Hunted Nazi War Criminal Reported Ready To Surrender
MUNICH, West Germany (AP) _ One of the world’s most wanted Nazi war criminals says he is ready to surrender as long as he is not handed over to the Israelis, a West German news magazine reported today.
The magazine Bunte also quoted the fugitive, Alois Brunner, as saying that in his escape after World War II he received official documents under a false name from American authorities and worked for the U.S. Army as a driver.
Brunner, 73, was a close associate of Adolf Eichmann.
Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld alleges Brunner deported more than 60,000 Jews from Greece and Czechoslovakia before becoming commander of a concentration camp at Drancy, France, from where he is said to have deported at least 24,000 Jews to Germany.
The magazine said Brunner was ″tracked down″in Damascus, Syria, where he has been living for several years under the name ″Dr. Fischer.″
″I am ready to go and respond before an international court,″ Bunte quoted Brunner as saying. The magazine said that Brunner had said there were ″certain conditions.″
Norbert Sakowski, deputy chief editor of Bunte, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that the main condition was Brunner ″not be handed over to the Israelis.″ Sakowski also said Brunner would be looking for ″a special international court″ to consider his case.
The magazine quoted Brunner as saying, ″It’s just that Israel will never get me. I won’t become a second Eichmann.″
The Israelis captured Eichmann in Argentina and hanged him in 1962 for crimes against the Jews. As head of the Gestapo’s Jewish section, Eichmann oversaw the deportation and murder of millions of Jews during World War II.
Brunner is wanted by Austria, West Germany, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece and Israel, according to Bunte. French courts twice have sentenced Brunner to death, according to Bunte.
After the discovery this year in Brazil of a body believed to be that of the notorious concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele, Brunner is considered the most wanted Nazi war criminal.
Bonn officials have confirmed that he is living in Damascus, but said they had failed to get him extradited from Syria.
The magazine reported Brunner said that after the war he wound up in a prisoner-of-war camp near Munich, where he told U.S. authorities his name was Alois Schmaldients.
Brunner claims he worked for the U.S. authorities as a driver and eventually was freed from the camp with U.S. documents giving the false name, according to Bunte.
Bunte said its report on Brunner will appear in the editions of the magazine that reach newsstands Thursday. Excerpts from the article were distributed by telex to other news media today.
Sakowski said in the telex that the Brunner article also will contain photographs recently taken of Brunner in Damascus.
″He is extremely sick,″ Sakowski told the AP. ″Our correspondents spent several days with him. We managed to get in contact with him with the help of a lot of people.″
Bunte reported that in Damascus he is protected by Syrian agents but that he has been wounded twice by letter bombs.