Britain Awards Knighthood to Wiesenthal
Britain awarded an honorary knighthood Thursday to 95-year-old Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal for “a lifetime of service to humanity” pursuing Holocaust perpetrators.
“Mr. Wiesenthal has been untiring in his service to the Jewish communities in the UK and elsewhere by helping to right at least some of the awful wrongs of the Holocaust,” Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in announcing the honor.
Wiesenthal spent the better part of five decades tracking down more than 1,000 Nazi war criminals responsible for the mass murder of Jews during World War II and played a role in the capture of Adolf Hitler’s close associate Adolf Eichmann.
Wiesenthal is to receive the knighthood from Britain’s ambassador in Vienna at a later date.
“In making this award, we also have in mind the work of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in preserving the memory of the Holocaust and fostering tolerance and understanding,” Straw said.
Wiesenthal was born in 1908 to a comfortable Jewish family in Buczacz in present-day Ukraine, then in the Austro-Hungarian empire, before moving to Prague to train as an architect.
Many of Wiesenthal’s relatives died in the Holocaust. U.S. soldiers liberated him from the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria in 1945.