Germany offers $333,000 bounty for last top Nazi

BONN — German prosecutors have posted a $333,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the last leading Nazi still believed to be on the loose.

Alois Brunner, 83, has been hunted unsuccessfully for years by authorities. State prosecutors in Cologne and Frankfurt made the reward offer in the hope of finally capturing him.

Brunner, an Austrian citizen, served during World War II as personal secretary to Adolf Eichmann, Hitler's chief aide.

The person whom Eichmann once described as his "best man" orchestrated the deaths of some 128,000 Jews from Austria, Greece, France and Slovakia during the war.

Brunner was listed earlier this year in the German newsmagazine Focus as one of Interpol's 12 most-wanted people.

According to the magazine, which quoted information from the Interpol center in Lyon, France, the former SS officer who was previously believed to be living undisturbed in Damascus, Syria, had obtained an Austrian passport under an assumed name and moved to Argentina.

But in August, French police said they failed to locate Brunner in Argentina after receiving tips that he left his hideout in Syria.

Brunner lived in Essen, Germany, until 1954 under the alias of Alois Schmaldienst.

He then fled to Damascus, where he had worked as a businessman and "government adviser" using the name Georg Fischer.

Authorities in Germany, France and Austria have issued warrants for Brunner's arrest.

As far back as 1992, diplomats in Syria maintained Brunner was dead. But the German magazine Der Spiegel quoted French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld as saying that Brunner still lives in Damascus in a state-owned apartment. According to various reports, Brunner has been spotted in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Cambodia.