VIENNA (Jul. 26)
Simon Wiesenthal, head of the Jewish Documentation Center, said today he doubts that Nazi war criminal Joachim Peiper was killed in the fire that destroyed his home two weeks ago in a small French village. In an interview, Wiesenthal cited similar “deaths” of war criminals in South America, which helped them vanish after they had been traced. He said the fact that a burned body was found in Peiper’s home in the Burgundy district was not sufficient evidence.
Peiper, a high-ranking Nazi SS officer, had been sentenced to death by an Allied court for war crimes, but was later freed. He had lived in France for several years under an assumed name. “It is symptomatic that Peiper ‘died’ just after his true identity was discovered,” Wiesenthal said. He noted that two watch dogs Peiper owned vanished from the area just’ after the fire. Peiper was sentenced for having shot American prisoners of war during the Ardennes offensive in 1944.