BONN (Jun. 20)
If Josef Mengele is in fact dead, the notorious Auschwitz death camp doctor died unrepentent, according to documents published in the Munich-based weekly Bunte Illustrierte today.
The documents, including diaries, were made available “on loan” to the West German authorities by Mengele’s son, Rolf Mengele, a lawyer in Frieburg. A spokesman for the State Prosecutor in Frankfurt said that a thorough study of the thousands of pages indicated they are authentic.
According to historians who studied the documents, Mengele never regretted the atrocities he committed at Auschwitz and believed throughout his life that Nazi racial theories justified his activities. They included the selection of inmates for the gas chambers and fatal or crippling medical experiments on thousands of others. Mengele is held responsible for the deaths of at least 400,000 Auschwitz prisoners, most of them Jews, which earned him the sobriquet “Angel of Death.”
The Mengele papers were also published by a rival weekly, the Hamburg-based Stern which obtained them from the same source as Bunte, according to the authorities.
COUPLE HAD MENGELE DOCUMENTS
Stern purchased the documents from Wolfram and Liselotte Bossert, an elderly couple of Austrian origin who said they sheltered the fugitive Mengele at their home near Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was the Bossert’s claim that Mengele died in 1979 in a swimming mishap that caused Brazilian authorities to exhume the remains of a man buried near Sao Paulo under the name Wolfgang Gerhard, presumed to be Mengele.
The remains are still under examination by forensic experts from West Germany, the U.S. and Israel as well as Brazilian. But so far,conclusive evidence that they belong to Mengele has not emerged.
Rolf Mengele insists, however that they do. He said he was notified in 1979 of his father’s death. The Mengele family, which operates an agricultural machinery factory in Guenzburg, Bavaria, admitted that it sent money periodically to Mengele during the more than 30 years he lived in South America after evading justice at the end of World War II.
POLICE INACTION CRITICIZED
It has been reported that the money was delivered either by a courier employed by the Mengele family or by family members themselves. This led the mass circulation daily Bild to remark editorially today that the police of all the countries looking for Mengele must have been asleep. By watching the Mengele family they could have found the fugitive, Bild said.
“The work (of the police) was done sloppily and unprofessionally. Not only in Germany but in all other countries. Forget it ? No. Explanations of the responsible authorities are overdue,” Bild declared.
But many observers here say the failure to track Mengele down by keeping an eye on his family was not the result of police negligence so much as a lack of political will to investigate the matter properly.