Nazi War Criminal Alois Brunner Presumed Dead in Syria

Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff says reliable source told him Eichmann's right-hand man died four years ago, is buried in Damascus.

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Onetime most wanted Nazi Alois Brunner.
Onetime most wanted Nazi Alois Brunner.Credit: Screenshot from YouTube

The man that last year topped the list of the most wanted Nazis and whom Adolf Eichmann called his "best man" is presumed dead and buried in Syria.

Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff on Sunday said he received information from a reliable source who told him Alois Brunner died four years ago and is buried in Damascus.

Brunner, the Nazi responsible for sending more than 128,000 Jews to their deaths during World War II, fled to Syria in the 1950s, and served as an adviser on torture tactics to former Syrian President Hafez Assad, according to reports.

"We have received information from a former German secret service agent who had served in the Middle East who said that Brunner was dead and buried in Damascus," Zuroff was quoted as saying. "Given his age it would not be surprising and the information came from someone who we consider reliable."

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"We cannot prove it forensically, but we are certain that is the case," Zuroff told the BBC on Monday.

Brunner, an Austrian SS officer who served as Eichmann's assistant, sent 47,000 Jews in Austria, 44,000 in Greece, 23,500 in France and 14,000 in Slovakia to Nazi camps, according to Zuroff. Most of those Jews were murdered.

Zuroff also said that Brunner survived two Israeli assassination attempts -- one in 1961 and one in 1980 -- while living in Syria.

He noted that the victims' families "would have wanted him to be punished and would be disappointed, but he is not the only Nazi war criminal who got away; far too many got away."

Brunner was unrepentant even long after the war, telling the Chicago Sun Times in 1987, "All of [the Jews] deserved to die because they were the Devil's agents and human garbage. I have no regrets and would do it again."

The current most wanted Nazi is Gerhard Sommer, a former SS officer involved in the massacre of 560 Jews in Italy.

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