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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Wiesenthal funeral held in Israel
burial
Many hope his burial in Israel will raise awareness of his work
Hundreds of mourners and dignitaries have attended the funeral of renowned Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, in the Israeli town of Herzliya.

Mr Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who devoted his life to tracking down Nazi war criminals, died on Tuesday.

After a memorial service in Vienna on Wednesday his body was flown to Israel, where his wife is buried.

The funeral was attended by his family as well as officials from Germany, Russia, Poland and the EU.

Some women who had personal connections with Mr Wiesenthal or the Holocaust sat and wept as they remembered.

Campaigner

Simon Wiesenthal, who died at 96, was credited with helping to bring more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice in the decades after the genocide of the Jews in World War II.

Among the blessed activities of Wiesenthal was turning the lives of fugitive Nazis into hell
Uri Urbach in Yediot Aharonot

They included Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Holocaust, and Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor Nazi death camps in Poland.

His work is continued by the US-based centre that bears his name, which campaigns against anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.

The BBC's Lucy Williamson, at the ceremony on Friday, says older people in Israel are concerned that many young people in their country do not know who Mr Wiesenthal was or what he did.

Other than those with personal links, people feel he was always better known in Europe than in Israel, she said. Many hope his burial in Israel will help spread his legacy.

One older woman attending the funeral said his work had "given the Jewish people back their dignity".

Simon Wiesenthal, 1973 archive photo

Newspapers in Israel have been paying their own tributes this week.

Hatzofe, affiliated to the National Religious Party, said Mr Wiesenthal had "managed to instil the consciousness and mainly the duty that a criminal must pay for his crime.

"Wiesenthal's legacy is not content with lip service; it demands action."

Independent broadsheet Ha'aretz said no one did more than he "in turning the Holocaust from a 'Jewish story' into the basis for a universal war against racism in all its forms and the defence of human rights".

Death camps

Mr Wiesenthal, who grew up in Ukraine, was a prisoner in the Mauthausen death camp when it was liberated by US troops in May 1945.

But dozens of his family members - including his mother, stepfather and stepbrother - died in the Holocaust.

In the 1950s, Mr Wiesenthal helped to track down Eichmann, one of the chief architects of Adolf Hitler's Final Solution aimed at eliminating the Jews, in Argentina.

In 1960, Eichmann was abducted from there by Israeli agents and subsequently tried, convicted and executed in Israel.

Six million Jews were murdered in the Nazi death camps of World War II, along with thousands of Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people and political dissidents.


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Mourners witness Simon Wiesenthal's burial



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