Hauptsturmführer Alois Brunner - the last leading Nazi still
believed to be on the loose and Eichmann's second in command - was
a key figure in the planning and execution of the Final Solution,
the murder of 6 million Jews during World War II. He actively
participated in the mass murder and was often sent by Eichmann as a
trouble shooter to areas such as France to expedite the killings.
Alois Brunner bears direct responsibility for the deportation to
Nazi death camps of 128,500 Jewish men, women and children from
Austria, Greece, France, and Slovakia.
The arrest and conviction of Alois Brunner remains the top priority
of leading Nazi hunters and war investigators but Brunner has
successfully eluded justice. During his many years hiding out
reportedly in an apartment on Haddad Street in the Syrian capital of
Damascus, he openly assisted the Syrians in establishing their own
The Syrian authorities have covered and continue to cover Alois
Brunner and he may never pay for his crimes. Germany, Austria,
Slovakia, France and Poland currently seek his extradition, but the
Syrians have been totally uncooperative in response to all these
Alois Brunner was born in Austria in 1912 and joined the Austrian
Nazi Party in 1931 at the age of 19. His anti-Semitism was
considered to be so extreme that he was swiftly tapped to be Adolf
Eichmann’s private secretary. As head of the Nazi’s Jewish
affairs office in prewar Vienna, he organized persecution that
forced thousands of Jews to flee to other European countries and the
When World War II started, he sent 47,000 Austrian Jews to the KZ
camps. After organizing mass roundups in Berlin, he transferred to
Greece, where he was responsible for deporting all 43,000 Jews in
Salonika within just two months.
In June 1943, he was sent to France to take over the Drancy transit
camp near Paris from its French administrators. During 14 months in
France, Brunner sent an estimated 25,000 men, women and children to
their deaths. Brunner also transported the children of Izieu to
WW2 Alois Brunner found gainful employment courtesy of the CIA
and later he escaped to Syria where he became a government adviser.
To this day Alois Brunner has successfully evaded capture. He is
believed to live in Damascus using the name of his cousin Georg
Fischer. German journalists visiting Syria in 1999 said Brunner was
living at the Meridian Hotel in Damascus under police protection. He
is easily identifiable, having lost an eye and several fingers from
letter bombs sent him years ago by French and Israeli security
Brunner was interviewed about 15 years ago in the Austrian news
magazine Bunte. He said he did not suffer from a bad
conscience for, in his own words, "getting rid of that garbage."
His one regret was that he hadn't murdered more Jews.
In 1987 in a telephone interview Alois Brunner told the Chicago Sun
Times: The Jews deserved to die. I have no regrets. If I had the
chance I would do it again ..
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