July 8th 1978
Exclusive interview with Simon Wiesenthal in Vienna.
“At 70 years of age, Wiesenthal still ‘hunts’ Nazis”
Folha da Tarde
Ben Abraham introduces the interview saying he arrived at Wiesenthal’s office at the same time he had just been informed of the localization of Franz Gustav Wagner in Sao Paulo, who had served as sub commander of the Sobibor death camp.
Ben Abraham then introduces Simon Wiesenthal, himself a Holocaust survivor from the Mathausen camp in Czechoslovakia, as someone who had abandoned his profession to dedicate exclusively to finding Nazi war criminals.
Wiesenthal defines his missions as collecting data about Nazi war criminals and bring them to Justice. He said he had sworn to himself that, if he survived the war, he would do everything in his power not to allow any Nazi escape unpunished. He said that he was accomplishing his mission even though the Nazi criminals did not receive the death penalty, since it was up to the Justice to decide what would happen to them. But anyway they would face Law, while new facts and accomplices would be brought to light during the inquiries.
Wiesenthal said he did not fear for his life, since it was not more precious than the lives killed by the Nazis, and therefore it would not be just to sell his conscience in exchange for his personal security. He said he did not agree with movements claiming pardon for the Nazis because you cannot forgive someone for a crime that was not committed against you. He also said he absolutely believed the Brazilian government would extradite Wagner, as it had happened in the case of Franz Stangel.
“The crimes have been forgotten. Wagner lives free in Brazil!”
In this article Ben Abraham expresses his disappointment with the Brazilian Supreme Court and its refusal to extradition of Franz Wagner, which had been requested by Western Germany.
He gives a brief summary of what he saw in Nazi concentration camps and questions if justice really exists.
The note mentions Ben Abraham had dedicated his life to spread word about Nazi crimes and the dangers posed by totalitarian regimes. It lists some of his books and the awards he had received, in 1981 and 1982.
It also mentions that he had been officially invited by the German government to do a series of interview with political representatives of several different parties, in order to show the democratic process in that country.
Oct 13th 1983
“Ben Abraham testifies against Nazi”
Folha da Tarde
A brief note reports that Ben Abraham had travelled to the German Federal Republic in order to testify at the trial of a Nazi war criminal accused of mass murder of Jews in the Lodz ghetto.
Nov 10th 1983
“How can this murderer sleep in Peace?”
Folha da Tarde
In this article Ben Abraham describes his testimony at the trial of Helmut Georg Krizons, accused of hanging and shooting 24 people dead in the Lodz ghetto. He also describes the cold behavior of the defendant during the trial. Ben Abraham observes his declarations at the trial were reproduced by the international media. He closes the article affirming he was wearing kippah when he swore to the judge he was going to speak the truth.
“The Germans have not yet learned the lesson”
During his trip to Germany, Ben Abraham went to visit the headquarters of the German Social Democrat Party, where he interviewed Dr. Klaus Henning Rosen, secretary of former chancellor Willy Brandt. His main topic for the interview was the stance of the youth in Germany at that time in relation to the Nazi crimes during the Holocaust.
Rosen said that the German youth wanted to get rid of the past and the period of time between 1933 and 1945 was not remembered. In the previous year, he said, they had promoted discussions about the issue, but these were strongly criticized by older people, with the claim that subject had already been passed by and that German history had more glorious topic that should be remembered instead. The youth, in their turn, could not understand how their parents allowed all that to happen.
He concluded that generation was not well informed about the Holocaust and therefore they were not prepared to face similar developments if they arose in Germany. However, Rosen believed social laws were efficient in Germany so, despite the economic crisis, it was very unlikely that Nazism should rise again. His main concern was the attacks against foreign workers in Germany, which were very similar to the anti-Jewish campaigns promoted by the Nazis.
“The world has a short memory”
Mentioning the fact that Hitler was elected with 44% of the German votes, Ben Abraham call the attention to Kurt Waldheim, who in a recent election poll had reached 49,64% of the votes for the presidency of Austria.
Ben Abraham gives a summary of Waldheim’s career: starting as a volunteer Nazi, he entered the riot police of the SA. After the German defeat in WWII, his career as a Nazi lost importance, as he began to rise in the diplomatic field, becoming Secretary General of the UNO between 1972 and 1981. According to Ben Abraham, Waldheim had the support of the soviet bloc and Yugoslavia to reach that position. He also says that he had been classified as a Class-A war criminal in the UNO files since 1947.
Finally, Ben Abraham observes that it was during Waldheim’s tenure as Secretary General that the anti-Zionist vote was approved and that Yasser Arafat made a speech before the Assembly carrying a pistol, despite the fact he did not represent any country.
“Isn’t there chastisement for this kind of crime?”
This article criticizes the liberation from prison of former SS captain SS Ferdinand Aus Der Fuenten and ex-sergeant Franz Fischer, who were in charge of the Department of Deportations of the Jews in Amsterdam during the occupation of Holand, based on “humanitarian reasons”.
