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Death of Wiesenthal

by: Ynetnews - Last updated: 2005-09-20

Simon Wiesenthal

Simon Wiesenthal

Famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal has died in Vienna at the age of 96, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced.

“Simon Wiesenthal was the conscience of the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the International Human Rights NGO named in Mr Wiesenthal’s honor, adding “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 the history’s greatest crime to justice,” Hier said. “There was no press conference and no president or Prime Minister or world leader announced his appointment. He just took the job. It was a job no one else wanted.”

Wiesenthal was born on December 31, 1908 in Ukraine. During World War II he was assigned to a forced labor camp, but eventually managed to escape. Following the war, he began gathering evidence on Nazi atrocities on behalf of the War Crimes Section of the American military.

As a result of Wiesenthal’s efforts, over 1,100 Nazi war criminals were brought to justice. The many honors bestowed upon Wiesenthal include decorations from the Austrian and French resistance movements, the Dutch Freedom Medal, the Luxembourg Freedom Medal, the United Nations League for the Help of Refugees Award, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal presented to him by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, and the French Legion of Honor which he received in 1986.

Reproduced with permission: Ynetnews