Many senior Nazi war criminals were never sentenced. Some, like Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler committed suicide as the war came to an end. Many escaped Germany and were never found.
However, people like survivor Simon Wiesenthal made it their mission to track down Nazis across the world, and present evidence to governments to prosecute them.
In 1959 the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad received intelligence about the whereabouts of Adolf Eichmann, who had a major role in the ‘Final Solution’, organising the transportation of Jews to the extermination camps.
Eichmann was captured by Israeli agents in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in May 1960. He was taken to Israel where he was tried for 15 criminal counts, including ‘crimes against the Jewish people’. The trial began in Jerusalem in April 1961 and ended with Eichmann being found guilty on all counts. After an unsuccessful appeal, he was hanged on 31 May 1962.
The Eichmann trial attracted huge publicity around the world, and helped raise awareness of the enormity of the crimes committed during the Holocaust.
In 1988 an investigation revealed that Nazi war criminals were living in the UK. A law was passed in 1991 which allowed people to be tried for Nazi war crimes under UK law, but only one successful prosecution was carried out.