BONN (May. 17)
East Germany announced Wednesday that it has asked Syria to extradite Alois Brunner, one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals known to be alive. He is reportedly living in Damascus.
The Syrian government has not yet responded to the request. Damascus has consistently denied in the past any knowledge of Brunner’s whereabouts, and coldly turned down extradition requests by West Germany and France.
East Berlin’s move was seen as a further demonstration of good will toward Israel.
Last month, the East German parliament formally acknowledged a measure of responsibility for Nazi crimes against the Jews, which East Germany had denied for over 40 years, and begged forgiveness of Israel and the Jewish people.
Brunner, 78, is held responsible for sending at least 100,000 Jews to death camps. He was considered the right-hand man of Adolf Eichmann, and is believed responsible for deportations of Jews from France, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Greece.
For many years, he served as a consultant to the Syrian government on security affairs.
His long-term protected presence in Syria was publicized over the years by Paris-based Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, who traveled to Syria on several occasions to protest Brunner’s presence in that country.