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Whitney R. Harris, 97; prosecuted Nazi crimes after WWII

Whitney R. Harris interrogated the former Auschwitz commander.
Whitney R. Harris interrogated the former Auschwitz commander. (Diether Endlicher/associated Press)

In 1954 and 1955, he was national executive director of the American Bar Association in Chicago. He joined Southwestern Bell in Dallas and moved to St. Louis eight years later with the company, then went into private practice.

In 1964, Mr. Harris married Jane Freund Foster. Over the years, the Harrises served on the local boards of the Heart Association, St. Louis Children's Hospital, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and other charities. They also worked to raise money for those causes. In 1983, they received a joint award for outstanding volunteer fundraising from the National Society of Fundraising Executives. She died in 1999.

The following year, he married Anna Galakatos. Besides his wife, survivors include a son from his first marriage; four stepchildren; and 13 grandchildren.

In a 2008 interview, Mr. Harris spoke of the institutional evil of the Nazi regime in Germany -- and its ageless warning to all people.

"Society lays the groundwork, and we develop in that society," he said. "We become part of that society, we're captivated by it, and we might do evil, too. It makes you wonder about where is the future of mankind -- is evil going to triumph ultimately, or is good going to triumph?

"You have to find the good instincts that are in all of us."

-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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