Simon Wiesenthal Center

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Logo of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a Jewish , politically active international non-governmental organization with headquarters in Los Angeles . It was founded in 1977 and is named after Simon Wiesenthal ; it mainly deals with the subject of the Holocaust . Simon Wiesenthal himself was only the namesake, but not involved in founding or managing the center.


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is headquartered in Los Angeles. Other locations are New York , Miami , Jerusalem , Paris and Buenos Aires .


It pursues the goal of maintaining tolerance and understanding towards fellow human beings in today's world, which is to be achieved through active involvement of society and its enlightenment and education. The Simon Wiesenthal Center deals with racism , anti-Semitism , terrorism and genocide . The center is registered with both the United Nations and UNESCO as a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Since the Simon Wiesenthal Center was founded in 1977, there has been continuous communication with both private and public institutions, including the US government and other governments.

The Operation Last Chance campaign is carried out in cooperation with the Targum Shlishi Foundation and aims to bring wanted and surviving Nazi war criminals to justice. It is headed by Efraim Zuroff , director of the Jerusalem site.

An Austrian memorial service can be performed in the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the associated Museum of Tolerance .


The center is founded and directed by Rabbi Marvin Hier , and his deputy is Rabbi Abraham Cooper . The current managing director is Rabbi Meyer H. May .

Library and archive

The center's library in Los Angeles contains a collection of approximately 50,000 volumes and articles. Furthermore, the archive contains pictures, diaries , letters , artifacts , templates and rare books that are accessible to researchers, students and others. A large number of the documents can be viewed online.

Relationship to the namesake

Initially, Simon Wiesenthal felt it was a great honor that the center was named after him. Its director Marvin Hier gave him numerous lectures and honors in the United States. In later years Wiesenthal often felt ignored or poorly informed, so that the conflicts increased. Marvin Hier succeeded time and again in appeasing him.

Operation Last Chance

Operation Last Chance is an international campaign with the aim of bringing wanted Nazi war criminals to justice. The motto of the campaign is: “Late, but not too late.” For clues that lead to the conviction of one of the wanted persons, 10,000 euros are exposed.

In 2013, the center started a poster campaign in Germany, with the help of which the last surviving war criminals should be tracked down. Initially, a total of 2,000 posters with the motto “Late, but not too late! Operation Last Chance " hung up. The gate to Auschwitz concentration camp was depicted on the black and red posters . A reward of up to 25,000 euros was offered for relevant information .

It is not too late to pursue the crimes of the Holocaust, and their meanwhile old age should not protect the perpetrators, said the Simon Wiesenthal Center. At the time, the center estimated the number of Nazi criminals still alive in Germany to be between 60 and 120. Those wanted were probably around 90 years old or even older. The reason for the poster campaign was the conviction of the war criminal Ivan Demjanjuk . The case had changed the legal situation: the former concentration camp guard Demjanjuk was sentenced to five years imprisonment in 2011 for aiding and abetting murder in 20,000 cases, despite undetectable individual guilt. The court considered it sufficient for a conviction that Demjanjuk was “part of the extermination machine ” of the National Socialists. The central office of the state justice administrations for the investigation of National Socialist crimes in Ludwigsburg announced in April 2013 that it was conducting preliminary investigations against 50 other concentration camp guards at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp .

In October 2014 the Simon Wiesenthal Center presented the German government with a list of 80 German citizens who are said to have caused the deaths of numerous Jews during World War II. A spokesman for the Jerusalem Jewish organization said these people were still alive. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Justice told the Israeli media that the list would be passed on to the office of the special prosecutor in Ludwigsburg and that it would now be examined there.

The 10 Worst Anti-Semitic / Anti-Israel Slurs

Since 2010, the SWC has published the "Top Ten Anti-Semitic / Anti-Israel Slurs", an annual top ten list of quotes which, in the opinion of the SWC, are anti-Semitic / anti-Israel slurs, which are also broader mark social acceptance and thus, in the opinion of the SWC, “threaten world peace”.

In an interview with the newspaper Die Zeit, Rabbi Abraham Cooper , deputy director of the SWC, specified the concern that the list is pursuing:

“We have been publishing this list every year since 2010. It is intended to be a global snapshot and show where and how anti-Semitism becomes mass-compatible. The list is a wake-up call to politicians and is intended to stimulate discussion. […] We follow [when distinguishing between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism] the definition given by Nathan Sharansky, the chairman of the Israeli immigration organization. Double standards, demonization and delegitimization are therefore decisive. If one of these three "D" applies, it is no longer a mere criticism. "

- Abraham Cooper

The list also included quotes from German: Thilo Sarrazin 2010, Hermann Dierkes 2011 and Jakob Augstein 2012. For 2013, caricatures published by the Stuttgarter Zeitung and the Badische Zeitung were added to the list. The Bank für Sozialwirtschaft was number 7 on the list in 2018 because it continued the account of the Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East , which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. In 2019, Christoph Heusgen , Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations, came 7th on the list because he voted "against Israel" 25 times in the Security Council and compared Israeli bulldozers with Hamas rockets.

