A man, accused of begin responsible for the death of thousands of Jews during the Second World War, gave himself up to Brazilian police on Wednesday (30 May).
A man, accused of begin responsible for the death of thousands of Jews during the Second World War, gave himself up to Brazilian police on Wednesday (30 May). Herr Gustav Wagner, 67, admits to having been a concentration camp official during the war but says he held a minor post.
SYNOPSIS: The headquarters of the Brazilian Department of Political and Social Order in Sao Paulo - the military police.
Austrian Gustav Wagner arrived for questioning after surrendering himself to the authorities in the wake of allegations that he was a Nazi war criminal.
Herr Wagner told waiting newsmen that he was not the man identified as the deputy commander of the notorious Treblinka concentration camp.
Herr Wagner, according to Brazilian immigration records, entered the country in 1958. He admitted that he was born in the same year and the same city, Vienna, as the other Gustav Wagner, but claimed he had served during the war years as a sergeant in Sobibor, another concentration camp in Poland. Wagner said he was prepared to wait and see the outcome of the Brazilian investigation.
But on hand to deny Herr Wagner's claims was Stanislaw Szmajner, a Polish survivor of Sobibor. He positively identified Wagner as the man wanted by the Israeli authorities for the murder of the 250,000 jews who died at Treblinka and Sobibor. Similar identification has also come from Simon Weisenthal, the famed hunter of Nazi war criminals. He told a German newspaper that witnesses had told him that Wagner had incited others to hang, beat and kill Jewish prisoners. A Brazilian police chief said in Sao Paulo that he had positive proof that the man held was in fact the deputy commandant of both Treblinka and Sobibor camps. The governments of Austria, West Germany, Poland and Israel are all seeking the extradition of Herr Wagner to stand trial in their own countries.