Report: Notorious Nazi war criminal died in Damascus in 2001

According to a new report, Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner died in 2001 in Damascus, Syria, at the age of 89.

SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Alois Brunner, one of the world’s most notorious and wanted Nazi war criminals, died in 2001 in Damascus, Syria, at the age of 89 after spending more than a decade incarcerated in a dilapidated Damascus basement, a French magazine reported this week.

The Revue XXI magazine reported that Brunner, an Austrian-born SS commander, spent his last years living in squalid conditions. It quotes one of his guards as saying that he “suffered and cried a lot in his final years, [and] everyone heard him.”

The guard, identified only as Omar, said Brunner survived on meager army rations in the last years of his life.

It is widely believed that he lived under the false name of Georg Fischer while in Syria and that successive regimes offered him protection. Syria has repeatedly denied harboring him.

The report said that he remained a fervent anti-Semite until his last days.

Brunner is accused of deporting more than 128,000 Jews to death camps while serving under the command of Adolf Eichmann, including 47,000 Jews from Austria, 44,000 from Greece, 23,500 from France and 14,000 from Slovakia.

He was in charge of the Drancy internment camp outside Paris, where Jews were rounded up from around France and held before being sent to the death camps.

An End to Decades of Uncertainty?

For many years there has been uncertainty as to whether Brunner was still alive, although the chief investigator pursuing him said in 2014 that he believes Brunner died in 2010 in Damascus.

Brunner is believed to have fled to Syria in the 1950s from West Germany, reportedly serving later as an adviser to the Syrian government on torture tactics before being shunned by the authorities.

In 2001 he was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment by a court in France and is reported to have survived at least two Israeli assassination attempts in Syria – one in 1961, and the other in 1980.

Brunner was removed in April 2014 from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s most wanted list, a move signifying that they, too, believed he was dead.

By: World Israel News Staff