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Wiesenthal prevailed over evil World made a better place after Nazi hunter survived, tracked his tormenters

Life is often not fair, but sometimes it is just. So it was with Simon Wiesenthal, the one-time prisoner of Nazi death camps who not only outlived most of his former captors but spent a lifetime bringing many of them to justice. Wiesenthal died Tuesday at the fine age of 96.

Imprisoned in a dozen Nazi camps, including five death camps, Wiesenthal survived and went on to create a peerless legacy. Because of him and a few others -- people like Elie Wiesel and Serge Klarsfeld -- the world did not forget what men did to Jews and others more than a half-century ago in Germany and the countries it invaded.

His tenaciousness in pursuing those who committed some of the worst crimes in history set an example and a standard, one now followed around the world, whether in Bosnia or Alabama. Crimes against humanity demand redress, no matter how much time passes.

That tenacity, that focus, that clearheaded commitment to a high moral purpose has served the world well since Wiesenthal took up the task that became a mission shortly after he was liberated from the Mauthausen death camp in Austria in May 1945. He responded to unimaginable horror in a way that ensured his legacy by making the world a better place.

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