Tuvia Friedman, Legendary Nazi Hunter, Dies at 89

Efraim Zuroff, head of the Israel Wiesenthal Center, remembers Friedman: "He dedicated his life to hunting down Nazi murderers."

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Rachel Sylvetsky,

Tuvia Friedman
Tuvia Friedman
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Nazi hunter Tuvia Friedman, died on Thursday at the age of 89. Friedman and another world famous Nazi hunter, Shimon Wiesenthal, worked together fearlessly day and night for several years after the Holocaust and succeeded in capturing and bringing  over 250 Nazi criminals to justice, before they could go underground and disappear. They found many SS officers hiding their identities in Allied prison camps.

Some of the top Nazis captured by Friedman  were SS Officer Konrad Buchmayer, sentenced to 12 years in prison and SS Officer Richard Sheigel who died awaiting trial. Brigadfuhrer Herbert Bottcher, head of the SS in Radom, Friedman's home town, and his assistant  Obershtumbanfuher Wilhelm Blum, who sent 300,000 Jews to Treblinka. were both hanged after Friedman found them and had them brought to trial. 

Friedman's most famous accomplishment was his work in capturing Adolph Eichmann, the man who organized the mass extermination of the Jews of Europe.. The search was hampered by the lack of a picture and Friedman found one of Eichmann's girlfriends, enabling the police to raid her home and confiscate a picture that was corroborated by Jews who had known him.

Friedman had lost his entire family in the Holocaust, except for one sister. Towards the war's end, he escaped a death sentence by grabbing the rifle of the German soldier who fell asleep while guarding him and crossed to the Russian lines where he helped their war effort.

The United States Army cooperated with the two tireless men who were willing to put their lives in danger because they had decided to see to it that the murderers who spilled innocent Jewish blood without fear would begin to tremble at the thought of Jewish retribution.

However, after a three year period, the American army stopped its Nazi trials.  At this point, the two Nazi hunters parted ways. Friedman moved to Israel in 1952 while Wiesenthal settled in Vienna.

Efraim Zuroff, head of the Israel Wiesenthal Center, told Arutz Sheva that Friedman continued fighting non-stpp to keep the issue of bringing Nazi criminals to justice in the public eye.

“Friedman made sure to keep on reminding us that Adolph Eichmann was still a free man and thus made certain that we continued the efforts to locate him. He was mistaken about Eichmann’s whereabouts, though, and a short time before the mass murderer was caught, Friedman claimed in a press release that Eichmann was in Kuwait.” [Some think this might been a way to keep Eichmann off guard, ed.]

Zuoff described how after the Holocaust, both Friedman and Wiesenthal  decided to drop everything else and devote their lives wholly to one goal—bringing Nazi murderers to justice. Friedman wrote a book "Nazi Hunter" describing their efforts.

“The fact that Friedman was a Zionist and decided to make aliyah, limited his ability to continue physically searching out and capturing Nazi criminals, but he continued to do invaluable work by collecting data, finding documentation and engaging in educational activities on the Holocaust until the end of his life,”  Zuroff said.