Wednesday, 21 September 2005

Farewell Simon Wiesenthal

Other bloggers have already covered the death at 96 of holocaust-survivor and Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal (right). As Mark points out, his work lives on the form of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. NZ Pundit points to an excellent Washington Post editorial that, as he says, "should act as the perfect comeback to those who wonder why people like Wiesenthal weren't willing to 'get over it, and move on'," and the perfect introduction to those unfamiliar with his life and his heroic work.
Called the "deputy for the dead" and "avenging archangel" of the Holocaust, Wiesenthal after the war created a repository of concentration camp testimonials and dossiers on Nazis at his Jewish Documentation Center. The information was used to help lawyers prosecute those responsible for some of the 20th century's most abominable crimes.
Wiesenthal spoke of the horrors first-hand, having spent the war hovering near death in a series of labor and extermination camps. Nearly 90 members of his family perished...
Following the principle "justice, not vengeance," Wiesenthal said trials of Nazis would provide moral restitution for the Jews and have the best chance of preventing the anti-Semitism that defined the first half of his life.
"I'm doing this because I have to do it," he once said. "I am not motivated by a sense of revenge. Perhaps I was for a short time in the very beginning. . . . Even before I had had time to really think things through, I realized we must not forget. If all of us forgot, the same thing might happen again, in 20 or 50 or 100 years."

You can read the full editorial here. Holocaust deniers needn't bother.

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