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Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner
(8 April 1912 – 2001[3] or 2010[4]) was an Austrian Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
(SS) officer who worked as Adolf Eichmann's assistant. Brunner is held responsible for sending over 100,000 European Jews
European Jews
to ghettos and internment camps in eastern Europe. He was commander of the Drancy internment camp
Drancy internment camp
outside Paris
Paris
from June 1943 to August 1944, from which nearly 24,000 people were deported. After some narrow escapes from the Allies in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Brunner fled West Germany
West Germany
in 1954, first for Egypt, then Syria, where he remained until his death. He was the object of many manhunts and investigations over the years by different groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal
Center, the Klarsfelds and others. He was condemned to death in absentia in France in 1954 for crimes against humanity. He lost an eye and then the fingers of his left hand as a result of letter bombs sent to him in 1961 and 1980, possibly by the Israeli Mossad. The government of Syria
Syria
under Hafez el-Assad
Hafez el-Assad
came close to extraditing him to East Germany, before this plan was halted by the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Brunner survived all the attempts to detain him and was unrepentant about his activities to the end. During his long residence in Syria, Brunner was reportedly granted asylum, a generous salary and protection by the ruling Ba'ath Party in exchange for his advice on effective torture and interrogation techniques used by the Germans in World War II.[5] Starting in the 1990s and continuing for two decades, there was periodic media speculation about Brunner's exact whereabouts and his possible demise. In November 2014, the Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal
Center reported that Brunner had died in Syria
Syria
in 2010, and that he was buried somewhere in Damascus. The exact date of death and place of death are unknown, with recent information pointing to 2001 as the year of his death.

Contents

1 Until 1945 2 After the war and escape to Syria 3 Letter bombs 4 Convictions in absentia 5 Later attempts to locate 6 Death 7 See also 8 Notes 9 Sources

Until 1945[edit] Born in Nádkút, Vas, Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
(now Rohrbrunn, Burgenland, Austria), he was the son of Joseph Brunner and Ann Kruise. He joined the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
in 1931 and the Sturmabteilung
Sturmabteilung
(SA) in 1932. After joining the SS in 1938, he was assigned to the staff of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Austria and became its director in 1939. He worked closely with Eichmann on the Nisko
Nisko
Plan, a failed attempt to set up a Jewish reservation in Nisko, Poland, later that same year.[6] Brunner held the rank of SS- Hauptsturmführer
Hauptsturmführer
(captain) when he organized deportations to Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
from Vichy France and Slovakia. He was commander of a train of Jews deported from Vienna to Riga
Riga
in February 1942. En route, Brunner shot and killed Jewish financier Siegmund Bosel, who, although ill, had been hauled out of a Vienna
Vienna
hospital and placed on the train. According to historian Gertrude Schneider, who as a young girl was deported to Riga
Riga
on the same train, but survived the Holocaust:

Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner
chained Bosel, still in his pajamas, to the platform of the first car—our car—and berated him for having been a profiteer. The old man repeatedly asked for mercy; he was very ill, and it was bitterly cold. Finally Brunner wearied of the game and shot him. Afterward, he walked into the car and asked whether anyone had heard anything. After being assured that no one had, he seemed satisfied and left.[7]

