Operation: Last Chance.ARTICLES
Thursday January 12, 2017 israelhayom.com
Report: One of Adolf Eichmann's top aides died in Syria
Eli Leon

Austrian SS officer Alois Brunner, responsible deporting 125,500 Jews to Nazi death camps, reportedly died in a Syrian jail in 2001 • Brunner was believed to have been living in Damascus under government protection.

Alois Brunner, an Austrian SS officer found responsible for the deportation of 125,500 European Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II, died in a Syrian jail cell in 2001, according to a report published in France.

Until now, leading Nazi hunters believed that Brunner, Adolf Eichmann's right-hand man, died around 2010 in Damascus, where he fled in 1954 and lived under government protection.

But in a report published in the quarterly magazine Revue XXI, journalists Hedi Aouidj and Mathieu Palain say information gleaned from three of his bodyguards showed that Brunner died shortly after the death of Syrian leader Hafez Assad in 2000.

In a French public radio interview, Aouidj said Brunner had effectively been an employee of the Syrian leadership, where he trained the top level of intelligence services staff.

"He trained Assad's innermost circle. He got a salary from the Damascus regime. He was clothed by the Damascus regime and he was lodged by the Damascus regime," Aouidj said.

But things went badly awry for Brunner when current Syrian President Bashar Assad took over from his father in July 2000. Brunner was confined to a cell and ultimately died in deplorable conditions

"He was ditched by Bashar," Aouidj said.

Brunner was previously reported to have been seen alive in Damascus as late as 2003. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center's Israel office, told Reuters in 2014 that Brunner was thought to have died in 2010, but the center had never been able to forensically verify Brunner's death.

Brunner was described as the right-hand man to Eichmann, a leading Holocaust architect who was captured in Argentina in 1960 and later hanged after a trial in Israel.

Although never brought to justice, Brunner was tried and sentenced to death in absentia in France in 1954 for crimes against humanity. He lost several fingers and an eye in two letter-bomb assassination attempts, attributed to Israeli agents.