PARIS -- A judge has issued an arrest warrant for Alois Brunner, an Austrian who allegedly deported 100,000 Jews to Nazi death camps in World War II and now lives in Syria.
The warrant issued Friday by Judge Claude Grellier resulted from a complaint filed in December by Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld, the Jewish lawyer who tracked war criminal Klaus Barbie down in his Bolivian refuge.
Brunner, 76, ran a transit camp in the Paris suburb of Drancy from which many thousands of Jews were shipped to Auschwitz and other Nazi extermination camps in Eastern Europe. A French military court that tried and convicted him in absentia in 1954 condemned him to death.
Before he was assigned to France, Brunner allegedly organized the deportation from Salonica, Greece, of 43,000 Jews. Altogether, he is alleged to have deported 100,000 Jews to Nazi death camps.
Other countries including Austria, West Germany and Poland have asked the government of Syrian President Hafez Assad to extradite Brunner, who uses the name of Georg Fischer. Syria has consistently denied reports Brunner is living in Damascus.
Klarsfeld, whose father Arno was arrested in Nice in 1943 by Gestapo agents under Brunner's orders, reactivated the Brunner case Dec. 4 by filing a complaint accusing the Austrian of crimes against humanity.
Barbie, the wartime Gestapo chief of Lyon, was convicted on the same charges in July 1987 and sentenced to life in prison.
The warrant alleges Brunner ordered the arrest in Paris in July 1944 of 200 Jewish orphans who later perished in Auschwitz. Despite his postwar judgment, Brunner has never been tried on that charge.
Born in 1912 in Rohrbrun, Austria, Brunner became a Nazi in 1931 and joined the SS Nazi secret police in 1938. He was an associate of Adolf Eichmann, the bureaucrat who carried out Hitler's 'Final Solution' leading to the Holocaust in which 6 million Jews were put to death.
The complaint against Brunner was filed by the Sons and Daughters of Jews Deported from France, a group headed by Klarsfeld.