subject of the Holocaust would not really receive serious attention anywhere in the world. But if there was one person who kept it alive, that was Simon Wiesenthal. So this is all to his credit that nobody can take away from him.

Simon was a stubborn man who kept it alive through the worst of times. Through this experience, my view on the Holocaust and the whole problem of Nazism is a lot different from Elie Wiesel, who was only six months in camps and only with Jews. For me was the Holocaust not only a Jewish tragedy, but also a human tragedy. After the war, when I saw that the Jews were talking only about the tragedy of six million Jews, I sent letters to Jewish organizations asking them to talk also about the millions of others who were persecuted with us together — many of them only because they helped Jews.

This made me unpopular with Jewish organizations — and, when the Wiesenthal Centre happened, I became a danger to them. But he and they are the diminishers, for it is they who reduced the whole tragedy to a problem between Nazis and Jews instead of a crime against humanity. I am also the bad conscience of the Jews.

I cannot teach my work to other people. There is nobody to succeed me, nobody left who is much younger, who would have my experience or could find out all that I carry in my head. But I will never retire. If I ever close my Centre here, I will have nothing to do but wait for my death. Besides, there are others waiting, too. For if I closed my office, it would be a Nazi holiday and a Jewish defeat — a defeat for humanity, a defeat for justice, too. You could make thriller after thriller out of my files, but I am not like James Bond because the results are not immediate; they can come in years, they may take generations.

And Don Quixote I am not. For a man who was in a ghetto and in concentration camps and lost all his blood relatives, my biggest personal satisfaction is not in having a Nazi arrested. They are my best informers. Hitler in my presence never spoke of a syphilitic disease, though this does not mean he might not have had one some time earlier.

From the moment he became the chief official physician of Hitler in , however, that listing of his specialty disappeared. If I can find a solution in another five or ten years, I would be very happy because this would give the whole story of Hitler and the Jews a different picture. In the early s, while working in a Seattle hospital, Dr Ronald had met a young Austrian doctor from Graz who said his late father, also a doctor, had treated Hitler for syphilis long ago. Though Dr Ronald gave Wiesenthal the name of his source, the young doctor from Graz later settled in the US and has not proved traceable.

In , there was a medical debate over whether Hitler was sterile or impotent and Dr Ronald wrote from Bordighera, Italy, to the International Herald Tribune that 'Hitler was rather unlucky in his sexual affairs. He caught — according to Dr Anwyl-Davies, the eminent London venereologist — syphilis from a Jewish prostitute in Vienna in and had to have anti-syphilitic treatment on and off for the next twenty years and it is not certain that he [was] ever completely cured. Wiesenthal suspects she killed herself after her uncle infected her with syphilis.

The two most important events of — both of which determined the entire future of Spanish history and much of world history — were the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and the discovery of America. All Jews had to be off Spanish soil by midnight of August second. But his sailors had orders to report on the night of the second. I asked myself why. And why did Columbus personally supervise the roll-call?

So I began to look at the roll he called. One tenth of his crew was Jews; some of them, I learned later, may have been rabbis. Very unusual at sea! This business of Queen Isabella hocking her jewels to pay for it is all legend. With the help of Marrano ministers of hers, the mission was entirely financed by Jewish money. Both were suspect. Who was he and what did the Jews want from him? Around , Columbus married a Portuguese noblewoman of Marrano descent. After some preliminary study, Wiesenthal went to Spain to examine materials preserved in the Biblioteca Columbina Columbus Library in Seville.

In the archives, Simon found a dozen intimate letters from Columbus to his son, Diego. All of them bore not just the obligatory cross at the top, but also a strange boat-like symbol in the upper left-hand corner. With the help of an American Jewish scholar named Maurice David, Wiesenthal deciphered it as two Hebrew characters, beth and hei, standing for baruch hashem, meaning Praised be the Lord.

The cross is a tribute to the religion you now follow, but within the circle of your family give the sign beth hei, so that they remember their origins. There were just too many coincidences. Wiesenthal is a unique survivor To understand him read Levy's book. It is greatly to the credit of Alan Levy that he has dared to give us an objective account of Wiesethal's career.

Wiesenthal has played his part in a disturbing episode of post-war history. He deserves this readable and intelligent book. Levy is ruthless in his determination to make every act of barbarity clear. It is impossible to turn the pages without feeling not just despair but revulsion. Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited. The Hairy Dieters: Fast Food.