One of the world’s most wanted war criminals, the reputed top lieutenant of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann, is presumed to have died at least four years ago in Syria, where he lived under government protection, a leading Nazi hunter said on Monday.
Alois Brunner, an Austrian SS officer found responsible for the World War II deportation of 125,500 European Jews to Nazi death camps, escaped from Germany at the war’s end and went to Egypt, before arriving in Syria in 1954, said Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.
Brunner resided in Damascus under an alias and was employed by former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, the father of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as a terrorism and security expert, Zuroff told reporters.
Brunner was reported seen alive as late as 2003 at a Damascus hotel, but a German intelligence source informed the Wiesenthal Center four years ago that Brunner had since died and was buried in Syria, Zuroff said.
Although never brought to justice, Brunner was tried and sentenced to death in absentia in France in 1954 for crimes against humanity. He lost several fingers and an eye in two letter-bomb assassination attempts attributed to Israeli agents.
Zuroff said the Wiesenthal Center was never able to forensically verify Brunner’s death, but had hoped to obtain corroborating information before announcing it, an effort stymied by Syria’s civil war.
Were he alive, Brunner would now be 102, Zuroff said.
The Nazi-hunting center decided this year to remove Brunner from its roster of fugitive war criminals on its Web site, operationlastchance.org, Zuroff said.
He said he went public with details about Brunner’s presumed demise in recent days when asked about him during an interview with Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper.
“He was a notorious, fanatical anti-Semite,” Zuroff said, citing a 1985 German magazine interview in which Brunner was asked if he had any regrets and was quoted as saying he regretted he had not murdered more Jews.
Zuroff called Brunner the last of the top-tier Nazi operatives responsible for planning and carrying out the genocide of European Jews “in a broad sense, as opposed to people involved in the murder of Jews in one specific place or operation.”
He was described as the right-hand man to Eichmann, a leading Holocaust architect who was captured in Argentina in 1960 and later hanged after a highly publicized trial in Israel.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by