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Tv Documentary on War Criminals

October 15, 1981
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Almost four decades after the Holocaust the search continues for those responsible for the systematic murder of innocent people. The results of the continuing worldwide search for Nazi war criminals will be presented in a public television documentary, “The Hunter and the Hunted,” by WQED/Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS. (Local stations should be checked for local broadcast time and date.)

Interviewed in the documentary are Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal; Beate Klarsfeld, a West German non-Jew who has dedicated her life to bringing war criminals to justice and former SS officers Walter Rauff and Klaus Barbie alias Klaus Altmann, the “butcher of Lyon.”

Both Rauff and Barbie head the most wanted list, along with Dr. Josef Mengele, the “angel of death” at Auschwitz, who performed inhuman experiments and was responsible for killing 380,000 people. Mengele is believed to be living in Paraguay and was recently reported to have been in Uruguay instructing prison authorities on the use of torture methods.

Barbie, who ran the gestapo headquarters in Lyon, France, where he deported thousands of Jews to concentration camps, and murdered and tortured several hundred people including children, is wanted by both France and Germany. He is reported to reside in La Paz, Bolivia, under the name of Altman. He is not only protected by the police there, but acts as their advisor on security measures, according to reports.

Rauff, who allegedly devised and operated the “Einsatzgruppen” mobile gas chambers and was responsible for the deaths of 250,000 people, is reported to be residing in Santiago, Chile.


The documentary also interviews a number of Holocaust survivors, some of whom describe their experiences in the concentration camps and their encounters with some of the war criminals interviewed in the same film. “The Hunter and the Hunted” also features what its producers say is the first-ever recorded interview with Horst Eichmann, son of Adolf Eichmann, in which he candidly discusses his father’s abduction from Argentina by Israeli intelligence agents, and his trial in Israel.

The documentary was devised, written and reported by Bill Bemister. Recalling what motivated him to make the film, Bemister said: “I wanted to show viewers that the Nazi war criminals they’ve been reading about for 30 years really do exist.” The British-born, 33-year-old Bemister who now resides in Australia also describes the difficulties he and his film crew had in some of the countries in South America when they tried to interview and film the war criminals.

The documentary was made possible by a grant from Reliance Group, Inc. Jose Ferrer narrates the hour-long special, which was produced by Phonic Films of Australia. Isaiah Kuperstein, director of the Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh, was the consultant.

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