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Posted Thursday, September 3, 1998


WE REPRODUCE with acknowledgements this contribution from Reader


Dead Man Walking: Wiesenthal and Mengele

By AR-Online CORRESPONDENT Orest Slepokura

AS RESEARCHERS have long pointed out, Simon Wiesenthal's reputation as a so-called Nazi-hunter has been totally undeserved - a classic example of myth-conception. A case in point:

The notorious Auschwitz physician Josef Mengele had already been dead more than five (5) years, after dying by drowing on February 7, 1979, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil, where he had been living in fretful poverty and obscurity since 1962, when on February 24, 1984, the famed Nazi-hunter Wiesenthal sent a letter to the New York Times.

Simon Wiesenthal's letter was published on March 13 under the headline "FLEEING NAZIS' FRIEND IN POSTWAR ROME."

The last three paragraphs of this ten-paragraph missive referred to the old Nazi-hunter's relentless pursuit of the elusive Dr. Mengele: Wiesenthal alleged that his South American agents had managed to track down Dr. Mengele in Philadelphia, a Mennonite village in Paraguay [sic]. In fact, he was very specific about the date when they had managed to locate Dr. Mengele: January 5, 1983.


Alas, so Wiesenthal reports:

"A police agent did indeed accompany my colleagues to Philadelphia, prepared to arrest Mengele, but unfortunately they arrived five days too late - Mengele had left on Dec. 31, 1982."

What was also interesting about this particular letter is the credit Wiesenthal gave to former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim for his efforts in helping to capture the old Nazi fugitive. He wrote:

"With reference to the matter of Dr. Joseph Mengele, I might add that in 1979 I managed, with the help of then U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim as well as a number of U.S. Senators, to persuade the Paraguayan Government to revoke Dr. Mengele's [Paraguayan?!] citizenship and to issue an arrest order."

Needless to say, two years following the publication of this letter in the New York Times, Kurt Waldheim would himself be the subject of inquiries and scandal born of hoary, grisly allegations that he, too, might well have had an involvement in Nazi war crimes and atrocities in the Balkan campaign during the Second World War.

It's a small world, eh?

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical

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