From esteemed Israeli journalist and historian Tom Segev, the first fully documented biography of Simon Wiesenthal, revealing the fascinating truth behind this simultaneously admired, despised, and feared hunter of Nazis. Simon Wiesenthal was the legendary ldquo;Nazi hunterrdquo; played by Ben Kingsley and Laurence Olivier on film, a Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to the punishment of Nazi criminals. A hero in the eyes of many, he was also attacked for his unrelenting pursuit of the past, when others preferred to forget. For this definitive biography, Tom Segev has obtained access to Wiesenthalrsquo;s hundreds of thousands of private papers and to sixteen archives, including records of the U.S., Israeli, Polish, and East German secret services. Segev is able to reveal the intriguing secrets of Wiesenthalrsquo;s life, including his stunning role in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, his controversial invesshy;tigative techniques, his unlikely friendships with Kurt Wald shy;heim and Albert Speer, and the nature of his rivalry with Elie Wiesel. Tom Segev has written a brilliant character study of the ldquo;hunterrdquo; who was driven by his own memories to ensure that the destruction of European Jewry never be forgotten.
Bringing war criminals to justice makes for endless controversy, according to this thoughtful, knotty biography of the Jewish icon and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Israeli historian and newspaper columnist Segev (1967) recaps Wiesenthal's hair-raising travails in occupied Poland and in German concentration camps during WWII, then follows his unique postwar career as a freelance detective pushing for the arrest and prosecution of Holocaust perpetrators in his homeland of Austria and abroad. Just how many Nazis were tried and convicted as a result of Wiesenthal's actions is a vexed question; Segev's sympathetic but critical treatment grants him a central role in bringing down Adolf Eichmann, death-camp commandant Franz Stang, and hundreds of other Nazis, but allows that he embroidered his exploits and made up evocative stories. The author gives a similarly nuanced reading of Wiesenthal's maneuverings in the treacherous politics of Holocaust remembrance, which garnered him enemies in all quarters: he drew flak-"�Sleazenthal'"-from Jewish groups for supporting former U.N. secretary-general Kurt Waldheim when he was outed as a Wehrmacht henchman and even Wiesenthal himself was falsely accused of wartime collaboration. Segev's Wiesenthal is a complicated man, by turns avuncular and prickly, idealistic and self-promoting, but he's ultimately a heroic, necessary figure who forced a world that would rather forget to acknowledge its debt to the dead. (Sept. 7) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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September 05, 2010
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