To see the specific allegations, please call up the original list from the Simon Wiesenthal Center under the individual records (Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-Israel incidents).

List of the 10 worst anti-Semitic / anti-Israel slurs 2010 to 2016 at a glance
year 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 10
2010 Helen Thomas Oliver Stone Mahathir bin Mohamad Al-Mutawakil Taha (Deputy Minister of Information, Palestinian Authority ) Thilo Sarrazin Karel de Gucht Rick Sanchez (former CNN correspondent) Petras Stankeras (historian and advisor to the Ministry of Interior of Lithuania) Christina Patterson ( The Independent ) Social networks
( Yahoo , Facebook , Twitter )
2011 Mahmoud Abbas Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Mikis Theodorakis John Galliano Lars from Trier Osama Al-Malouhi (Syrian opposition member) Tawfiq Okasha (Egyptian presidential candidate) George Saliba Hermann Dierkes ( Die Linke Duisburg) Jeremiah Wright
2012 Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood :
Mohammed Badie
Futouh Abd Al-Nabi Mansour
Iranian regime:
Mahmoud Ahmadineschad
Hassan Firouzabadi
Mohamed Rahimi
Carlos Latuff Europe's anti-Semitic football fans All-Ukrainian association “Svoboda” :
Oleh Tjahnybok
Ihor Mirozhnytschenko
Chrysi Avgi :
Nikolaos Michaloliakos
Ilias Kasidiaris
Jobbik :
Marton Gyongyosi
Award of the doctor Trond Ali Linstad with the Kongens fortjenstmedalje Jakob Augstein Louis Farrakhan
2013 Ali Khamene'i Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Richard Falk Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
American Studies Association (ASA)
Roger Waters
United Church of Canada
Jobbik Justification and glorification of Hitler:
Najwa Karam
Mehmet Sahin
Two Turkish students who the Nazi salute in front of the entrance gate to the Auschwitz concentration camp showed
Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Qays bin Khalil al Kalbi
Muhammad al Farraj
Badische Zeitung
Stuttgarter Zeitung
Dagbladet (Norway) Thomas Drefvelin
Pine Bush School District Alice Walker
Max Blumenthal
European sporting events:
Miejski Ośrodek Sportu i Rekreacji , Łódź
fans of the Hungarian national football team
Dynamo Riga
Josip Šimunić
2014 A doctor in Belgium refuses medical help to a 90-year-old Jewish woman. ("Send her to Gaza for a few hours and she will be relieved of her pain.") Attack on the Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue in Jerusalem Assault on a Jewish couple and rape in Créteil " Toilet affair " in the party Die Linke Faruk Köse , columnist in Turkey, proposes a special tax for Turkish Jews. Björn Söder ( Sweden Democrat ; Vice President of the Swedish Reichstag) Mihály Zoltán Orosz Demonization and Delegitimation of Israel in American Academic Circles Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. (former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan ) In a sporting goods store in Hertfordshire a Jew is denied entry ("No Jews, no Jews.")
2015 Hatred of Jews inspired the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino ISIS European Union for double standards against Israel US campuses: anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish students Palestinian Authority / UNRWA Iran Culture and sport in Europe: hate songs against Jews, rejection of the Jewish rapper Matisyahu in Spain Jeremy Corbyn , Gerald Kaufman Kuwait Poland
2016 UN Security Council resolution 2334 and UN General Assembly resolutions Leadership of the Labor Party and Jenny Tonge France is boycotting Israel Boycott, spin-off, and sanctions the Education and Science Union , Canadian Union of Students, and United Church of Christ Richard B. Spencer Palestinian Authority and Hamas Numerous anti-Semitic attacks in the Netherlands Margot Wallström Sport - breeding ground for hatred Denial of the participation of Poles in the Holocaust; Anna Zalewska
2019 British Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn Attacks in Jersey City and Halle Death threats against Liliana Segre Closing of proceedings in the murder of Sarah Halimi Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Hate crime against Jews in New York City Voting behavior of the German representative Christoph Heusgen in the UN Security Council Universities in the USA and Canada Anniversary of "Kristallnacht" in Denmark and Sweden Pastor Rick Wiles calls impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump a "Jewish coup"


The SWC came under fire from Venezuela's Jewish community, especially at the end of 2005, when it accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez of making anti-Semitic statements because he claimed that “the descendants of those who crucified Christ (...) have acquired the riches of the world made my own ". The SWC assumed that this meant the Jews. Attributing immense power and wealth to Jews is a common anti-Semitic stereotype. The Jewish community in Venezuela rejected this shortly afterwards, as the SWC had again and again abbreviated Chávez's remarks in a distorted manner.

Comparable criticism is also expressed of the “anti-Semitic / anti-Israel slurs”. Some of the quotations published here are shortened in such a way that a clearly different statement is suggested than with the full quotation in the original context.

