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December 22, 2016
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January 10, 2012
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June 30, 1985
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Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/10: CIA-RDP90-00965R000100120068-7 ARTICLE APPEARED- 0H PP plc Q oil WASHINGTON POST 30 June 1985 CanJosefMeiigdeBe L-C, BT JAC K he is now a haggardly handsome man J hideous medical experiments, who should be worked to death. Witnesses remember him as a soft- spoken man who conducted his horrors with gentle efficiency while sweet melo- dies from his phonograph mingled with the cries of the tortured, and fragrant scents from his garden mixed with the smell of cooking flesh. Inmates called him the "Angel of Death." Mengele kept meticulous accounts of his experiments, but both he and his files vanished after the Russians over- ran Auschwitz in 1945. 1 picked up his trail in 1960. 1 found some of his hideouts-a remote village in the fetid jungles of Paraguay, a cozy hotel room in Asuncion, a Nazi settlement in the hinterlands of Chile. One time. I was only three weeks behind him. Can he be caught? At this writing, he is still on the loose-the world's most- wanted- fugitive. But his luck at last may be running out. Last Sept. 2. 1 recounted in PARADE the anguished recollections of the Ausch- witz twins. The Justice Department has since ordered a worldwide manhunt for Mengele, coordinating efforts with West Germany and Israel to find and prose- cute him for "crimes against humanity." And nearly $3.5 million has been put up as a reward for Mengele's capture- by Israel, the friends of the Simon Wies- enthal Center, The Washington Times. West Germany and the Nazi-hunters Si- mon Wiesenthal and Beate Klarsfeld. Despite reports from Brazil on June 6 that Mengele may have died several years ago in a drowning accident, many believe he is still alive. Witnesses say OR 25 YEARS, I have been search- ing for Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz death camp doctor who for a terrible mo- ment in time was god of the inmates, with life-or-death power over them. He routinely decided who should go to the gas chambers, who should be used for ANDE RSON with a beleaguered air. They say he projects an eerily dignified presence, always wearing fashionable suits, even on steamy summer days. According to, his SS file, Mengele was bornon March 16, 1911, in Gunzburg on the Danube. He earned advanced degrees in medicine and philosophy. Pho- tographs show a darkly handsome young man, with a trace of a smile, in immacu- late civilian attire. In 1943, he was assigned as a camp doctor at Auschwitz. Though only 32 years old, he was swiftly promoted to chief medical officer. A confidential SS evaluation said of him in 1944: "Mengele has always proved to be an excellent officer, respected and well-liked... He thoroughly commands the field of anthro- pology ... Mengele has not displayed any weakness in character.- I sent my associate Lucette Lagnado to the scene of Mengele's crimes to look for witnesses and documents. At the Auschwitz Museum in Poland, the chief curator said that, after a 20-year search, she had found only a few documents: One was a paper signed by Mengele, "enclosing" a boy's hand for analysis. After the war, Nazi war criminals were rounded up for prosecution. But Mengele was scarcely mentioned at the doctors' trial at Nuremberg. Lagnado spoke with Telford Taylor, who had been the chief American prosecutor at Nur- emberg, and searched through his papers. The only relevant document. dated Nov. 7, 1947, noted that Mengele had sent to Berlin 20 to 30 shipments of blood at regular intervals. "It goes without saying that this blood was not derived from any blood donors," the document con- tinued. "In fact, Auschwitz inmates were forced to submit to Dr. Mengele, who would then syphon their blood ... until they would die." Though the American prosecutors wanted to bring him to justice-and Dr. Gizella Perl, who had served under Mengele at Auschwitz, offered to tes- tify against him-Mengele escaped prosecution. Taylor notified Washing- ton tersely: "Our records show that Dr. Mengele is dead as of October 6th. 1946." The case against him was closed. One Nuremberg investigator. Hans Wolfson, did try to pry information from the Mengele family. which he found living in luxury in Gunzburg, in the American zone of Germany. Hours of interrogation yielded nothing. "They lied like hell," he recalled. One document. perhaps meant as a smoke screen, sug- gested the family had disinherited him. How did the Angel of Death elude the Allied dragnet? Documents give brief, tantalizing