Before being named commander of Drancy internment camp
Drancy internment camp
near Paris
Paris
in June 1943, Brunner deported 43,000 Jews from Vienna
Vienna
and 46,000 from Salonika.[8] He was personally sent by Eichmann in 1944 to Slovakia to oversee the deportation of Jews. In the last days of the Third Reich he managed to deport another 13,500 from Slovakia[8] to Theresienstadt, Sachsenhausen, Bergen-Belsen, and Stutthof
Stutthof
of whom a few survived; the remainder, including all the children, were sent to Auschwitz, where none are known to have survived.[9] After the war and escape to Syria[edit] In an interview with the German magazine Bunte, in 1985, Brunner described how he escaped capture by the Allies immediately after World War II. The identity of Brunner was apparently mixed up with that of another SS member with the same surname, Anton Brunner, who was executed for war crimes. Alois, like Josef Mengele, did not have the SS blood type tattoo, which prevented his identity from detection in an Allied prison camp. Anton Brunner, who had worked in Vienna deporting Jews, was confused after the war with Alois due to the shared surname, including by historians such as Gerald Reitlinger.[10] Claiming he had "received official documents under a false name from American authorities", Brunner claimed he had found work as a driver for the United States Army
United States Army
in the period after the war.[11][12][13] It has been alleged that Brunner found a working relationship after World War II
World War II
with the Gehlen Organization.[14][15][16] He fled West Germany
West Germany
only in 1954, on a fake Red Cross
Red Cross
passport, first to Rome, then Egypt, where he worked as a weapons dealer, and then to Syria, where he took the pseudonym of Dr. Georg Fischer. In Syria, he was hired as a government adviser. The exact nature of his work is unknown. Syria
Syria
had long refused entry to French investigators as well as to Nazi hunter
Nazi hunter
Serge Klarsfeld
Serge Klarsfeld
who spent nearly 15 years bringing the case to court in France. Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal
tried unsuccessfully to trace Brunner's whereabouts. However, communist East Germany, led by Erich Honecker, negotiated with Syria
Syria
in the late 1980s to have Brunner extradited and arrested in Berlin.[17] The government of Syria under Hafez el-Assad
Hafez el-Assad
was close to extraditing Brunner to East Germany, but the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 severed contacts between the two regimes and halted the extradition plan.[17] In the Bunte
Bunte
interview, Brunner was quoted as saying he regrets nothing and that all of the Jews deserved their fate. According to a widely quoted 1987 telephone interview with the Chicago Sun Times, he was reported to have said: "All of [the Jews] deserved to die because they were the Devil's agents and human garbage. I have no regrets and would do it again."[18] He was reported to be living in Damascus
Damascus
under the alias of "Dr. Georg Fischer".[when?][18][19] Until the early 1990s, he lived in an apartment building on 7 Rue Haddad in Damascus, meeting with foreigners and occasionally being photographed.[20] In the 1990s, the French Embassy received reports that Brunner was meeting regularly and having tea with former East German nationals.[21] According to The Guardian, he was last seen alive by reliable witnesses in 1992.[20] In December 1999, unconfirmed reports surfaced that Brunner had died in 1996 and been buried in a Damascus
Damascus
cemetery. However, he was reportedly sighted at the Meridian Hotel in Damascus
Damascus
by German journalists that same year, where he was said to be living under police protection.[22] The last reported sighting of him was at the Meridian Hotel in late 2001 by German journalists.[16] In 2011, Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
reported that the German intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst
