Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, April 1, 1999 Published at 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK


Sawoniuk joins infamous list

Auschwitz: The death camp when thousands perished

Anthony Sawoniuk can now be added to the list of Nazi war criminals tried long after the end of World War II.

Adolf Eichmann, Klaus Barbie, Erich Priebke and Maurice Papon are some of the infamous offenders who have been tracked down and brought to justice.

Alois Brunner, Adolf Eichmann's right-hand-man, who was accused of sending 130,000 Jews to death camps, is one of the last senior Nazi officers still believed to be at large. He is thought to be living in Syria.

[ image: Tenacious: Simon Wiesenthal]
Tenacious: Simon Wiesenthal
Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was among those executed at the end of the war, while Hermann Goering committed suicide just hours before he was due to mount the hangman's gallows in October 1946.

But a search headed by dedicated Nazi-hunters like Simon Wiesenthal continued for the leading perpetrators of war crimes.

Their most startling success was when Israeli secret services snatched Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust, from a street in a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he lived in obscurity with his family.

Eichmann, who orchestrated the execution of six million Jews and supervised the transportation of prisoners to concentration camps, was tried in Israel, convicted and hanged in May 1962.

[ image: Mengele: Escaped conviction]
Mengele: Escaped conviction
Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz 'Angel of Death' also escaped to Argentina - but he avoided being brought to justice.

American authorities admitted that they released Mengele, who performed hideous medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners, because they never realised who he was. He did not have the customary tattoo of SS officers.

Mengele, who determined who would be sent to the gas chambers and was held responsible for 400,000 deaths, fled to South America. He died in Brazil in 1969, aged 67.

Condemned to death

Klaus Barbie escaped justice for nearly 40 years, assisted by American intelligence officers who employed him as the battleground shifted to the Cold War.

[ image: Barbie: Condemned to death for killing thousands]
Barbie: Condemned to death for killing thousands
He was finally returned to France from Bolivia in 1983 to stand trial for crimes against humanity. He was jailed for life and died in 1991, aged 77.

In the 1950s, he was condemned to death in his absence by two French courts for his part in more than 4,000 killings and the deportation of more than 7,000 Jews to the concentration camps.

The 1990s were punctuated with a mixture of successes and failures as the investigators continued to press for successful convictions.

[ image: Priebke: Life for Rome massacre]
Priebke: Life for Rome massacre
In Italy, former SS Captain Erich Priebke was given a life sentence in 1998 for his role in the massacre of 335 civilians in caves outside Rome in 1944.

A month later, Maurice Papon, a former French Cabinet minister, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for his wartime role in deporting Jews to Nazi Germany. He remains free pending further appeals.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

01 Apr 99 | UK
Life for war criminal

17 Nov 98 | Americas
Argentina delves into Nazi past

07 Mar 98 | Europe
Nazi officers' convictions upheld

Internet Links

Simon Wisenthal Centre

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online