references to Mengele. But either no follow-up was made or the file has vanished. Great gaping holes pock his escape route, a trail overgrown by years of assiduous cover-up. My associate managed to get hold of a file on Mengele, heretofore unavailable in the West, which had been kept by the Polish Military Commission for the In- vestigation of Nazi War Crimes. Vari- ous memos and letters, dating to 1947, indicate that Mengele was hiding out not in the American zone, as the press has speculated, but in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany under the alias "Dr. Scapesius." The Poles tried to fol- low the Scapesius clue, but the Soviets reported that there was no evidence that Mengele/Scapesius had ever been in their hands. As one report put it, "Mengele was one of the few doctors in Auschwitz. maybe the only one, who disappeared without leaving a trace." The Polish investigation concluded: "Until 1950, Mengele resided in Ger- many. Then. most likely through Greece and Spain, he left for Latin America." U.S. intelligence sources believe Mengele escaped through Italy, proa X disguised assaa pnnestBoth U.S. is sources agree that the Nazi underground. known as "Odessa" but also called "Spider" by Nazi romantics, smuggled Mengele out of Europe. All sources also agree, in the words of the Polish report, that "Josef Mengele is still hiding out in the territo- ries of Latin America." I began my search in 1960 in Buenos Aires, where I cultivated the confidence of some former SS officers. (On Nov. 13, 1960, 1 revealed in PARADE the whereabouts of several Nazi mass mur- derers on the lam in South America.) These men spoke admiringly of Josef CCrtinLied Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/10: CIA-RDP90-00965R000100120068-7 Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/10: CIA-RDP90-00965R000100120068-7 Ii commandos penetrated the area. my body as that of Edouard Roschmann. a former here have been reports that he has become sources said. Mengele kept a boat for a Nazi concentration camp commandant. The a major drug dealer. Accor m to one ICIAA fast getaway. j next morning. Wolf's shop was sprayed with reporta owns a farm in partnership wit Thereafter, Mengele apparently kept on the machine-gun bullets from a passing car. another smuggler -43 kilometers from Asunci- move. assuming phony identities, using forged A few weeks earlier, the Paraguayan gov- on. near an airstrip." The alleged partner was passports. staying with trusted Nazi collabora- ernment had suggested that its small Jewish arrested in New York for cocaine smuggling.- tors. AbriefpreparedforSen. AlfonseD'Amato community put a paid announcement in the But, lamented the CIA. "he esca d." (R. N.Y.) by several Western intelligence groups newpapers stating that it didn't think Mengele Some skeptics question why the world should asserts that Mengele "lived in Paraguay from was in the country. At the risk of their comfort- bother with a worn-out. 74-year-old warcrimi- 1959 until 1965." The staff of the Paraguayan able existence. the Jews told the regime they nal who is of no consequence in the 1980s. dictator Alfredo Stroessner admitted that the couldn't publish such a statement. The answer may lie in the Phoenician legend: death camp doctor had "moved to Brazil" in Stroessnerthen leaned on Israel. reminding "From the teeth of the slain dragon there will 1965 and then "to Portugal in the late 1960s. its diplomats of Paraguay's support in the I spring up new enemies of mankind." Sinister Staff members said Mengele "sent correspon- I United Nations and of the profitable military mass murderers have continued to stalk the dence, including Christmas cards, to them and economic ties between the two countries. killing fields from Pol Pot's Kampuchea to from Portugal until late 1980." It would be a shame, he said, to endanger this Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. The dragon's One witness met Mengele in Venezuela: valuable relationship over something so trivi teeth. no matter how old or festering, must be another encountered him at a ski resort in al as an aging Nazi war criminal. Israeli sources pulled. IN Switzerland: still another saw him in the south told my associate that hunting for Mengele is of France. There is a report that he once not on their government's agenda. Isser Harel. stayed only seven miles from his family's former head of Israel's Mossad intelligence home in Gunzburg. Another hideout, I heard, service and the man responsible for nabbing was a Nazi colony in Chile called Colonia I Adolf Eichmann, told Lagnado that it would Mengele and praised his "courage" for who served as-ambassador in the late 1970s. defiantly using his real name. Thanks