Bundesnachrichtendienst
had destroyed its file on Brunner in the 1990s, and that remarks in remaining files contain conflicting statements as to whether Brunner had worked for the BND at some point.[23] Letter bombs[edit] In 1961 and 1980, letter bombs were sent to Brunner while he was resident in Syria. As a result of the letter bomb he received in 1961, he lost an eye, and in 1980, he lost the fingers on his left hand when the parcel blew up in his hands. The senders of the letter bombs are unknown.[24][25] Convictions in absentia[edit] Germany and other countries unsuccessfully requested his extradition. He was twice sentenced to death in absentia in the 1950s; one of those convictions was in France in 1954. In August 1987, an Interpol
Interpol
"red notice" was issued for him. In 1995, German state prosecutors in Cologne
Cologne
and Frankfurt
Frankfurt
posted a $330,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.[26] On 2 March 2001, he was found guilty in absentia by a French court for crimes against humanity,[27] including the arrest and deportation of 345 orphans from the Paris
Paris
region (which had not been judged in the earlier trials) and was sentenced to life imprisonment. According to Serge Klarsfeld, the trial was largely symbolic—an effort to honour the memories of victims. Klarsfeld's own father, arrested in 1943, was reportedly one of Brunner's victims.[28] Later attempts to locate[edit] In 2003, British newspaper The Guardian
The Guardian
described him as "the world's highest-ranking Nazi fugitive believed still alive." Brunner was last reported to be living in 2001 in Syria, whose government had long rebuffed international efforts to locate or apprehend him, but was presumed dead as of 2012.[29] In 2004, for an episode titled "Hunting Nazis", the television series Unsolved History used facial recognition software to compare Alois Brunner's official SS photograph with a recent photo of "Georg Fischer", and came up with a match of 8.1 points out of 10, which they claimed was, despite the elapse of over 50 years in aging, equivalent to a match with 95% certainty. Brazilian police were reportedly investigating whether a suspect living in the country under an assumed name is actually Alois Brunner. Deputy Commander Asher Ben-Artzi, the head of Israel's Interpol
Interpol
and Foreign Liaison Section, passed on a Brazilian request for Brunner's fingerprints to Nazi hunter
Nazi hunter
Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
Simon Wiesenthal Center
in Jerusalem, but Zuroff could not find any.[30] In July 2007, the Austrian Justice Ministry declared that they would pay €50,000 for information leading to his arrest and extradition to Austria.[31] In March 2009, the Simon Wiesenthal Center
Simon Wiesenthal Center
acknowledged the "slim" possibility of Brunner still being alive.[32] In 2011, some media reports still insisted he could be alive.[33][34] Brunner was removed from the Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal
Center's List of Most Wanted Nazi War Criminals in 2014.[35] Death[edit] On 30 November 2014, the Simon Wiesenthal Center
Simon Wiesenthal Center
reported receiving credible information that Brunner had died in Syria
Syria
in 2010. He would have been 97 or 98 years old. Partly due to the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the exact date and place of death are unknown.[4][36] According to the director of the Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the information came from a "reliable" former German secret service agent who had served in the Middle East. The information also was reported in the press. The new evidence revealed that Brunner was buried in an unknown location in Damascus
Damascus
around 2010, unrepentant of his crimes to the end. Zuroff said that, owing to the civil war in Syria, the exact location of Brunner's grave is impossible to know.[37] See also[edit]

