The crazy, real-life story of Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi hunter

The crazy, real-life story of Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi hunter

It's worth noting that there was a fair share of controversy around Simon Wiesenthal, his claims, and his methods. According to The New York Times, the impression he liked to give — that he was at the head of some massive organization that dished out justice on a daily basis — just wasn't accurate. More often, they say, it was him — alone — sifting through mountains of papers, books, documents, and phone records, then turning over the evidence he found to those who did the actual arresting. Which is still pretty impressive.

Still, there was a dark side. Cyla was described as a "sickly, depressive woman," once quoted as saying, "I am not married to a man. I am married to thousands, maybe millions, of dead." Spiegel says there were other issues people had, too. Wiesenthal, they write, was often accused of exaggerating the role he played in apprehending fugitives, and in doing so, was also accused of liking fame and glory more than the actual justice.


Along the way, they add, they say he was known for his questionable methods of collecting information, ignoring instances where he was wrong, antagonizing those who were trying to do the same thing he was — including other Nazi hunters. Biographer Tom Segev wrote that although he was a "brave man," he was also possessing a "soaring ego" and a "tendency to fantasize."