January 23, 1922
Tuviah Samuel Friedman, a Nazi-hunter known as “the Merciless One,” is born in Radom, Poland.
Friedman survives several concentration camps during the Holocaust, which kills his parents and two siblings. As a a survivor, Friedman is passionate about bringing Nazis to justice. In the months after World War II, he and other survivors roam the Polish countryside, capturing and torturing Nazis, and Soviet and Polish authorities contract Friedman to gather evidence about German atrocities. Friedman works with the Haganah out of Vienna to chase leads on surviving Nazi across Europe, and he becomes obsessed with finding Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann.
He spends years researching, interviewing and hunting for clues. He immigrates to Israel in 1952 and becomes a one-man Nazi-hunting team through his own foundation, the Institute of Documentation for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes. He buys ads seeking tips in newspapers around the world. On Oct. 18, 1959, Friedman receives a letter from Argentina revealing that Eichmann is living outside Buenos Aires. Although Israeli authorities already have the information, Friedman’s years of meticulous research help prosecute Eichmann after he is captured in May 1960. Friedman writes about his experiences in a 1961 memoir, “The Hunter.”
Eli Rosenbaum, a U.S. Justice Department official involved in finding and prosecuting Nazi war criminals, credits Friedman and the better-known Simon Wiesenthal with playing vital roles in searching for Eichmann and keeping pressure on the Israeli government to pursue his capture.
Friedman dies Jan. 13, 2011, at age 88 in Haifa.