. How a Syrian War Criminal and Double Agent Disappeared in Europe « JO LEE MAGAZINE

The New Yorker – On a September day in 1961, a thin man with a small mustache walked into a post office in Damascus to pick up a parcel addressed to Georg Fischer. Few people knew that Fischer, an ill-tempered Austrian weapons merchant, was actually the S.S. Hauptsturmführer Alois Brunner, “the erstwhile assistant of Adolf Eichmann in the annihilation of Jews,” as a classified U.S. cable put it. But among those who were aware of his identity was a Mossad operative who had infiltrated the Syrian élite. When Brunner opened the package, it exploded, killing two postal workers and blinding him in the left eye.

Hafez al-Assad, Syria’s dictator, ignored multiple requests for Brunner’s extradition. Brunner was useful—as an assertion of Syrian state sovereignty, a mockery of global norms and values, and an affront to Israel, Syria’s neighbor and enemy. He was, as someone in Assad’s inner circle later put it, “a card that the regime kept in its hand.”…

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