(JNS.org) Notorious Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner, who was responsible for the deaths of roughly 130,000 Jews in the Holocaust, died in squalor in a Syrian jail in 2001, a new report has found.
Brunner, who had been Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann’s right-hand man, was in charge of the Drancy internment camp outside of Paris, where he rounded up thousands of Jews for deportation. While it was originally believed he had died in 2010, a report in the French Revue XXI magazine by journalists Hedi Aouidj and Mathieu Palain uncovered new evidence that Brunner died while imprisoned in Syria.
According to Aouidj, Brunner had lived for decades in Syria under former President Hafez al-Assad and helped to train intelligence services staff on torture methods.
"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, Reuters reported.
Yet fortunes changed for Brunner when current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took over after his father’s death in 2000. Brunner was jailed and confined to a cell, where he reportedly died in squalor.
"He was ditched by Bashar," Aouidj said.
One of Brunner’s guards, who went by the name Omar, said that he "suffered and cried a lot in his final years, everyone heard him,” AFP reported. The only food he was given to eat during that time, Omar said, were "army rations—awful stuff—and an egg or a potato. He had to choose one or the other.”
Brunner was taken off the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of the most wanted Nazi war criminals in 2014 due to the belief that he died in 2010.