SAN FRANCISCO (Jun. 17)
Vienna-based Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal said here that he will not accept the death of war criminal Josef Mengele until definite proof is provided, not by Brazilian forensic experts, but by independent experts from the United States and West Germany.
In an interview last week with the Northern California Jewish Bulletin of San Francisco, Wiesenthal suggested that it is likely that “we’ll never know the full truth” about the fate of the Nazi doctor. However, Wiesenthal emphasized that “the file will not be closed” unless there is corroboration regarding the body.
A body exhumed from a cemetery near Sao Paulo two weeks ago is purported to be that of the infamous war criminal, who performed inhumane medical experiments on inmates at the Auschwitz death camp during the Holocaust. Forensic experts are continuing their investigation of the bones exhumed from the cemetery to determine whether it is that of Mengele.
Handwriting experts and other experts are now in Brazil conducting a series of investigations into the life of the man said to have been Mengele and who reportedly drowned in a swimming mishap in 1979. The body purported to be that of Mengele was buried under a gravestone bearing the name of Wolfgang Gerhard.
GERMANS URGED TO PUBLISH COMPLETE MENGELE FILE
In New York, meanwhile, Israeli-based Nazi hunter Tuvia Friedman called on the West German government last week to publish the entire file of crimes committed by Mengele. “Whether or not Josef Mengele is dead,” Friedman told a news conference sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, “there is a vast amount of documentation in the hands of the German government that provide the basis for a profound moral instruction for the German people and the world community about the murderous acts committed by this ‘angel of death’.”
“That record of bestiality and systematic violation of human rights must not be discarded nor suppressed for the benefit of future generations of Germans and mankind, ” said Friedman, who tracked down Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann for 15 years until his capture by Israeli agents in 1961.
Friedman also urged the West German authorities to not allow the remains of Mengele, should he be verified as having died in Brazil, to be returned to West Germany because Mengele’s burial site may become a “place a veneration and pilgrimage” by former Nazi SS members.
“For Mengele to be made into a hero would be a horrendous final insult to the memory of the millions of Jews and others whose lives he so ruthlessly destroyed,” Friedman declared at the news conference.
DISCOVERY COMPARED TO ‘PLAY SCRIPT’
Wiesenthal, in his interview with the Jewish Bulletin, contended that the discovery of the body said to be that of the infamous war criminal was too contrived to be believable. “It looks too much like a play script,” he said.
“My first reaction was 99 percent no, because we had a number of previous pronouncements about his death. The majority of those pronouncements consisted of false information from Brazil,” he said.
Wiesenthal, head of the Nazi Documentation Center in Vienna, was in the Bay Area to address a dinner sponsored by Mayor Dianne Feinstein and her husband, Richard Blum, on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles.
He said in the interview that if the Brazilian investigation does prove Mengele is dead, he will be sorry. “His life is not important, but his testimony would be because certain people who deny the Holocaust, especially here in California, need to hear the truth.”
According to Wiesenthal, too many people in today’s world deny that the Holocaust happened. They “support hatred, they support information that the Holocaust was a hoax, that there were no gas chambers, ” Wiesenthal said, contending that this misinformation must be countered.