Bonn (Dec. 30)
The Federal Police have destroyed the only known photograph of Josef Mengele, the notorious death camp doctor at Auschwitz for whom a warrant of arrest has been issued to stand trial for war crimes. Mengele is believed to be living in South America. The photograph was needed for identification.
Its destruction for alleged “constitutional” reasons was disclosed by the Frankfurter Rundschau after the police failed to provide the photograph on the demand of the State Prosecutor. A police spokesman confirmed the story. He said the photo was destroyed under routine clauses of the Constitution for the protection of privacy. The police nevertheless have ordered an investigation.
The Interior Ministry is playing down the matter. A spokesman said the photo was destroyed in the process of “clearing away” old documents. But this particular photograph was pertinent to an active case. The warrant for Mengele’s arrest was renewed early this year. It states that he is responsible for the murder of “many thousands” of Auschwitz inmates, mostly Jews, who he selected for the gas chambers or for inhumane medical experiments which resulted in death.