After settling in. he asked to see the Mengele to family wealth, he had acquired a file. "There was no such file." White told small factory that produced pharmaceu- Lucette Lagnado. "[ was surprised that noth- ticals. He lived comfortably in the ing had been filed, since Mengele lived a few German section of Buenos Aires and blocks away from the American Embassy." was treated with deference, The ambassador conducted his own investi- OneSSofficer. recalling a discussion. gation. even venturing into Nazi hangouts. said Mengele spoke appreciatively of He eventually established that Mengele had Communist racial experiments. He told been granted Paraguayan citizenship. how Stalin had sought to create perfect Despite these reports. the State Department police by crossing Lithuanians with na- told members of Congress who inquired about tives of Kirghiz-the first known for Mengele: "Our embassy has often heard re- strength and fearlessness, the latter for ports that Josef Mengele and other Nazi war cunning, cruelty and indifference to hu- criminals are residing in Paraguay ... But the man life. He had done similar research embassy has.-.. been unable to confirm the at Auschwitz, Mengele said. actual presence of Dr. Mengele in Paraguay at Mengele lost some of his arrogance any given time." after Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped Meanwhile, Lagnado attempted to smoke by Israeli commandos in 1960. Sudden- out the evil doctor in Paraguay. She began on ly he dropped from sight. I later learned Herrera Street, a bustling esplanade of shops that he had holed up in the rain forest in downtown Asuncion where a few Jewish along the Parana River. which divides merchants had set up shop. She sought out Argentina and Paraguay. He lived in Emilio Wolf, a butcher. who reportedly had I rustic splendor. I was told, on the spotted Mengele over the years in Asuncion. Paraguayan side. The nearest town was A short, burly man. Wolf smiled graciously, at a haven for ex-Nazis. who were heavily his visitor. armed. No intruders could approach the "1 am looking for information on Dr. Mengele home without being challenged. Mengele." said Lagnado. The smile froze. All other access was obstructed by barri- I "Get away from here!" Wolf shouted. "Get ers of marshy backwaters, fallen trees out! Do you want me to lose my store''" Lagnado and thickets. But just in case some lsrae- later learned that Wolf had once identified a re rted that Mengele "lives in Encarnacion, Paraguay, and is involved in narcotics." It added: "Mengele's current alias is Henrique WollmanStroessner the Paraguayan ent, is protecting him." tmessner s protection is well known. What's not well known is that the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay has tried to discourage Mengele's pursuers, apparently for fear of offending Stroessner. The exception was Robert White. A 1972 CIA cable, quoting a petty criminal.. take "a combat brigade" to get to Mengele. Since the 1960s. therefore. Israel has kept its Nazi-hunters out of Paraguay. Nevertheless, the Nazi-hunter Wiesenthal traced Mengele to a community of German Mennonites in Paraguay. Mengele farm equip- ment (the family business in Germany) is widely used in the colony, and Wiesenthal was convinced that the Mennonites had shel- tered the fugitive. Lagnado persuaded a lead- er of the Mennonites to meet with her. He acknowledged that his community used Men- gele farm equipment but denied it had ever shielded Mengele. Then the nervous patriarch abruptly fled. Confidential sources said Mengele had lived for extended periods in the Europea Hotel, a small. German-operated establishment in down- town Asuncion that reportedly had been a Nazi hangout. After some prodding. Frieda Dingeldein, the Paraguayan widow of the Ger- man who had owned the hotel (she now lives in a squalid Indian village outside the capital). conceded to Lagnado that Mengele "might have been" there. She quickly added, "But I would not have known about it." Her son- tall, blonde, blue-eyed Enrique Dingeldein- finally did agree that the doctor might have stayed at the hotel. "But only a few times." he insisted. According to some regular guests at the Europea. Mengele sometimes would vanish for months. He never told his neighbors where he had been, his room was always waiting for him. Where is Mengele today'' Thanks to his wealth, he "is able to move freely." according to the CIA. Wiesenthal picked up eyewitnes reports that Men e e had beein Paraguay in June 1984. The CIA received similar information: "In August 1984. uncon- firmed sightings of Menge le were reported in Paraguayan border cities." Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/10: CIA-RDP90-00965R000100120068-7