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March 17, 1967 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-03-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Wiesenthars Story of Tracking Down of Nazi
Criminals Told in His Murderers Among Us'

A man who is seeking justice— I
not vengeance—for the murder of I
six million Jews by the Third
Reich tells his story in a new hook,
"The Murderers Among Us," to
he published March 31 by McGraw-
Hill. Simon Wiesenthal, who has
been directly or indirectly respon-
sible for the conviction of 900 top
Nazi party officials, has told his
story to New Yorker writer Joseph
Wechsberg and Wechsberg has
added his own three-chapter "Pro-
file!! of Wiesenthal to the account.
In 1939, Simon Wiesenthal was a
young married man with a prosper-
ing practice as an architect in Ga-
licia. That year, the Russians and
the Germans decided to partition
Poland between them, and the citi-
zens of Wiesenthal's home town
found themselves at first under
the subjugation of the Red Army,
and soon after under the power of
the German Third Reich. Wiesen-
thal spent from 1939 until the end
of the war in a series of endless
tasks and forced marches from
one Nazi concentration camp to an-
other. Miraculously, he escaped ex-
termination by the Nazis, as did
his wife, who spent most of the
war posing as a Polish woman in
Warsaw.
In 1945, Wiesenthal was re-
leased from Mauthausen prison
camp by the United States
forces. At that time, he volun-
teered and was accepted to do
work for the U.S. Office of Stra-
tegic Services and Counter-
Intelligence Corps which was
then tracking down Nazi crimi-
nals. Later, Wiesenthal went to
Linz, Austria, and opened his
own "Documentation Center"
where he kept files on prominent
Nazis and helped the survivors
of concentration camps to trace I
their missing relatives. Wiesen-
thal then believed that his wife
had been killed in Warsaw; she
in turn thought that her husband
had committed suicide in a con-
centration camp. It was through
one of the many connections that
Wiesenthal made through his
documentation center that he and
his wife were finally reunited.
Wiesenthal's Center soon became
occupied chiefly with maintaining
records and keeping a close trail
on the thousands of former SS
members who were still at large.
Wiesenthal did not and has never
received financial compensation
for this work—he has depended
largely upon volunteered financial
assistance and volunteered aid to
continue with his research. Since
the setting up of the center, at first
in Linz and later in Vienna, Aus-
tria, vast numbers of people have
come to Wiesenthal with informa-
tion, strange stories to tell, and
offers of help as assistants or spe-
cial agents. •
As the result of his collected
information, Wiesenthal has the
names of 22,500 wanted criminals
on file, with data as to what
crimes they committed, where
and when, where they have been
seen since the end of the war,
and their most recently known
headquarters and occupations.
German enthusiasm for rounding
up Nazi criminals died down in
the early 50s, and in 1954, Wiesen-
thal was forced to close his docu-
mentation c e n t e r temporarily,
since the lack of cooperation in
his searchings by the German and
Austrian governments left him
practically powerless. At the time
there were, and still are, a large
number of top ranking Nazi offi-
cials, responsible for the deaths
of thousands, at large and pros-
pering in various parts of the
world.
The majority of their escapes,
Wiesenthal reveals, were carried
out by a secret organization called
ODESSA, a high-powered Nazi
"underground railway" which was
begun after the war and is still
running smoothly. Shortly before
the end of the war, Wiesenthal re-
ports, a group of Germany's top
businessmen and industrial leaders
met secretly and set up arrange-
ments to send large amounts of
money to various banks and other

interests outside of Germany; in
addition they arranged to have pre-
cious jewels and other valuables
sent to the 'bottom of deep lakes
in Germany and Austria at spe-
cially designated spots. It is these
funds that have helped to finance
ODESSA.
"Experts have estimated the
assets the Nazis managed to hide
in various parts of the world at
$750,000,000 and perhaps as high
as a billion dollars," Wiesenthal
says. "The list of people author-
ized to dispose of these funds has
been called the most important
unsolved secret of the Third
Reich." Wiesenthal believes that
one of those lists may be found
at the bottom of Lake Toplitz in
Austria, where a large haul of
Nazi treasure has already, been
brought up.
In 1961, Wiesenthal opened up his
"Documentation Center" on c e
more. Because of the capture of
Adolf Eichmann by the Israelis in
1960, worldwide interest in prose-
cuting Nazi criminals had been re-
vived. Wiesenthal himself had an
instrumental role in finding the
information necessary to locate,
capture and indict Eichmann.
Eichmann's capture was a mile-
stone for Wiesenthal and others
who seek to bring war criminals
to justice. But Eichmann is only
the head of a long list of people
that Wiesenthal would like to bring
to trial. Among those still wanted
is Martin Bormann, the most
hunted Nazi still living, with a
price of $100,000 on his head.
Franz Stang', former head of
the Treblinka camp in Poland, re-
sponsible for the murder of close
to 700,000 people, was apprehended
last week_with Wiesenthal's aid.
Dr. Josef Mengele, noted for the
sadistic medical experiments he
performed on his victims and who
in 1944 determined who out of
thousands of Hungarians detained
at Auschwitz would live or die, is
still at large.

