Brunner, Alois (1912-1996?) 

SS Hauptsturmfuehrer – Captain

A former window dresser for a Jewish department store in Vienna, Brunner was one of the most brutal and efficient SS operatives during the Final Solution and a close and favorite associate of Eichmann. After the war he changed his name to Alois Schmaldienst and fled to Linz. He worked under an assumed name as a trucker for the US Army.  He then moved to Germany and lived unhindered in Essen. Many West German government officials as well as old SS colleagues, who attained official positions in the Bonn government, lent him crucial assistance in hiding and in fleeing in time ahead of the law. In 1954, he was sentenced to death in absentia by a French court and was then recruited to the new West-German Reinhard Gehlen Intelligence organization, an anti-Soviet spy network operated by Hitler’s former Eastern Front Intelligence chief. The Gehlen Organization helped him get to Damascus where he acted as the local Gehlen agent for the Middle East and advised the Syrian government in intelligence and police matters. Based on his past experience, he was hired as a ‘Jewish Expert’ by the Syrian secret service. For a while, he represented a famous Dortmund brewery in Syria. As a result of a Mossad letter bomb addressed to him in Damascus, he lost an eye and four fingers of his left hand. In 1987, at age seventy-five, he told an American interviewer the ‘he regrets nothing, Jews deserved to die, if he had a chance, he would do it all over again.’ Repeated extradition requests by a number of countries to Syria were all rebuffed. As late as 1996 reports appeared of his sighting in the Syrian capital, others claimed that he died there that year and was buried in Damascus. Others yet claimed that the then eighty-four year-old Brunner had been living in luxury at the ‘Meridien’ hotel in Damascus.

 

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