Simon Wiesenthal, KBE (31 December 1908 – 20 September 2005) was an Austrian Jewish Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter. Autograph Endorsement Check Signed, 05/25/1972 - 2 1/2 x 5 1/2 DS: endorsed in the hand of the author on verso. From the old Security Pacific National Bank in Los Angeles. A slight center diagonal crease with crisp lettering on both rectro and verso. Overall, fine condition.
He studied architecture and was living in Lwów at the outbreak of World War II. After being forced to work as a slave labourer in Nazi concentration camps such as Janowska, Plaszow, and Mauthausen during the war, Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazi war criminals so that they could be brought to trial.
In 1947 he co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, where he and others gathered information for future war crime trials and aided refugees in their search for lost relatives.
He opened the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna in 1961 and continued to try to locate missing Nazi war criminals. He played a small role in locating Adolf Eichmann, who was captured in Buenos Aires in 1960, and worked closely with the Austrian justice ministry to prepare a dossier on Franz Stangl, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1971.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Wiesenthal was involved in two high-profile events involving Austrian politicians. Shortly after Bruno Kreisky was inaugurated as Austrian chancellor in April 1970, Wiesenthal pointed out to the press that four of his new cabinet appointees had been members of the Nazi Party. Kreisky, angry, called Wiesenthal a "Jewish Nazi" and likened his organisation to the Mafia. He later accused him of collaborating with the Nazis. Wiesenthal successfully sued for libel; the suit was settled in 1989.
In 1986, Wiesenthal was involved in the case of Kurt Waldheim, whose Nazi past was revealed in the lead-up to the 1986 Austrian presidential elections. Wiesenthal, embarrassed that he had previously cleared Waldheim of any wrongdoing, suffered much negative publicity as a result of this event.
After four and a half years in the German concentration camps such as Janowska, Plaszow, and Mauthausen during World War II, Wiesenthal dedicated most of his life to tracking down and gathering information on fugitive Nazis so that they could be brought to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In 1947, he co-founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, in order to gather information for future war crime trials. Later he opened the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna. Wiesenthal wrote The Sunflower, which describes a life-changing event he experienced when he was in the camp.
Wiesenthal died in his sleep at age 96 in Vienna on September 20, 2005, and was buried in the city of Herzliya in Israel on September 23. He is survived by his daughter, Paulinka Kriesberg, and three grandchildren. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, located in Los Angeles, is named in his honor.
At the time of his liberation, Wiesenthal stood at 1.80 m (5 ft, 11 in) and weighed less than 45 kg (99 lb.). As soon as his health improved, Wiesenthal claimed he began working for the U.S. Army, gathering documentation for the Nazi war crimes trials. Wiesenthal's own resume does not mention this work for the Americans, but lists his occupation at the time as the vice-chairman of the Jewish Central Committee for the U.S. zone, based in Linz, Austria. Its task was to draw up lists of survivors that other survivors could consult in their hunt for relatives.
He was also president of the Paris-based International Concentration Camp Organisation and was involved with the Berihah, who smuggled Jews out of Europe to Palestine.
In February 1947, he and 30 other volunteers founded the Jewish Historical Documentation Center in Linz to gather information for future trials. However, as the U.S. and the Soviet Union lost interest in further war crimes trials, the group drifted apart after compiling 3,289 reports. Wiesenthal continued to gather information in his spare time while working full time to help those affected by World War II."