A documentary on the Austrian-Jewish architectural engineer who became a Nazi hunter after surviving the Holocaust.A documentary on the Austrian-Jewish architectural engineer who became a Nazi hunter after surviving the Holocaust.A documentary on the Austrian-Jewish architectural engineer who became a Nazi hunter after surviving the Holocaust.
This is the unwieldy title of a truly fascinating documentary which might just as well (in fact much more aptly) have been called "Simon Wiesenthal -- Tracer of Lost Nazis" -- or just plain "Nazi Hunter". Wiesenthal died in Vienna in 2004 at age 90 plus, a lifetime during which he survived the Holocaust, then spent the rest of his life relentlessly tracking down escaped Nazi war criminals in order to bring them to so-called 'justice'. His most famous catch was Adolph Eichmann, whom he traced all the way to Argentina, then had him kidnapped by the Mossad and brought back to Israel to stand trial for his part in implementing the German "Final Solution" -- the mass murder of the European Jews. The film traces Wiesenthal's entire life from the Ukraine to the camps to post-war Vienna, and what emerges -- oddly -- is not the picture of a vengeful Jewish James Bond -- but quite the contrary -- a mild mannered middle-aged man with a mission in life which he quietly pursued in order to "set things right" ~~ as much as ever they could be set. In later years in Vienna, where he had chosen to settle with his wife after the war, he was often grossly lambasted by the shamelessly Neo-Nazi Austrian media, to the point where his wife urged him to leave. But Wiesenthal decided it was here, in the eye of the revisionist denial storm, that he had to stick to his guns even though he was very much a Persona non Grata. (In the film he speaks in German most of the time). But the film ends on an upbeat note when he is greatly honored at a Vienna synagogue in this horribly hypocritical anti-Semitic city on his ninetieth birthday. Well, Simon finally had the last laugh, but this film is no laughing matter -- simply a blow-by-blow account of one of the strangest lives of the XXth century. Not to be missed. Narrated by actress Nicole Kidman. Viewed at 2007 Seattle film festival.
- Jun 27, 2015