It was to prove to a group of
Austrian students that the Diary
of Anne Frank was not a "forg-
ery" that Wiesenthal tracked down
the Gestapo officer who had ar-
rested the Frank family in Hol-
land. The man turned out to be
working as a member of the Aus-
trian police force when Wiesenthal
found him. The apathy of Jews
and Aryans alike toward the solv-
ing of old crimes disturbs Wie-
senthal too, and the outright hos-
tility he has encountered in Aus-
tria when attempting to bring a
former Nazi to trial.
Many , peoeple have asked Wie-
sental why the Jews did not resist
their captors more vigorously dur-
ing the holocaust of World War
II, and why, after the war, they
did not seek their revenge. He ad-
mits that "the historical chance
of moral retribution was missed,
`the survivors of the camps were
too weak, too apathetic for any
concerted action,' he says . .
" 'the job of retribution was mostly
left to those who never suffered
in a concentration camp, the lucky
ones who had gotten out in time
. . . Our critics have a point. It's
too late now. Many murderers will
remain among us.' "
Wiesenthal, as both he and
Wechsberg testify, is not out for
"revenge" but for justice. He does
not believe in collective guilt and
in many cases has sought lenient
sentences for SS men who showed
leniency themselves. No one is a
"case" or a "statistic" to him—
as Wechsberg says, Wiesenthal's
constant preoccupation with terror
has made him neither despondent%
nor callous. It is his strength and
perhaps also his weakness that his
files are not `cases'; each to him
is a human being."

Wiesenthal has become famous
throughout Germany and Austria
as the man who will not let the
past die until justice has been
restored as far as is humanly
possible.

The whereabouts of most of the Israel Pavilion to Carry
wanted men are known, but in the Country's Favorite Foods
majority of cases they have be-
The only fully kosher facility
come residents of countries that at Expo '67 will be at the Israel
have no extradition agreements pavilion
ere Israeli specialties,
with foreign governments. Dr. including humus,
tehina and falafel,
Mengele, Wiesenthal reports, is a also will be served. A new range
citizen of Paraguay. As long of Israel's wine will be available
as they remain where they are, to the public.
they are safe.
The restaurant will- have adja-
The murderers among us are cent an outdoor patio where drinks
not the only enemies with which will be served under colorful para-
Wiesenthal has to deal. He says sols.
that among the worst enemies of
Close by, near - the exit of the
justice are ignorance, apathy pavilion, there will be a counter
and the passage of time. The ig- where books, records and stamps
norance of today's youth in Ger- will be sold. Across a footbridge
many and Austria has been a over a picturesque canal, the visi-
source of distress to Wiesenthal, tor will find the Israel boutique,
who feels that only through tell- Kadimah. It will feature many
ing the younger generation what
hand-made items, mosaics, glass,
really happened in the 30s and jewelry and batiks. Most of these
40s can such a thing be pre- items have not been previously
vented from happening again.
available in North America.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Gift of trees

Coins in blue and white box

Contributions to

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
has accomplished all this .. .

