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The butcher of Thessaloniki died

02 December 2014 / 15:12:41  GRReporter
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Alois Brunner has remained in history, at least for Greeks, as "the butcher of Thessaloniki" because as an SS officer he had sent around 40,000-45,000 Greek Jews from Thessaloniki and northern Greece to the concentration camps.

He was the most wanted war criminal and Ephraim Zuroff, director of "Simon Wiesenthal Centre", has stated to the BBC that he is "99% sure" of his death and that the bloodthirsty SS officer "almost certainly" was killed 4 years ago in Syria, where he was hiding to avoid being apprehended.

"We cannot prove it forensically but we are certain that this is the case", researcher, Nazi-hunter, Ephraim Zuroff states for the British media. As he argues, data on Brunner’s death and burial in Damascus from a reliable former agent of the German secret service who had served in the Middle East have recently come to light.
Zuroff defines Brunner as "a monster". He is charged with sending 128,000 Jews to the concentration camps. In particular, he sent 47,000 Jews from Austria, 44,000 from Greece, 23,500 from France and 14,000 from Slovakia to the death camps, where the majority of them died. He had not repented for his crimes to the last moment. He was the right hand of Adolf Eichmann, the inspirer of the "final solution", i.e. the orderly extermination of Jews in Europe by the Nazi regime. Eichmann describes Brunner as "one of my best men."

A photo of Eleftherias Square where the Nazis gathered the first wave of Salonika Jews who were sent to a camp
Brunner had arrived in Thessaloniki in January 1943, following a special order by Eichmann, to participate in the operation to apprehend and detect all Jews in the city (it was estimated that their number was around 56,000).

It is believed that over 40,000 Jews from Thessaloniki were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau from 15 March 1943 to 10 August 1943.

It seems that after the war in the 1950s, Brunner had fled to Syria, where he served as an advisor to Hafez al-Assad, the father of today's President Bashar al-Assad. He was the target of the Israeli secret service in two assassination attempts and lost an eye in the second one. Zuroff stresses that Brunner had saved himself from at least two assassination attempts by the Israeli service while he was in Syria from 1961 to 1980.

Despite the orders and remunerations offered for his arrest it had never happened; on the contrary, foreign media had published his interviews in which he stated that not only did he not repent but that he would have to kill more Jews.

Tags: Nazisthe butcher of Thessalonikiconcentration campsJews
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