Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal worked for the Mossad, providing information
on war criminals and Germans working in Arab countries, a biography
published on Thursday revealed.
According to Tom Segev in his book Wiesenthal – The Life and Legends,
the Holocaust survivor began working with Israeli intelligence
even before the establishment of the Mossad in 1949. The book says
that in 1948 Wiesenthal participated in a failed attempt to capture
top Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who was later nabbed in Argentina and
executed in Israel.
Segev, drawing on hitherto unpublished material from
Wiesenthal’s personal archives and interviews with his alleged former
handlers, also notes that in the 1960s Wiesenthal provided Israel
with information on neo- Nazis and German scientists working for
Egypt’s rocket program. The Mossad financed Wiesenthal’s Vienna office,
and the rapport reportedly lasted for 10 years.
“For me, it was a revelation, but a very important
one that forces us to offer our praise of the extent to which Israel
sought to track down, expose and/or bring to justice Nazi criminals,”
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem
and researcher of Nazi war crimes, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Zuroff, who in his 2009 book Operation Last Chance:
One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice expounds on how
he was personally influenced by Wiesenthal to become a Nazi hunter,
noted the rather few incidents in which Israel was publicly involved
in apprehending Nazis.
Segev's new book, however, “proves how Israel, by
utilizing Wiesenthal, was in fact active in bringing Nazi criminals
to justice,” Zuroff said.