September 20, 2005

Simon Wiesenthal, RIP

Generally speaking once exspects a superhero look different from a bookish former architech and have cooler digs than a cramped three room office. But Simon Wiesenthal spent his life bringing to justice the worse humanity has every produced:

Mr. Wiesenthal was credited with a crucial role in many other cases. His investigations in São Paulo led to the arrests of Franz Stangl, former commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps in Poland, who was extradited to West Germany in 1967 and died three years later while serving a life sentence, and Gustav Franz Wagner, a former deputy commandant at Sobibor, who died during extradition proceedings in 1980. He was instrumental in the arrest and extradition from Argentina of Josef Schwammberger, an SS officer convicted in the killings of prisoners and slave laborers at camps in Poland and sentenced to life in prison in Germany in 1992.
Mr. Wiesenthal tracked down Karl Silberbauer, at the time a Vienna police officer, who had been the Gestapo aide responsible for arresting Anne Frank and her family in their secret annex in Amsterdam, a feat of sleuthing that buttressed the credibility of Anne's diary in the face of neo-Nazi claims that it was fabricated.

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