LONDON, England - Simon Wiesenthal, the great Nazi hunter, was knighted by Britain in honor of tracking down more than 1000 war criminals from the Third Reich. But critics said he screwed up because he didn't get Hitler alive.
The presentation for the appointment as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire was poignant but marred by protestors carrying signs with rude phrases and chanting, "Down with the old bastard."
Mr Wiesenthal, 95, is so ill that the ceremony was conducted in his living room. But he said in his defense of the critics that Hitler was dead before he began his search for Nazi criminals.
"No excuse," said one critic. "If you are going to hunt Nazis, get the guy who started the whole mess."
Since many of the critics are almost as old as Mr. Wiesenthal and Hitler is dead, the chances of successfully bringing Hitler to trial are rapidly disappearing.
Mr. Wiesenthal spearheaded the search for leading concentration camp staff, for the Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele and he successfully lobbied governments to investigate people who had switched identities after the war and become respectable members of their new countries.
"But he never got Adolph!" said 100-year-old Ernie Shtickengrapher, who died during the protest after carrying a sign for fifteen city blocks.