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Nazi Hunter
"We will be doing one thing and one thing only... killin' Nazis!"
Lt. Aldo Raine, Inglourious Basterds

Someone who dedicates their life to hunting down ex-Nazis, or is dedicated to hunting down one particular Nazi because of what they did in World War II (note: this trope doesn't apply just because the antagonist happens to be an ex-Nazi). Often a Badass Israeli who might be working for Mossad, a result of the high-profile kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann from Argentinia in 1960. In reality, Mossad stopped chasing war criminals not long after this event, as more urgent threats to Israel took priority.

Expect the former Nazi to be living somewhere in South America in his well-guarded mansion financed by Nazi Gold, from which he plots the return of the Third Reich. Hardly Truth in Television, as genuine war criminals go to some trouble to avoid drawing attention to themselves. And this usually involves living modestly and often working in low end jobs such as manual labor. And as far as all that Nazi Gold, there are some other more plausible theories about where it ended up.

Something of a Dead Horse Trope these days, as anyone who served in World War II gets too long in the tooth to be anything other than a Nazi Grandpa. And the generation that would have been old enough to be movers and shakers in the Nazi party would now be centenarians. Finally, the end of the Cold War dramatically expanded the choice of stock villains.

However, there are Neo-Nazi hunters in Real Life, who are dedicated to making life Hell for anyone they suspect of being a Neo-Nazi or sympathizer, and many of whom are affiliated with the Punk Rock music scene. Groups and movements such as Anti-Fascist Action and Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (yes, really) are a prominent example of this type of modern-day Nazi Hunter. Ironically, these groups are often perceived by outsiders as even more militant and obnoxious than the modern-day Nazis themselves.

Very common in Nazisploitation films.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comicbooks 
  • In the Marvel Universe, Silver Sable's father did this, with the Wild Pack originally being established as a Nazi hunting group.
  • There was an extended comic story in the National Lampoon magazine about "Gunnar Von Weissen", an ex-Nazi who hunted former concentration camp prisoners, a la Wiesenthal.
  • There is an indie comic called Manimal (no, not that one) about a Super Hero who tracks down and slays the Nazis responsible for turning him into a freak. This comic was reviewed by The Cinema Snob and Linkara.
  • Hellboy tracked down Nazis after the war and even killed Adolf Hitler himself. Some of these Nazis are still around and he expresses his disgust of Nazis everytime he sees them.
  • Captain America himself continues to do this to this day, thanks to the Red Skull being very hard to kill.
  • Much like Cap, Atomic Robo also continues to fight Nazi super-science, by virtue of Helsingard having god knows how many hidden labs throughout the world. Robo also found Otto Skorzeny living in Madrid in 1974, but Skorzeny had actually brought him there so that he could goad Robo into killing him, to free him from the pain of his terminal cancer. Robo declined.
  • Rebeccah's sister in Requiem Chevalier Vampire. She kills Otto (an old Nazi hiding in Argentina at that point), sending him to Resurection.
  • In the 80's, Magneto joined the ranks of several Marvel villains in the Acts of Vengeance Cross Over simply so that he could get close to the Red Skull and bury him alive. Magneto was a Holocaust survivor so there was no love lost between him and the Skull.
  • The Sin City short story Rats features an elderly Nazi war criminal, apparently living in secret in America. A mysterious Nazi Hunter soon kicks in the door and kills him by shoving him in the oven. It is speculated that the Nazi Hunter in this story is a young Mob Boss Wallenquist, a German mafia leader.
  • A back-up story in an issue of Savage Dragon involved the Super Patriot tracking down a cult of ninja cyborg Nazis. Since he was a WWII vet, he took great pleasure in blowing them apart.

