Alois Brunner, Adolf Eichmann’s “best man,” according to the Times of Israel, has been found dead in Syria, where he passed away in 2010, at the age of 98. The most notorious Nazi aside from Hitler, himself, remained unapologetic for his horrendous actions which continued throughout the course of World War II and on until his death.
Brunner had many reasons to be known as the world’s worst Nazi. Not only was he responsible for transporting more than 128, 000 Jews to Nazi death camps, but was also responsible for terrorizing and torturing thousands.
News of Brunner’s death came by way of Efraim Zuroff, who is the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israeli Office. The Center apparently suspected the death years ago but did not have full certainty until recently given Brunner’s would-be age.
The Daily Express recounts Zuroff’s words that Brunner’s practices continued within Syria where he became an advisor to President Hafez al-Assad on torture methods he developed during his SS tenure.
“He was involved in the harsh treatment of the Jewish community of Syria and was an expert in terror and torture,” Zuroff tells the New York Times. ” He said himself his one regret was he did not kill more Jews. He was unrepentant.” This quote by the former SS captain which Zuroff is alluding to was given by Brunner during the only known interview with the war criminal. It was an exchange during the 1980’s with a German news magazine.
The former SS captain fled to Egypt as a wanted man after escaping capture for his war crimes in the 1950’s. He initially landed in Egypt where he became a weapon’s dealer for a short time and went under the pseudonym Dr. Georg Fischer.
Brunner escaped capture due to authorities hanging the wrong man by the name of Anton Brunner, for Alois Brunner’s crimes. Alois Brunner then used a fake Red Cross passport to journey to Egypt, the New York Times indicates.
The Times of Israel quotes the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal from his memoirs. “In my eyes, he was the worst [Third Reich criminal] ever. While Adolf Eichmann drew up the general staff plan for the extermination of the Jews, Alois Brunner implemented it.”
Once the news came that Brunner is, in fact, dead, the Simon Wiesenthal Center stated that they will officially remove him from their “wanted” list so they can focus on bringing remaining Nazi criminals to justice.
In Zuroff’s words to the New York Times, it is clear that he deems the news of Brunner’s death to be of a bittersweet light.
“The significance is only that one very prime target can no longer be brought to justice, and that’s very sad, because it just underlines the failure of the world community to see to it that the primary movers and shakers of the Final Solution were forced to pay for their crimes.”
The world’s worst war criminal escaped capture and numerous assassination attempts for six decades.
[Image courtesy of The Guardian]