Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal's Mossad past

Simon Wiesenthal (photo: Horego)

Simon Wiesenthal (photo: Horego)

Revelations that Simon Wiesenthal once worked for Mossad suggest that Israel did more to catch war criminals than was previously believed, according to one of the late Nazi-hunter’s associates.

In a book released this week, Israeli historian Tom Segev claimed that in the 1960s Mr Wiesenthal gave the intelligence agency details of Nazis working on Egypt's rocket programme .

Mr Segev also alleged that in 1948 Mr Wiesenthal was involved in Mossad’s efforts to capture Adolf Eichmann.

Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Israel and author of the book Operation Last Chance, said the claims had come as a real shock.

He told the JC: “I have no reason to doubt it, but I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about him.

He added: “It doesn’t in any way change our perception of him or our understanding of his mission.

“But it does show that Israel made much more of effort to find and prosecute Nazi war criminals than we were aware of.”

Mr Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who died in 2005, dedicated his life to pursuing Nazis and gathering evidence for the war crimes trials.

    Last updated: 2:37pm, October 5 2010