Simon Wiesenthal the famous Nazi Hunter
Upon Simon Wiesenthal’s liberation in May 1945 from the Mauthausen concentration Wiesenthal started his work as “Nazi Hunter”. He assisted the War Crimes Section of the US Army and later worked for the Army's Office of Strategic Services and Counter-Intelligence Corps and headed the Jewish Central Committee of the US Zone of Austria.
Simon Wiesenthal then dedicated his life to tracking down and prosecuting former Nazis and their collaborators. He established the Jewish Documentation Center in Linz (1947-54) and after moving to Vienna he opened his office in 1961. The main purpose was the assembling of evidence on Nazi war criminals, most notably on Adolf Eichmann, the coordinator of the “Final Solution”. Wiesenthal has also been credited with investigations that led to the capture of other war criminals, among them death camp commander Franz Stangl, the commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor concentration camps, a member of the Gestapo Karl Silberbauer, who was responsible for the arrest of Anne Frank and Hermine Braunsteiner, a notorious camp guard of the Ravensbrück and Majdanek death camps. Wiesenthal's work is recognized for continuing to shed light on the injustices and horrors of the Holocaust, for calling on governmental intervention in the capture of war criminals and for being a driven, often at times a sole, investigative force.
Swinging from Buczacz, Galicia to Vienna, Austria, and the Simon Wiesenthal Genealogy Geolocation Initiative (SWIGGI)
Where did Simon Wiesenthal’s family come from? In this talk we will jointly discover the family roots of Simon Wiesenthal in Galicia, we will identify some of the 89 murdered family members of Simon and his wife Cyla. These genealogy discoveries brough me to the development of the Skala Podolska, Galicia, house number project which this year developed into the Simon Wiesenthal Genealogy Geolocation Initiative (SWIGGI). SWIGGI is an innovative platform which assists people to identify the exact location of 19th century houses of their family members. So far, we focused on 2 Galician towns Skala Podolska and Nadworna, nowadays in the Ukraine.
Institutions and sites carrying the name of Simon Wiesenthal
Over the last 43 years, various institutions have carried the name of Simon Wiesenthal, the first being the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles in 1977. The majority were given upon the passing of Simon Wiesenthal in September 2005 in Vienna. Since his death, streets in Israel and abroad were named after him, the KKL Simon Wiesenthal Path in the Martyrs’ Forest was established to commemorate his legacy and 10th jahrzeit, the VWI - Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies which hosts his archive. And so were prizes given in his name, such as the recently Austrian Simon Wiesenthal award for fighting anti-Semitism. In this presentation, some of these name bearing sites and their connection to Simon Wiesenthal will be presented.
Dr. Racheli Kreisberg
Simon Wiesenthal's legacy
English, Dutch, Hebrew, moderate German
Dr. Racheli Kreisberg serves as Innovation Attaché at the Netherlands Embassy in Israel (www.idic.org.il) and is an experienced genealogist and tour guide in Israel.
Racheli has been commemorating her grandfather Simon Wiesenthal since he passed away in 2005 and develops the Simon Wiesenthal Genealogy Geolocation Initiative (SWIGGI).
Racheli holds a Ph.D. in Biotechnology and Molecular Microbiology from Tel Aviv University (TAU), an Executive MBA from TAU, a M.Sc. in Chemistry (summa cum laude) from the Technion. Racheli served as an intelligence officer in the IDF.
Racheli was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to Israel in 1977 with her family.