SAO PAULO (May. 29)
Brazil’s national police, acting on a tip from Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal in Vienna and photographs and fingerprints provided by Israeli authorities, are seeking Nazi war criminal Gustav Franz Wagner who is held responsible for the mass murders of Jews at the Treblinka and Sobibor concentration camps in Poland during World War II.
According to documents in Wiesenthal’s possession, Wagner, now 67, entered Brazil in April, 1950 with a visa stamped in his passport by the Brazilian Consulate in Beirut on December 9, 1949. According to Rabbi Henry I. Sobel of Sao Paulo, the Brazilian government had no prior knowledge of his true identify. But, he said, “Nazis are abundant in Brazil.”
A man identified as Wagner was photographed on April 23 at a meeting of local Nazis in Italia, near Rio de Janeiro, to celebrate the 89th anniversary of Hitler’s birth. Wiesenthal subsequently confirmed that the photo was of Wagner who he described as the “human beast” responsible for the extermination of one million Jews and the torture of children. In an interview published in the Jornal do Brasil, Sobel said he had evidence that Wagner lives in Sao Paulo.
Wagner, born in Vienna in 1911, was deputy commander of Treblinka and Sobibor. He is wanted by West Germany, Austria and Poland. Mario Shimonowitz, the Israeli correspondent of the Jornal do Brazil, visited Wiesenthal in Vienna last week. On his return to Israel Friday he said Wiesenthal had detailed evidence that the man photographed at Italia is in fact Wagner and has sent his Identity card number, 313706, to the Brazilian police.