Simon Wiesenthal is one of the most renowned figures in history for his tireless efforts to bring justice to victims of Nazi war crimes. From his office at the Jewish Historical Documentation Centre located in Vienna, Austria, Wiesenthal has kept detailed files on hundreds of fugitive war criminals and relentlessly pursued their capture. His pursuit was dramatically reaffirmed on February 22, 1964 when an unexpected visitor showed up at his office – a drunken man who offered to reveal the location of notorious Nazi war criminal Franz Stangl for a sum of $7,000.
Stangl was an Austrian career policeman who joined the Nazi party and proved himself adept at executing Hitler’s brutal vision of racial superiority through genocidal violence. During World War II he rose through the ranks to become commandant at three Polish extermination camps where over 800,000 people were murdered. Following the conclusion of hostilities Stangl escaped via a ‘ratline’ to Brazil where he lived in comfort and safety until his eventual capture many years later.
It goes without saying that Stangl was high on Wiesenthal’s list of wanted war criminals; taking no chances he immediately made a deal with the stranger but only sealed it upon capturing Stangl in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Yet despite his best efforts, Wiesenthal never discovered who this mysterious informant was or received any payment for his assistance in bringing one of WWII’s greatest villains to justice.
The remarkable story of Simon Wiesenthal and Franz Stangl is documented for all to see in the acclaimed documentary ‘The hunter and The Hunted’, which details their epic game of cat and mouse with stunning detail and insight from both sides of the equation. Highly recommended viewing for anyone interested in learning more about this piece of WWII history!