At the turn of the year 2012/2013, the SWC came under fire in the German press because statements by the German journalist and publisher Jakob Augstein about Israel and the Israeli government were on the list of "2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic / Anti-Israel Slurs" (Top ten anti-Semitic / anti-Israeli slurs in 2012) (9th place). The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany , Dieter Graumann , criticized the fact that "the others on the list, including the disgusting Nazi parties in our European partner countries Hungary and Greece, are thereby inadmissibly played down". Augstein, however, negligently stir up anti-Israeli resentment, convey an undifferentiated and falsified image of Israel and write without empathy or understanding for Israel's existential fears. Various politicians, journalists, Middle East and anti-Semitism experts defended Augstein against accusations of anti-Semitism, but in some cases distanced themselves from Augstein's statements.

The poster campaign “Late, but not too late! Operation Last Chance ”faced criticism. Michael Wolffsohn described the campaign as “tasteless” and took the view that the Simon Wiesenthal Center “often stands for slapstick, but not for really intensive, respectful processing”.

In 2019, the SWC came under fire because it led the German Bank for Social Economy in seventh place on its "List of the ten worst global anti-Semitic incidents of 2018" , because it had not canceled an account of the Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East . This organization criticizes Israeli policies in the occupied territories and is linked by some sources to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Stefan Reinecke commented that the list was “somewhere between slapstick and agitprop ,” the best thing to do would be to ignore it.

The inclusion of the German representative at the United Nations, Christoph Heusgen , in the “List of Antisemitic Incidents” in 2019 also met with criticism. The German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer made it clear that Heusgen does not determine the voting behavior in the Security Council himself, but acts on the instructions of the Federal Government. In addition, the diplomat “campaigned against anti-Semitism for years and with great passion”. The Federal Foreign Office stated that Germany campaigned at the United Nations “against unfair treatment of Israel” and supported “Israel's legitimate interests”. The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff , described the allegations against Heusgen as "completely inappropriate".

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Simon Wiesenthal Center. Operation: Last Chance, accessed December 27, 2013 .
  2. Multimedia Learning Center ( Memento from December 19, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Tom Segev : Simon Wiesenthal. Siedler, Berlin pp. 460-470.
  4. ^ Poster campaign: Search for Nazi criminals ( memento from August 26, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), , July 24, 2013.
  5. "We are at the beginning of the investigation" , , April 9, 2013 (interview with the head of the Ludwigsburg Central Office for the investigation of National Socialist crimes, Kurt Schrimm).
  6. Press report on Israel Today .
  7. Simon Wiesenthal Center: 2012 Top Ten Anti-Israel / Anti-Semitic Slurs - Mainstream Anti-Semitism Threatens World Peace .
  8. Christopher Weckwerth: "Augstein should apologize to the readers and the Jewish people". ZEIT-Online, January 5, 2013.
  9. Simon Wiesenthal Center: 2010 Top Ten Anti-Semitic Slurs ( Memento from October 17, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 188 kB).
  10. Simon Wiesenthal Center: 2011 Top Ten Anti-Israel / Anti-Semitic Slurs
  11. a b Simon Wiesenthal Center: 2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic / Anti-Israel Slurs .
  12. Benjamin Weinthal: Wiesenthal releases 'Top Ten 2013 anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slurs' list , Jerusalem Post , December 30, 2013.
  13. 2019 Top Ten worst global anti-semitic and anti-Israel incidents
  14. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-israel incidents 2010 ( Memento from October 17, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  15. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-israel incidents 2011 ( Memento from February 9, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-israel incidents 2012 ( Memento from March 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  17. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-israel incidents 2013
  18. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-israel incidents 2014
  19. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-israel incidents 2015
  20. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-israel incidents 2016
  21. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic / anti-israel incidents 2019
  22. ^ SWC News Items ( Memento of September 26, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).
  23. ^ Marc Perelman: Venezuela's Jews Defend Leftist President in Flap Over Remarks ,, Jan. 13, 2006.
  24. Culture and Life, Media. "Horrible and terrible". In: Focus. 02/2013, January 7, 2013.
  25. Der Spiegel, January 14, 2013: Spiegel Dispute: What is anti-Semitism?
  26. Gysi and Klöckner defend Augstein against accusations of anti-Semitism. In: Spiegel Online. December 31, 2012.
  27. ^ Nils Minkmar: Accusation of anti-Semitism: An open society. In: FAZ . January 1, 2013.
  28. ^ Criticism of anti-Semitism allegations against Augstein , Deutschlandradio Kultur , January 3, 2013 (interview by Klaus Pokatzky with anti-Semitism researcher Klaus Holz).
  29. ^ Christian Bommarius: Broder defamed Augstein. In: Berliner Zeitung . January 2, 2013.
  30. Interview in Deutschlandradio Kultur on July 23, 2013.
  31. Top Ten worst global anti-semitic incidents 2018
  32. Stefan Reinecke: Between the Chairs In: taz of January 10, 2019, p. 3.
  33. Stefan Reinecke: Curious, naive, helpless In: taz of January 11, 2019, p. 3.
  34. Federal government rejects anti-Semitism allegations against ambassadors. In: Zeit Online , December 13, 2019.
  35. Terror von Halle in second place on the list of anti-Semitic incidents. In: Zeit Online , December 18, 2019.

Coordinates: 34 ° 3 ′ 14 "  N , 118 ° 24 ′ 7"  W.