List of people who disappeared mysteriously

Notes[edit]

^ "Nazi war criminal Brunner 'died in Syria
Syria
basement in 2001'". Retrieved 2017-09-01.  ^ "Nazi war criminal Brunner 'died in Syria
Syria
basement in 2001'". Retrieved 2017-09-01.  ^ "Nazi war criminal Brunner 'died in Syria
Syria
basement in 2001'". Retrieved 24 September 2017.  ^ a b 2014 Annual Report on the Status of Nazi War Criminals (PDF). Los Angeles, California: Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal
Center. 2014.  ^ Adam Chandler, "Eichmann's Best Man Lived and Died in Syria", The Atlantic Magazine, 1 December 2014. ^ Cesarani 2005, p. 128. ^ Schneider, Gertrude, Journey Into Terror: The Story of the Riga Ghetto, p. 25, Westport, Connecticut, USA, Praeger, 2001; ISBN 0-275-97050-7 ^ a b Henley, Jon (3 March 2003). "French court strikes blow against fugitive Nazi". London, UK: The Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2007.  ^ Porter, Anna (26 May 2009) [2007]. "23. The End of Summer". Kasztner's Train: The True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust. New York: Walker Publishing. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-8027-1596-8. OCLC 236340976. Retrieved 11 January 2016. In mid-October, Captain Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner
began to empty the Sered camp of its almost twenty thousand Slovak Jews, even as the Slovak insurrection was defeated by four German SS divisions. Some of those who were sent to Theresienstadt
Theresienstadt
survived the war. A few survived at the Sachsenhausen camp in Germany, Stutthof
Stutthof
in Poland, and Bergen-Belsen. The rest, including all the children, were murdered in Auschwitz. Brunner had always taken great pleasure in the murder of children.  ^ Schneider, Gertrude, Journey into terror: story of the Riga
Riga
Ghetto (2nd abbr. edition), Westport, Connecticut, Praeger, 2001, pp. 54, 167; ISBN 0-275-97050-7 ^ Markham, James M. (29 October 1985). "In Syria, a Long-Hunted Nazi Talks". The New York Times.  ^ "Nazi Criminal Says Mixup Aided His Escape". The New York Times. 7 November 1985.  ^ George J. Annas (1991). "Mengele's Birthmark: The Nuremberg Code in United States Courts". The Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy. 7: 17–46.  ^ Peter Wyden (2001). The Hitler Virus: The Insidious Legacy of Adolf Hitler. Arcade Publishing.  ^ Hafner, Georg; Schapira, Esther (2000). Die Akte Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner
(in German). Campus Verlag.  ^ a b "Alois Brunner: The Nazi War Criminal Who Found a Home in Syria". Ibtimes.com. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2014.  ^ a b "Fall of Berlin Wall halted extradition of key Nazi: report". Expatica.com. Retrieved 9 November 2012.  ^ a b US Department of State. "Nazi War Criminal Alois Brunner's Presence in Damascus
Damascus
Hits the Papers Again" (PDF). The National Security Archive. Retrieved 4 March 2016.  ^ "Biography, at the Jewish Virtual Library". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. 31 December 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2012.  ^ a b Jon Henley in Paris
Paris
(3 March 2001). "French court strikes blow against fugitive Nazi". London, UK: The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2014.  ^ Georges Malbrunot (21 July 2011). "Aloïs Brunner: les Allemands ont détruit les notes de renseignements". Blog.lefigaro.fr. Retrieved 4 March 2014.  ^ Jo Glanville (28 November 1999). "He's the last Nazi criminal still at large. But where is he?". London, UK: Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2014.  ^ "BND vernichtete Akten zu SS-Verbrecher Brunner" (in German). Der Spiegel. 20 July 2001.  ^ "The Nazi of Damascus", Time Magazine, 11 November 1985. ^ Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner
– La haine irréductible, by Didier Epelbaum, preface by Serge Klarsfeld, published by Calmann-Lévy, January 1990. ^ Donald M. McKale, Nazis after Hitler: How Perpetrators of the Holocaust Cheated Justice and Truth. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2011. p. 290. ISBN 1442213183.  ^ Bridget Johnson,"Most Wanted Nazis", About.com; accessed 27 December 2016. ^ "French court strikes blow against fugitive Nazi", The Guardian, 3 March 2001. ^ "Who are the most wanted Nazis?". Euronews. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2014.  ^ "Int'l hunt on for top Nazi fugitive", The Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Post, 28 December 2005. ^ Warrant of Apprehension, Austrian Justice Ministry; accessed 27 December 2016.(in German) ^ "The hunt for the last Nazis". BBC News. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2012.  ^ Forer, Ben (26 May 2011). "World's Most Wanted: Who's Left on the List?". ABC News.  ^ "Die meistgesuchten Kriegsverbrecher". 20 Minuten (in German). 26 May 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.  ^ Simon Wiesenthal Center
Simon Wiesenthal Center
2014 Annual Report on the Status of Nazi War Criminals (PDF). Los Angeles, California: Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal
Center. 2014.  ^ "A Notorious Nazi War Criminal Died in Syria
Syria
Four Years Ago", time.com, 2 December 2014. ^ "Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner
'died in Syria'work=BBC". 1 December 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 

Sources[edit]

Cesarani, David (2005) [2004]. Eichmann: His Life and Crimes. London, UK: Vintage. ISBN 978-0-09-944844-0. 

v t e

The Holocaust
The Holocaust
in France

Main article The Holocaust Related articles by country Albania Austria Belarus Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Estonia France Hungary Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Poland Romania Russia Serbia Ukraine

Roundups

Billet vert (fr) Clermont-Ferrand (fr) Izieu Marseille Vel' d'Hiv Villeurbanne (fr)

Camps

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Natzweiler-Struthof
(subcamps) Pithiviers Récébédou (fr) Royallieu-Compiègne Rivesaltes Vernet

Documentation

Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation Vichy laws on the status of Jews Timeline of deportations to death camps