    Film 
  • Subverted in the movie The Statement (from the novel by Brian Moore). A old Vichy-France war criminal played by Michael Caine kills an apparent Nazi Hunter in self-defence, but when the police starts investigating it turns out that the Nazi Hunter was just a hitman with a fake Jewish-Canadian background, hired by a couple of influential war criminals who wanted to get rid of Caine as he knew too much about them.
  • Erik spends the first twenty minutes or so of his screentime in X-Men: First Class tracking down and killing Nazis. In fact, his reason for joining the X-Men is so that he can find and kill Sebastian Shaw, the mutant Nazi who killed his mother.
  • Night Gallery pilot film, episode "Escape Route". A Nazi war criminal living in South America is pursued by Israeli agents, including a man he tortured at Auschwitz.
  • Inglourious Basterds features a squad of JEWISH-AMERICAN-SOLDIERS! killin' Nazi officials and soldiers during WW2 as opposed to after it. One of their member also happens to be a Hunter of His Own Kind, a former German soldier that developed a taste for killing Nazis himself.
  • SLC Punk! has a modern take on this; the main characters find Neo-Nazi punks and beat them up. This is mostly due to the Neo-Nazis calling themselves punks rather than any moral reasons.
  • The Debt follows three young Mossad agents attempting to kidnap a Captain Ersatz version of Dr. Mengele from East Berlin in the 60's.
  • In the French movie (and remake) Marie-Octobre, the target is not the former Nazi himself, who was simply an enemy soldier: the problem is that said German revealed the presence of a traitor in the former resistance movement.
  • Dolores from OSS 117: Lost in Rio.
  • Walk on Water
  • The protagonist of the second Outpost movie is a young woman carrying on a family vendetta of hunting down those who killed their relatives in the holocaust. Turns out one of the perpetrators isn't a Nazi Grandpa.

    Literature 
  • The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth. Has Simon Wiesenthal as a cameo character.
  • The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin. The protagonist is an obvious Wiesenthal expy.
  • Subverted in Cobra by Andrew Vachss. Burke motivates The Mole (who's Jewish) by saying the people he's chasing are Nazis, when the only Nazis he knows are pathetic wannabes to whom he sells copies of Hitler's final speech (actually Simon Wiesenthal addressing a crowd of Holocaust victims).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kessler, the sequel to Secret Army, in which the title character is pursued by a German police officer, and a young Israeli woman seeking revenge for her roommate being killed by neo-Nazi thugs.
  • In the Airwolf episode "Fight Like a Dove", the daughter of a Nazi hunter who was murdered by an ex-Nazi Arms Dealer gets the Airwolf team's help to attack the Big Bad in his fortress in Paraguay.
  • Heartbeat ("Going Home"). A German-American called Victor Kellerman tries to kill a local resident, after spending years trying to track down this 'friend' who confiscated his wealth and sent him to a concentration camp. He's finally able to track him down when the man's son sells a valuable stamp which used to belong to Kellerman.
  • The 2007 TV adaptation of the Miss Marple story At Bertram's Hotel turns Malinowski (a racecar driver in the novel!) into a Nazi hunter.
  • Sue Sylvester's mother Doris on Glee.
  • The man Sister Jude goes to for information on her co-worker, Nazi scientist Dr. Arden, also known as Hans Gruper in American Horror Story. This takes place in the 1960s, so there are likely a good many Nazis still running around.

    Video Games 
  • The Soldier from Team Fortress 2... sort of. He traveled to Poland during the war to kill Nazis and didn't stop until four years after the war was over, because he didn't realize the war was over. What form this Nazi-killing spree took, exactly, or even if they were really Nazis, is not made clear.

    Real Life 
  • Simon Wiesenthal
    • The Simon Wiesenthal Center has recently started to realize that Nazi war criminals are soon going to be all dead, so they've redirected toward hate groups, and toward anybody accused of antisemitism, except, oddly, Argentine dictators who openly praised Adolf Hitler.
  • Ingrid Rimland once cooperated with Simon Wiesenthal to hunt Josef Mengele, even writing a book, Demon Doctor, about that hunt. Later, she'd meet Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, marry him and is today a Holocaust denier herself.
  • The Avengers. No, not them.
  • Efraim Zuroff
  • Serge and Beate Klarsfeld
  • Hunting Nazis was one of the first tasks carried out by the Mossad.


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