I found Dad's Nazi killer - and shot him dead


A man has explained for the first time how he took revenge on the SS killer who had murdered his father during the Second World War.

Yanush Peltz, who was interviewed by filmmakers in Israel, said his father had lived in the Polish city of Kielce during the Holocaust and had been sent to a gas chamber by Hans Gayer, the SS officer in charge of the city.

Mr Peltz described how, not long after the war was over, he and a small group of other Jews tracked down Gayer to the Austrian city of Graz.

"We were dressed as British military police," he said, explaining that Gayer's wife answered the door. "A man came down, he was pulling on a dressing gown. He looked us and shouted 'You are Jews'. I saw that he recognised me."

On screen, Mr Peltz then produces a pistol. "I pulled [out] this gun. It was cocked. I pulled the safety catch down and at a range of about three paces I shot him between the eyes. Just one shot."

Mr Peltz, who died this year at the age of 97, was interviewed by the filmmakers Michał Jaskulski, a Polish Catholic, and Larry Loewinger, a Jewish American. Their film, Bogdan's Journey, tells the story of a Catholic in Kielce who has made it his mission to reconcile Jews with Poles.

"We were put in touch with Peltz by a contact in Israel because he had originally come from Kielce," Mr Loewinger explained. "We went to interview him, not knowing what he would say and he came out with this remarkable story. He was a very tough man, a military man, driven by a personal vendetta, with the strength to take revenge."

Before the war there was a large, thriving Jewish population in Kielce, but the effect of the Holocaust and the Kielce Pogrom in 1946, during which 40 Jews were executed, reduced the number of Jews to zero.

The population of Kielce is now 200,000, but "I would say there are now half a dozen Jews living there," said Mr Loewinger, who has spent eight years working on Bogdan's Journey. The film follows Bogdan Białek, who has worked tirelessly to reconnect Kielce with the Jewish community it treated so mercilessly.

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