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Argentina to Ask Other Countries to Open Their Files on Nazi Criminals

February 10, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Argentine government, which last week opened its files on Nazi war criminals, will ask other Latin American countries to do likewise.

The assurance was given Feb. 6 by Argentine Interior Minister Jose Manzano to Shimon Samuels, a senior official of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, at a lengthy meeting in Buenos Aires.

According to Samuels, Manzano pledged that:

* Argentina will establish a working relationship with the Wiesenthal Center and consider it a “professional partner” in tracking down information on Nazis sheltered in Argentina.

* Suspected Nazis named by the Wiesenthal Center will be arrested and held by authorities, pending full investigations.

* The Argentine government will order all regional and local authorities to turn over to the National Archives any documents on their investigations of suspected war criminals.

At the same time, Samuels is pursuing two priorities. One is to track down the files on Adolf Eichmann, which are mysteriously missing. Argentine Foreign Minister Guido di Tella has told Samuels he is puzzled by the missing information and will look into the matter immediately.

“It is clear that someone had an interest in hiding the Eichmann files,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Wiesenthal Center here.

Samuels is also searching for any leads on Heinrich Muller, last head of the Gestapo and Eichmann’s boss, who was last seen leaving Adolf Hitler’s bunker in Berlin the day before the fuhrer’s suicide. Muller has not been seen since and his disappearance is “one of the biggest mysteries of World War II,” said Hier.


President Carlos Menem of Argentina, who personally unsealed the war criminal files in a ceremony on Feb. 3, has come under intense criticism from Peronist trade unions for the move Menem has been accused of betraying Argentina at the bidding of Zionists and the United States.

Samuels himself has received numerous death threats, after his hotel room number was published in a local newspaper. He has been assigned a protective detail of 25 policemen and travels only with armed motorcycle escorts.

Despite such pressures, di Tella assured Samuels that his government would “come clean” on its past help to fugitive Nazis, regardless of the possible political cost. He also expressed his apologies to the Jewish people for Argentina’s past role in sheltering war criminals.

Samuels read the file on Josef Mengele and reported that German and Argentine authorities had known as early as 1956 that the man known as the “Angel of Death” at Auschwitz was hiding in Argentina.

In an important move, Mengele’s son and widow have agreed, after years of refusing, to make available blood samples, to be matched against DNA extracted from the bones of the man exhumed in 1985 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and assumed to be Mengele.

The tissue typing is being done in England, and is the last test an international team has been waiting for to release findings it is believed will absolutely verify that the man who drowned in Brazil in February 1979 was indeed Mengele.

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