PARIS (Jun. 19)
Alois Brunner, perhaps the most wanted Nazi war criminal still at large, worked for the West German intelligence service in Lebanon and Syria during the 1960s, a French newspaper reported Sunday.
Brunner served as station chief in Damascus for the Bonn government’s intelligence agency, the Bundesnarichtendienst, also known as BND, according to Le Journal de Dimanche.
France issued an international arrest order earlier this month for Brunner, 73, who still lives in Syria, apparently protected by the government of President Hafez Assad.
Brunner was a top aide to Adolf Eichmann, who implemented the Final Solution and was tried and executed in Israel in 1961. Brunner has been twice sentenced to death in absentia for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
According to the newspaper account, Brunner planned to kidnap Dr. Nahum Goldmann, then president of the World Jewish Congress, and hold him hostage for the release of Eichmann, who was about to stand trial in Israel. The newspaper cited no sources for that information.
Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld has described Brunner’s outrages against Jews and others as “10 times worse than anything Barbie had done,” a reference to Klaus Barbie, the wartime Gestapo chief in Lyon, who was sentenced to life imprisonment a year ago for crimes against humanity.
The newspaper reported that Brunner’s work for West German intelligence was uncovered by a member of the French counterintelligence, a Maj. Genie, who was stationed in Cairo. Genie located Brunner in Beirut and reportedly informed Paris that the war criminal was working for Bonn intelligence.
His contact in Beirut was identified as a West German diplomat, Dr. Walter Heller, also a former Eichmann aide, who was active during the Nazi occupation of France in the arrest of Jews and the deportation of Jews from Monaco, the French paper reported.
The paper said that after leaving Beirut, Brunner became the BND station chief in Damascus, using the name Georg Fischer.
The cover for his spy activities was a company called Otraco, which dealt in arms sales in the Middle East and Africa.
Le Journal de Dimanche also reported that another Nazi war criminal, Franz Bunsch, worked for the BND in Cairo. It described Bunsch as a former member of the Nazi propaganda ministry who later worked for Eichmann.