Perpetrators

Otto Abetz Ernst Achenbach Horst Ahnert (es) Klaus Barbie Werner Best Kurt Blanke (de) Karl Bömelburg Heinz Röthke Alois Brunner Theodor Dannecker Hans-Dietrich Ernst (de) Herbert Hagen Ernst Heinrichsohn Helmut Knochen Kurt Lischka Carl Oberg Carltheo Zeitschel

Nazi occupation and organizations

Devisenschutzkommando Parti Populaire Français Jeunesse Populaire Française

Vichy France

René Bousquet François Darlan Louis Darquier de Pellepoix Pierre Laval Philippe Pétain André Tulard Vichy Holocaust collaboration timeline Révolution nationale Vichy Police (fr)

Collaborators

Maurice Papon Paul Touvier

Victims

Henri Abraham Victor Basch Hélène Berr René Blum Kadmi Cohen Marianne Cohn Messaoud El Mediouni Jacques Feldbau Benjamin Fondane Otto Freundlich Salomon Gluck Maurice Halbwachs Paul Hermann Max Jacob Bereck Kofman Georges Mandel Hélène Metzger Bernard Natan Irène Némirovsky Casimir Oberfeld Sonia Olschanezky Victor Perez Béatrice Reinach Alma Rosé Charlotte Salomon Sascha Schapiro David Vogel

Survivors

Antoinette Feuerwerker David Feuerwerker David Olère Jean Elleinstein Simone Veil Rose Warfman

Witness testimony

Louise Alcan (fr) Joseph Bialot (fr) Henri Borlant (fr) Henry Bulawko (fr) Nadine Heftler (fr) Denise Holstein (fr) René Kapel (fr) Sarah Kofman André Rogerie Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier Léon Zyguel (fr)

Righteous Among the Nations

Albert Bedane Marc Boegner Le Chambon-sur-Lignon Château de Chabannes Jacques Ellul Pierre-Marie Gerlier Justin Godart Père Jacques Père Marie-Benoît René de Naurois Paul Ramadier Germaine Ribière Jules-Géraud Saliège Pierre-Marie Théas André and Magda Trocmé

Memorials

Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation Sons and Daughters of Jewish Deportees from France Mémorial de la Shoah Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation Mémorial national de la déportation (fr) Rivesaltes Memorial List of Holocaust memorials and museums

See also Antisemitism in France Armée Juive Fall of France History of the Jews in France Occupied France Statutes on Jews

v t e

Post-war flight of Axis fugitives

Fugitives

German / Austrian

Ludolf von Alvensleben Klaus Barbie Hermine Braunsteiner Alois Brunner Adolf Eichmann Aribert Heim Walter Kutschmann Johann von Leers Josef Mengele Hermann Michel Erich Priebke Walter Rauff Eduard Roschmann Walter Schreiber Horst Schumann Josef Schwammberger Franz Stangl Gustav Wagner

Croatian

Milivoj Ašner Andrija Artuković Anton Geiser Ante Pavelić Dinko Šakić Vjekoslav Vrančić

Belgian

Pierre Daye Léon Degrelle René Lagrou

Ukrainian

John Demjanjuk Feodor Fedorenko Mykola Lebed

Danish

Søren Kam Carl Værnet

Estonian

Aleksander Laak Karl Linnas

Latvian

Viktors Arājs Herberts Cukurs

Other nationalities

Tscherim Soobzokov (Circassian)

Assistance

Organizations

Ratlines

State involvement

Colonia Dignidad (Chile) Franco (Spain) Perón (Argentina) Videla (Argentina) Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip
(USA) Robert Leiber
Robert Leiber
(Holy See) Banzer (Bolivia) Stroessner (Paraguay)

Other persons

Rodolfo Freude Alois Hudal Charles Lescat Hans-Ulrich Rudel Otto Skorzeny

Hunters

Serge and Beate Klarsfeld Eli Rosenbaum Simon Wiesenthal Efraim Zuroff

Disputed / dubious

Krunoslav Draganović ODESSA Stille Hilfe

See also

List of Most Wanted Nazi War Criminals

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 67266666 LCCN: n2004030461 ISNI: 0000 0001 1663 3636 GND: 119018233 SUDOC: 030392187 BNF: cb12181568h (da

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