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Simon Wiesenthal

Wiesenthal, Simon (vēˈsĕntäl) [key], 1908–2005, Austrian-Jewish Nazi hunter, b. Butschatsch, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Buchach, Ukraine). He received (1932) an architectural engineering degree in Prague and practiced in Lvov, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine). After the Germans invaded (1941) he was sent to a forced labor camp and, recaptured after an escape, to five concentration camps. By the time he was liberated by U.S. troops in 1945, 89 of his relatives had been slaughtered. After recovering his health, Wiesenthal began collecting evidence of Nazi atrocities for the U.S. army. Devoting his life to identifying Nazis and bringing them to justice, he established and headed (1947–54) a center for this purpose in Linz, Austria, and in 1961 opened the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna. He and his staff were responsible for locating some 1,100 war criminals, many of whom were tried and convicted. His books include KZ Mathausen (1947), The Murderers among Us (1967), and Max and Helen (1982).

See his memoir Justice Not Vengeance (1990); biographies by H. Pick (1996) and T. Segev (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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