Nazi Hunters is an eight episode documentary series that focuses on Nazi war criminals and the various Nazi Hunters who brought them to justice and/or executed revenge. The Mossad, French couple Serge and Beate Klarsfeld and Simon Wiesenthal are just some of the Nazi Hunters featured.
Herberts Cukurs – aka the the Hangman of Riga, Cukurs was a Latvian aviator and member of the Arajs Kommando, a unit within the Latvian police who were loyal to the Gestapo SD. He is thought to be responsible for the death of 30,000 Jews. Mossad agents track him down in São Paulo and executed him in 1965.
Adolf Eichmann – The logistics man. He organised the mass deportation of European Jews to either extermination camps or ghettos. Dubbed the “Architect of the Final Solution” he was accused of being responsible for the death of 6 million Jews. In 1959 the Mossad got wind that Eichmann was living in Buenos Aires under the alias Ricardo Klement. Eichmann was kidnapped by the Mossad and taken back to Israel where we was tried and then executed in 1962.
Klaus Barbie – aka the Butcher of Lyon is notorious for sending 44 Jewish orphans to Auschwitz. In 1947 he became an agent for the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps and after the Cold War ended and they had no use for him they shipped him off to Argentina. In 1971 French couple Serge and Beate Klarsfeld raised media attention, protested and tried to kidnap him. In1983 he was arrested and extradited to France where he stood trial and was sentenced to life in prison.
Erich Priebke – Former Captain in the SS, Priebke’s notoriety comes from his involvement in the massacre at the Ardeatine cave in Rome where 335 Italian civilians were killed in retaliation for Partisans killing 33 German soldiers. In 1994 ABC news tracked him down and confronted him over his crimes which leads to him being put on trial.
Josef Mengele – aka The Angel of Death. Evaded the same Mossad team that captured Eichmann and died from suffering a stroke whilst swimming. It is quite astonishing to me that he wasn’t higher up on the Mossad’s list. He conducted brutal experiments on children and did experiments without anesthesia and yet they pursued Eichmann, a desk Nazi.
Kurt Lischka – SS Lieutenant Colonel and Gestapo chief in Occupied France, he oversaw the mass deportation and incarceration of French Jews. He was trialled and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Paul Touvier – A French Nazi collaborator who escaped with the help of the Catholic Church. He went on trial in 1994, was sentenced to life imprisonment and died in 1996.
Gustav Wagner / Franz Strangl – Srangl was the Commandant of the Sobibor and Treblinka extermination camps and was tried for the death of 900,000 people. In 1970 he was sentenced to life in prison only to die of heart failure six months later. Wagner, aka The Beast or Wolf, was Deputy Commander of Sobibor. Wagner was tracked down in Brazil by famous Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal and arrested in 1978 but Brazil would not extradite him and he was later found dead in 1980 with a knife in his chest.
Each 43 minute episode uses re-enactments and interviews with Mossad agents, authors, Holocaust survivors and Nazi Hunters. Although the episodes are similar in nature they never become boring as each case is different and you’re getting a bit of a history lesson as well. There was one or two Nazi’s that I was unfamiliar with but even with the ones that are notorious – Eichman and Mengele – the information about their post-Nazi life is so intriguing that it’s worth buying even if you think you know everything there is to know.
Conspiracy theorists and true crime fans may get a kick out of this series too. It is a real eye-opener into how so many escaped and the organizations who helped them to do so (The Vatican and C.I.A to name a few).
Don’t rush to call me a Nazi sympathizer, but after so many years have passed these dudes are basically old men living in crappy little shacks, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for a few of these guys. My issue with the actions of the Mossad is purely ethical. I thought the same thing about the Mossad’s revenge over the Munich Massacre, justice is fine but authorising the killing makes anyone – Jewish or German – just as bad as the perpetrators they hunt.
Nonetheless, an excellent series that left me wanting more. It would be great to see a series done on Japanese war criminals and the Nazi’s who got help from the US through trading research secrets in return for their freedom.
My only complaint is that someone didn’t bother to double check the spelling of names: “Joseph” (it’s Josef) Mengele, Franz “Strangl” instead of Stangl and “Herbert” Cukurs is actually Herberts. No extras but the run-time is sufficient.