Menu JTA Search

U.S. and Israel Preparing to Cooperate in Search for Mengele

The United States and Israel are preparing to cooperate in the search for Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz death camp doctor who is the most notorious Nazi war criminal still at large.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday that it would accept evidence from Israelis in the investigation just ordered by Attomey General William French Smith into the where abouts of Mengele and of reports that in 1947 he was arrested and released by American authorities in Vienna.

Neal Sher, chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI), told a Voice of Israel Radio reporter in Washington that the investigation will be carried out in coordination with other governments. He would not say whether U.S. agents would participate in the search for the war criminal.

COORDINATING UNIT ESTABLISHED IN ISRAEL

It was learned, meanwhile, that Justice Minister Moshe Nissim has established an inter-ministerial headquarters to coordinate government activities to track down Mengele. The inter-ministerial group will consist of representatives of the Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry, police and other government agencies. Nissim said all legal preparations have been completed to bring Mengele to swift trial in Israel once he is found and captured.

Details of Mengele’s brutal medical experiments on Auschwitz inmates were recounted in detail by survivors attending an international congress at the Yad Vashem to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the death camp. The three-day gathering which opened last Sunday and ended Tuesday, is credited with arousing world-wide interest in bringing Mengele to justice.

APPEAL TO THE POPE

At its conclusion, Zvi Terlo, a lawyer who interrogated the Auschwitz survivors about their experiences, appealed to Pope John Paul II to use his influence in Latin America to help find Mengele. The death camp doctor is believed to have been hiding out in South America since 1953 and many sources place him in Paraguay. “The people who know his present whereabouts shield him, “Terlo said. He urged the Pope to order them to break their silence.

NEXT STORY