French police have failed to locate Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner in Argentina after receiving tips that he left his hideout in Syria.
The head of the manhunt section of the Paris police, Gerard Bronne, told a French television station that members of his unit had traveled to northern Argentina last month.
The trip was an effort to follow up on information from Uruguay that Brunner had settled in Argentina along with other Nazi war criminals wanted by Interpol, the international police agency.
“He’s not there,” said Bronne, adding, “At least we didn’t find him.”
Brunner served during World War II as personal secretary to Adolf Eichmann, Hitler’s chief aide.
The person whom Eichmann once described as his “best man” orchestrated the deaths of some 128,000 Jews from Austria, Greece, France and Slovakia during the war years.
Brunner was listed earlier this year in the German newsmagazine Focus as one of Interpol’s 12 most-wanted people.
According to the magazine, which quoted information from the Interpol center in Lyon, France, the former SS officer who was previously believed to be living undisturbed in Damascus, Syria, had obtained an Austrian passport under an assumed name and moved to Argentina.
As far back as 1992, diplomats in Syria maintained that Brunner was dead. A similar assessment was made by French lawyer and Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld.
If Brunner is alive, he would be 83.