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Nazi Hunter Wiesenthal Dead at 96


Simon Wiesenthal, the legendary "Nazi hunter" who helped track down the notorious SS leader Adolf Eichmann died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 96 in his Vienna home.

Simon Wiesenthal spent much of life fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice. Ariel Muzikant, president of the Israeli Jewish Cultural Community in Vienna told VOA he will be missed.

"It's a great loss for the Austrian Jewish community, and for the World Jewish community," said Ariel Muzikant. "I think we have lost somebody who has all his life combined the fight against forgetting and has tried to put the Shoah and the Holocaust into something that is so unique that you shouldn't compare it with anything else and shouldn't forget it and at the same time he was looking for truth and justice and the third point he was trying to live a normal life and this combination is what made this man unique".

Simon Wiesenthal was born in 1908 in a small town in today's Ukraine and was captured by the Germans in 1941. He spent the last years of World War II in different concentration camps but he survived the Holocaust.

The following 60 years he dedicated his life to hunting those responsible for carrying out atrocities against the Jews.

Among those Mr. Wiesenthal helped bring to justice was the one-time SS leader Adolf Eichmann who was found in Argentina in 1960 and subsequently tried and hanged in Israel for crimes committed against the Jews.

In 1947 Mr. Wiesenthal founded the Jewish documentation center in Linz and then in 1961 opened a small office in Vienna.

In Austria his work was not always appreciated and his conflict with former chancellor Bruno Kreisky, himself of Jewish origin, landed in the courts.

He is expected to be buried in Israel.

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