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A Nazi-hunter is an individual who tracks down and gathers information on former Nazis and SS members who were involved in the Holocaust so that they can be punished for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

With the onset of the Cold War following World War II, the Western Allies (excluding the Communist USSR) made use of former Nazi scientists and operatives for their own motives (e.g., Operation Paperclip). Cooperative Nazis were occasionally given state protection in return for valuable information or services (e.g., Reinhard Gehlen, chief of the German Bundesnachrichtendienst secret agency and founder of the Gehlen Org and co-founder of the ODESSA network, which helped exfiltrate Nazi criminals). Private Nazi-hunters therefore sought out fugitives on their own, some of whom were hiding out in lands far from Europe, such as Latin America.

In later years, with pressure from activists, there was greater cooperation with western governments, as well as Israel. The activity necessarily declined by the end of the 20th century as most of the generation active in Nazi leadership during the Holocaust have died out or reached extreme old age.

Some Nazi-hunters have included Simon Wiesenthal,[1] Tuviah Friedman, Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, Yaron Svoray, Elliot Welles, Michel Thomas, and Efraim Zuroff.[2]

See also


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