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Wiesenthal, Simon

Born: 1908 AD
Died: 2005 AD
Nationality: N/A
Categories: Engineers

1908 – He was born on the 31st day of December this year in Buczacz, Ukrainian Galicia.


1914 – With the outbreak of the First World War in this year, however, his father, as a reserve in the Austro-Hungarian Army, was called to active duty and died in combat on the Eastern Front in 1915.


1917 – He and his brother went to school in Vienna until the Russian retreat from Galicia. After moving back to Buczacz, this area of Galicia constantly changed leadership, with numerous ‘liberations’ by surrounding nations, at various times being under Cossack, Austrian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Soviet rule.


1925 – His mother remarried and moved to the Carpathian Mountains with Simon’s brother. Simon opted to continue his studies in Buczacz, but visited them often.


1921 – Upon graduating high school this year, he attended the Technical University of Prague, which he graduated in 1932.


1934 – He apprenticed as a building engineer in Stalinist Soviet Russia, spending a few weeks in Kharkov and Kiev, but most of these two years in the Black Sea port of Odessa.


1939 – His career spanned all of three years until he finished his final job a week before the German invasion, which began on the 1st day of September this year.


1941 – In June of this year, he was forced to close his firm and work in a factory, when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.


1942 – His mother was perished this year at the extermination camp in of Belzec.


1943 – However, he did not escape imprisonment so quickly. With the help of a deputy director of the camp he managed to escape from Janowska right before the Nazis executed the camp’s inmates in October of this year.


1944 – He was recaptured this year.


1945 – He was liberated by the American Forces on the 5th day of May this year.


1947 – He and 30 other volunteers founded the Jewish Documentation Center in Linz, Austria, in order to gather information for future trials. However, as the U.S. and the Soviet Union lost interest in further war crimes trials, the group drifted apart.


1962 – He reopened the Jewish Documentation Center, which now focused on other cases. Among his most high-profile successes was the capture of Karl Silberbauer, the Gestapo officer responsible for the arrest of Anne Frank.


1975 – After he had released a report on FPÖ party chairman Friedrich Peter’s Nazi past, Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, suggested that he was part of a "certain mafia" seeking to besmirch Austria and even claimed he had collaborated with Nazis and Gestapo to survive, a charge that he labeled ridiculous.


1977 – A Holocaust memorial agency was named in his honor as the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Center is based in Los Angeles and promotes awareness of anti-Semitism.


2003 – Even after turning 90, Wiesenthal spent time at his small office in the Jewish Documentation Center in central Vienna. In April of this year, he announced his retirement, saying that he had found the mass murderers he had been looking for.


2005 – He spent his last years in Vienna, where his wife, Cyla, died of natural causes. He died in his sleep at age 96 in Vienna on September 20 of this year.