- The Washington Times - Friday, September 23, 2005

Nobles: Simon Wiesenthal, for continuing the fight long after the guns of World War II fell silent.

When American GIs liberated the Mauthausen death camp in May 1945, they set free a starving, 97-pound Simon Wiesenthal into the world. The war is over, they told him. Rejoice, for Hitler is dead, the Nazis are defeated, Europe is at peace. Perhaps, the 37-year-old might have replied, but justice will be done.

And so began one man’s decades-long hunt for lesser Nazi officers and their collaborators, whose excuse of “I was just following orders” Mr. Wiesenthal would not accept. He is credited with bringing more than 1,100 of them to trial, including Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka, Valerian Trifa, who became an orthodox archbishop in Michigan, and Karl Silberbauer, the Gestapo agent who arrested Anne Frank.

Yet the Nazi hunter wasn’t simply settling old scores. “When history looks back,” he once said, “I want people to know the Nazis weren’t able to kill millions of people and get away with it.” Fully aware of mankind’s proclivity for historical amnesia, Mr. Wiesenthal did what he did so no one would be allowed to forget.

On Tuesday, the world lost a good man at the age of 96.

For refusing to do nothing, Mr. Wiesenthal is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Two staffers of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, for a dirty political trick.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is a rising star in the conservative wing of the Republican Party. In June, he pleased admirers by announcing the formation of an exploratory committee for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Paul Sarbanes. Facing the loss of yet another Democratic-held seat, two DSCC senior staffers pounced, illegally obtaining a copy of Mr. Steele’s credit report.

Both staffers — Katie Barge, the DSCC’s research director, and her deputy, Lauren Weiner — have resigned and are currently under FBI investigation. The DSCC insists it was an isolated incident and that the two twenty-somethings acted alone. The head of the DSCC, Sen. Charles Schumer, however, needs to answer a few questions, such as why Miss Barge and Miss Weiner weren’t immediately fired in July after admitting what they had done. Instead, they were only suspended with pay. Stealing credit reports is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. After all, it’s an issue Mr. Schumer is particularly familiar with, being co-sponsor of the ID Theft Prevention Bill.

For their thoughtless, sinister act, Miss Barge and Miss Weiner are the Knaves of the week.


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