They had been sentenced to death, but the penalty had been changed to life in prison. Now that they were 80 and 87 years old respectively, justice had decided for their liberation.
Ben Abraham argues that genocide is different from murder, and differently from it, that kind of crime does not prescribe. He questions if the Dutch parliament decision can be called humanitarian since the two men had been responsible for the deportation of 12 thousand Jews to the gas chamber, Anne Frank included.
He closes by affirming there is not a enough form of punishment for genocide and that forgiving those two criminal and bringing them back to society equaled to profaning the memory of their victims.
“The 100th birthday of Adolf Hitler”
O Estado de S. Paulo
The article mentions that the followers of Nazism, both old and young, had prepared a series of demonstrations to celebrate the 100th birthday of Adolf Hitler.
Echoing the alert giving by Simon Wiesenthal, who had requested the European Parliament to dedicate that date to the victims of Nazism, Ben Abraham argues for the remembrance of the terrible consequences Hitler’s regime had brought on Germany and on mankind. He argues that the Jews were not the only victims, but also the Slavs, the Blacks, the Polish, the Czechs, the Russian, the Roma, and the Germans, who had died by millions on the battlefields. The division of Germany into two antagonistic ideologies is also portrayed as a consequence of Hitler’s actions and emphasizes all this has to be shown to the world.
Perhaps this way the youth would become aware of the destruction caused by Hitler and his ideology.
“The Danger of Nazism in Latin America”
This article explains the flight of tenths of thousands of war criminals to Latin America in order to escape being brought to justice. According to Ben Abraham, these criminal had large sums of money confiscated during the occupation, and the best option of laundering was investing in German-based companies in that region.
He says those companies had given coverage and jobs to Nazi fugitives during the 1950s and 60s, and now they had developed into large industrial complexes. Closing the article, he asks: What will be the end of all that money in the future?
“The tentacles of Nazism”
This article mentions a TV show in Brazil held on April the same year, in which 5 representatives of a Néo-Nazi cell were invited to speak. According to Ben Abraham, they resembled Nazi officials of the time of the war, and their speech was aimed at denying the atrocities of the German occupation during WWII.
His conclusion is that Nazism is not dead, but only sleeping. He warns that such an anti-Semitic propaganda can achieve its goals at least partially, and therefore people should be made aware of what happened in the Holocaust so that it would not repeat itself.
Sept 26th 1992
“Brazil in the rout of Néo-Nazism”
Folha de S. Paulo
The article mentions a TV report broadcast in September the same year showing the rise of Néo-Nazi movements in Brazil. Ben Abrahams says he is perplexed to know that this could happen in a democratic and multiracial country such as Brazil, where Néo-nazis had been attacking blacks, Northeasterners, and Jews. He warns that in the 1920s, the Weimar Republic did not pay attention to the first groups of National Socialists, and that in Germany those groups were now persecuting foreigners.
“The propagation of Nazism must be stopped”
Ben Abraham criticizes what he sees as inaction by the German authorities, who are not doing enough to deal with the rise of Néo-Nazism. He mentions two recent incidents in which gangs of skinheads engaged in acts of violence resulting in several dead and wounded. According to Ben Abraham, although the number of Néo-Nazis is around 10 thousand in Germany, part of the Germany population does not reprove their actions, especially against foreigners.
He warns that the Néo-Nazi movement is spreading beyond Germany, and is present in Brazil, where they have become more evident in the past few years, especially due to political instability and the context of democratic freedom.
“‘Beruf Neonazi’ at Masp”
This article criticizes the movie “Beruf Neonazi”, by Winfried Bonengel, which had been exhibited at the Masp museum in Sao Paulo in a cinema fair in October the same year. Ben Abraham argues that the movie is not a warning against Néo-Nazism, but rather a sophisticated way to propagate Nazi ideas and activities through its main character, Ewald Althans, a German Néo-Nazi leader.
He also mentions the repercussion the exhibition had in other Brazilian media and the reaction it caused in the public that watched it, observing that the movie had been banned by German authorities, ironizing the usage of the word “documentary” to classify the movie.
As a new exhibition of the movie was schedule for November, the Sherit Hapleitá association obtained permission to exhibit, right after “Beruf Neonazi”, the documentary “Nazismo nunca mais” (Nazism Never More), produced by Ben Abraham. Thus, he said, the second exhibition of the movie in Sao Paulo had been neutralized.
Dec 10 1995
“Traces of Nazism hang around the world”
This brief article alludes to the prison of Ewald Althans, protagonist of the movie “Beruf Neonazi” and his sentencing to 3 years and 6 months by German authorities. According to Ben Abraham, the judge said there are limits to freedom of expression, which cannot be used to defamation and provocation. Ben Abraham observes that the court’s decision had been approved by the German press, but had been criticizes by a few intellectuals, who considered it an aggression to freedom of thought.