PLANT A TREE IN ISRAEL

BONN (JTA)—Otto Bovensiepen,
61, whom a Danish court sentenced
to death in 1951 for his war crimes
in that country during the German
occupation, was arrested at Muel-
heim, West Germany, Monday,
and turned over to the West Berlin
authorities for trial on charges
that he had given the orders for
the deportation of 50,000 Berlin
Jews to death camps.
Bovensiepen headed the Gestapo
office in Berlin from 1941 to 1943.
Later he was transferred to Den-
mark. The latter country released
him in 1953, after his death sen-
tence had been commuted to life
imprisonment. He has been living
in Germany since his return in
1953. -
Officials announced in Bonn they
had traced former SA General
Fritz Gruettenmeir, a high-ranking
Nazi sought since the end of the
\var. He is charged with having
shot a leading JeNVish journalist,
Felix Fechenbach en route to the
Dachau death camp in 1933. He
was found to have been living
under a false name since 1945.
At Bremen, the prosecution in
the trial of former SS officer
Philip Messinger, accused on eight
counts of murdering Jews during
World War II, requested that the
man be given a life sentence at
hard labor.
At Darmstadt, the local prose-
cutor announced he has obtained
indictments against 10 former
SS men, charged with the killing
of 34,000 Jews in the Kiev ravine
of Babi Yar, during Germany's
occupation of the Ukrainian capi-
tal in 1941. The men were ac-
cused of being members of Spe-
cial Commando Unit 4-A, respon-
sible for the killing of a total of
80,000 persons during Germany's
occupation of portions of the
Soviet Union.
In Frankfurt, a former "selec-
tion doctor" at the Auschwitz
death camp, who is awaiting trial
on charges of mass murder, testi-
fied Tuesday that he set up the
first death center in 1940 for Hit-
ler's "euthanasia" program to kill
persons considered unfit to live
under Nazi racial laws.
Dr. Horst Schumann, who was
extradited from Ghana last year
after a long legal battle, testified
at the trial of three doctors here
accused of participation in the
_mass murder of mental patients
during the Nazi regime.
Schumann said he did not dare
to refuse participation in the eutha-
nasia program because he had
been informed that murdering in-
curably ill mental patients was an
order from Hitler with the force
of law. The date for Schumann's
trial has not yet been set. The
doctors on trial are Klaus Endru-
welt, Heinrich Bunke and Aquilin
Ulrich.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil, two Jewish

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

18414 WYOMING, DETROIT 21, MICHIGAN

19

organizations sent letters of appre-
ciation and praise to Brazilian
authorities for the arrest last week
of Franz Paul Stangl, long-missing
former commandant of the Nazi
death camps at Treblinka and Sobi-
bor in wartime Poland.
The letters were sent by the
Israelite Confederation of Brazil
and the Jewish Federation of the
State of Sao Paulo. The confedera-
tion message was addressed to Sao
Paulo Governor Roberto Abreu
Sodre, who announced the capture
of the former Nazi commandant
who has been accused of com-
plicity in the murder of 700,000
Jews. .
The Confederation message said
that Brazilian Jewry greeted with
"great satisfaction" the applica-
tion with "seriousness and firm-
ness" of "justice and law" to the
Stangl case. The letter added that
the confederation felt it was "our
grateful duty to transmit our high
appreciation of the attitude of our
govern/bent."
Praising the efficiency of the
security and police forces, the
message expressed "the firm con-
viction that, in accordance with
the noble tradition of Brazil, we
trust that similar cases will always
be treated by our authorities with
the same rigorous and decisive
action."
Stangl is being held under maxi-
mum security detention, awaiting
a court hearing on an Austrian
request for his extradition as a
war criminal long sought by
Austria.

U.S. Catholic Leaders
Plant Trees in Israel

Nine Catholic leaders represent-
ing millions of American Catholics
planted trees with their own hands
in the Jewish National Fund plant-
ing center at the Kennedy Memo-
rial and Peace Forest outside Jeru-
salem recently.
The planting ceremony, a high-
light of their study tour of Israel,
opened with the recital of the tra-
ditional planter's prayer, first in
English by the entire group led
by the Most Reverend Charles P.
Grecco, D.D., Bishop of Alexan-
dria, La., chairman of the Confra-
ternity of Christian Doctrine and
Supreme Chaplain of the Knights
of - Columbus, then in Hebrew by
Dr. AI. C. Weiler of the fund's
Jerusalem office.
Participants represented the Na-
tional Councils of Catholic Men
and Worrien, Knights of Columbus,
St. John's Military Academy in
Washington, National Retreat
Movement, and Catholic Institute
of the Press.

He who sees a Sage die is as if
he saw a Scroll of the Tora burn.
Rabbi Abbahu said: "I fast on such
a day." — T. J. Moed Katon, 3. -

IN THE SYNAGOGUE
THIS PURIM

Sat. Eve., March 25 and Sun. Morn., March 26

Respond to the appeal of Keren Kayemeth! In the
Synagogue, in your organization, in your home.
Help the JNF carry out its great and sacred task
of bringing the lalid of Israel back to life by turn-
ing deserts and desolations into fields and farms,
forests,- and highways, thus, changing the map of
our ancient homeland which is the map of Jew-
ish destiny.

Nom mos wilimmimpommolismimiwo

• Redeemed over 3 million dunams
of land
• Established over 600 settlements
• Planted more than 80,000,000 Trees

-

Nazi Said to Have Deported 50,000
Arrested in Germany; Others Seized

IT'S A FACT

YOUR
YOUR
YOUR

Friday, March 17, 1967

Phone UN 4-2161

For Your TREE ORDERS



IINI

IIIIIII ION EN

NM EMI MN MN NMI MN

PLANT TREES
FOR ALL OCCASIONS

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