Nazi’sstarted taking control of the Jewish people around the time that World War IIstarted. Many people were against the taking of the Jewish and throwing theminto concentration camps, but many people knew they couldn’t do much to stopthem, Hitler was too powerful. One man, Simon Wiesenthal, believed he had thestrength and perseverance to take back Jewish freedom.
Simon Wiesenthal beginwith a rough childhood, but eventually made it through high school and hisearly family life. Simon was a renounced author and was well known all aroundthe nation during World War II. He was known for not only his books and journalentries, but known mostly for his Nazi hunting skills. Simon Wiesenthal was born in 1908 onDecember 31th in Austria-Hungary. He lived with his father, Asher Wiesenthal,and his mother, Rosa Wiesenthal. His father was called into duty at thebeginning of World War I in 1914, a year later in 1915 he died in combat. Afterhis father’s death, the family decided to flee to Vienna because the Russiansstarted taking over their hometown. After the Russians retreated in 1917, theWiesenthal family returned back to Austria.
After returning him and his youngerbrother, Hillel Wiesenthal, attended high school, where Simon met a lady named,Cyla Müller, who at the time he didn’t expect any outcome with her, but hewould marry Cyla later down the road in 1936. Shortly after graduating, hisbrother fell and broke is back in 1932 and died a year later, then in 1926 hismother remarried and moved to Dolyna, leaving Simon to live with the Müllerfamily. Three years after marrying his wife,World War II began in September. The city in which Cyla and Simon were living,Lwów, in was taken over by the Soviet Union and now known as Lvov.
Months laterin July the Soviets forced Wiesenthal and other Jewish residents into forcedlabor. Eventually in November of 1941 the Soviet had developed the city intothe Lwów Ghetto, all Jews had to give up their homes and possessions, severalthousand Jews were murdered during the transportation of them to the ghetto. Simonwas arrested during this time but avoided execution by his former foreman,Bodnar. In late 1941 Simon and his wife weresent to Janowska concentration camp where they were forced to work at theEastern Railway Repair. Years later is wife was sent to Warsaw to work in aGerman radio factory and also sent to two different labor camps as well.
Finally, in 1945 they were reunited and gave birth to their first child, a littlegirl, a year later. They were warned that the Soviets would come and recaptureall the prisoners, so they went into hiding. They were found hiding under thefloorboards of a man’s house and were arrested and sent to Gross-RosenConcentration Camp, the inmates suffered from overcrowding and lack of propernutrients, many died during their stay in the concentration camp, Simon losthis big toe on his right foot and had to get it amputated, during his footrecovery he was forced to evacuate again. He was very ill during this march andused a broom stick as a walking stick, he was one of the few to survive thismarch. After his journey, he was placed in a death block for the mortally illwhere he barely survived, but lasted till the day the camp was liberated. Wiesenthalonly weighed 90 pounds when the camp was liberated.
Three weeks after the liberation,Simon decided to get back at those who did him wrong. Simon made a list of allthose suspected of Nazi crimes. The list of criminals mostly included guards,camp commandants, and members of the Gestapo. Simon was an interpreter for businessthat carried out arrests. While working as a Nazi hunter, Simon assisted theBerihah, an underground organization that smuggled Jewish survivors into theBritish Mandate for Palestine. He also served as vice-chairman of the JewishCentral Committee, an organization that helped care for Jewish refugees andhelp them find their missing family members. In 1947 Simon and 30 other volunteers founded the Jewish DocumentationCenter to help gather more information for future war crimes, they ended upcollecting depositions from over 3,289 concentration camp survivors. After all of his hard work anddedication towards the imprisonment of Nazi criminals, he was nominated for aNobel Peace Prize in 1985, forty years after the end of World War II.
Wiesenthal was competing against Elie Wiesel for the prize as well. Wiesenthallost the campaign to Wiesel, many said this was because the World JewishCongress influenced the Committee’s decision. Simon Wiesenthal received numerousamounts of death threats throughout his life time. On June 11th in1982 a neo-Nazi group set off a bombin front of Wiesenthal’s home, in order to prevent this from happening again,he had guards protecting his house 24 hours a day. The threats put on herhusband made Cyla very stressed and caused her to suffer from major depression,she died later in 2003 at the age of 95.
Shortly after her death Simon retired,on September 20, 2005 Simon died from natural causes, his last words being, “Ihave survived them all. If there were any left, they’d be too old and weak to standtrial today. My work is done.” Simon Wiesenthal is still rememberedgreatly for his efforts during and after World War II.
Simon is rememberedthrough his books and journal entries that he wrote during his time inconcentration camps. Books have been written about his amazing changes he madefor the Jewish community, there are also few films about his life in the campsand his actions he took after the war. Simon may have not save the Jewishpeople from being killed or forced in concentration camps, but at least he gavejustice to those beaten and mistreated.