Tributes have been pouring in following the death of Simon Wiesenthal, a holocaust survivor who devoted his life to pursuing Nazi war criminals and keeping the memory of the atrocities alive.
He died at the age of 96 in his appartment in Vienna. Wiesenthal is said to have played a role in tracing more than a thousand Nazis – his task made all the more difficult as many had assumed false identities and fled abroad. He was remembered today in his hometown in the Austrian capital: “Wiesenthal defended life and honesty. He did a lot for humanity, he was well known, open and was lucky to live til 96,” said one woman. “I hope his ideas will spread amongst other people”, said another woman, “they could continue what he started.” Avner Shalev, the director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem paid homage to Wiesenthal saying his life’s work would become part of the Jewish heritage. “He has become more than a symbol, he was the main active person who dedicated his whole life to pursuing those German and Nazi war criminals and bringing upthe notion that a bit of justice should be done.” Wiesenthal opened the Jewish documentation centre in Austria collecting data on Nazi criminals still at large, his work there will live on. A funeral will be held in Vienna on Wednesday – Wiesenthal is to buried in Israel.