McLain, K. (2016). THE SURVIVOR’S HUNT FOR NAZI FUGITIVES IN BRAZIL: THE CASES OF FRANZ STANGL AND GUSTAV WAGNER IN THE CONTEXT OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
On April 23, 1978, Brazilian authorities arrested Gustav Wagner, a former Nazi internationally wanted for his crimes committed during the Holocaust. Despite a confirming witness and petitions from West Germany, Israel, Poland and Austria, the Brazilian Supreme Court blocked Wagner’s extradition and released him in 1979. Earlier in 1967, Brazil extradited Wagner’s former commanding officer, Franz Stangl, who stood trial in West Germany, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. These two particular cases present a paradox in the international hunt to bring Nazi war criminals to justice. They both had almost identical experiences during the war and their escape, yet opposite outcomes once arrested. Trials against war criminals, particularly in West Germany, yielded some successes, but many resulted in acquittals or light sentences. Some Jewish survivors sought extrajudicial means to see that Holocaust perpetrators received their due justice. Some resorted to violence, such as vigilante justice carried out by "Jewish vengeance squads." In other cases, private survivor and Jewish organizations collaborated to acquire information, lobby diplomatic representatives and draw public attention to the fact that many Nazi war criminals were still at large. One particular individual, Simon Wiesenthal, communicated with contacts, governments and private organizations all over the world to track, locate, extradite and prosecute former war criminals.