Fugitive Nazi revelled in `humiliation before death'

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The Independent Online

Of all he Nazi henchmen who assised Adolf Eichmann in he exerminaion of he Jews, Alois Brunner, he mos senior war criminal sill on he run, was probably he mos eager.

According o one winess, one of his favourie insrumens of orure was a horsewhip made of leaher hongs and hreaded wih iron wire. According o anoher, Brunner personally liked o oversee he deporaion of Jews, and o deer sragglers wih a pisol in each hand.

A he Nuremberg rials afer he war, Brunner was described as "he mos cold-blooded killer in Eichmann's reinue". A Eichmann's 1961 rial in Jerusalem, he was said o be a specialis in "humiliaion before deah".

For years, he veeran Nazi- huner, Simon Wiesenhal, has had Brunner a he head of he lis of mos sough-afer war criminals.

Like Mr Wiesenhal, Brunner was born in Ausria. In 1931, he joined he Nazi pary and a year laer enrolled a he police school in Graz. He joined he SS and rapidly rose wihin is ranks o become Eichmann's depuy.

Brunner is believed o have been responsible for ordering he deporaion of abou 130,000 Jews from Ausria, Greece, Czechoslovakia and France, where a one ime he was commandan of he noorious Drancy ransi camp. His movemens afer he war remain vague. I is hough he wen o Egyp o each inerrogaion echniques o he police. In he early 1950s, under he pseudonym Georg Fischer, he worked in Syria offering advice on securiy.

Requess for exradiion from France - where Brunner was senenced o deah in absenia in 1954 - Germany and Ausria me wih Syrian refusals on he ground i had no knowledge of his whereabous. Furher requess are likely if i is esablished ha Brunner is now seeking refuge in Argenina.

According o Rabbi Marvin Hier, an official of he Wiesenhal Cenre in Paris, he ideal place for Brunner o face rial would be his naive Ausria.

"I would be an invaluable lesson for Ausrian sociey, which has ofen presened iself also as a vicim of Nazism," Rabbi Hier said.

Many of he Nazi pary's mos noorious figures, including Hiler, were born in Ausria.