1. Life’s work
Through his work, Wiesenthal famously helped track down Adolf Eichmann, one of the Holocaust’s most prolific killers. The global community had previously thought Eichmann to be dead, and his recovery led to a notorious trial in Israel and an eventual hanging in 1962. For decades to come, Wiesenthal would call it one of his greatest successes in life.
In total, Wiesenthal is ascribed with bringing 1,100 Nazis to justice, including the man responsible for Anne Frank’s deportation. He worked with Sen. Robert F. Kennedy to end a statute of limitations in Germany that would have meant Nazi criminals could not be prosecuted after a certain length of time. He also brought to light the story of Raoul Wallenberg, who is known today as a hero for his work smuggling thousands of Jews out of Hungary. Wiesenthal collected documents, transcribed witness accounts, and flew across the globe to ensure a collective account of Holocaust atrocities survived.
“I considered that my self-appointed task was holy, and my determination became the more pronounced, the more I learned how Jews had been abused,” he wrote in his memoir, “I Hunted Eichmann.”