Skip To Content
The Schmooze

Simon Weisenthal Was a Mossad Agent, A New Book Says

A new biography of Simon Weisenthal reveals that the famed Nazi hunter may have had some heretofore-unknown friends in high places. According to author Tom Segev, who was granted unprecedented access, Wiesenthal was not just a crusading individual acting alone — he was on the payroll of Mossad.

An article in The New York Times details Segev’s discovery, which was based on interviews with people who claimed to be Wiesenthal’s Mossad handlers. The book reveals Wiesenthal’s code name (Theocrat) and suggests that the oft-held view that Israel was not a major player in tracking down Nazis needs to be re-evaluated.

The article details one story in the book, which placed Wiesenthal in Austria in 1948, as part of a mostly unknown attempt to capture Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann. Another Israeli agent botched the mission by sharing stories of Israel’s war on independence with Austrian barflies. Eichmann got word that Israelis were around town and fled. (He was finally apprehended in Argentina in 1960.)

The book, Simon Weisenthal: The Life and Legends, will be released in the United States this week.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.