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Police to identify Nazi 'Doctor Death' remains

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Police to identify Nazi 'Doctor Death' remains
Photo: DPA
12:52 CET+01:00
Authorities from the state police in Baden-Württemberg want to travel to Cairo to identify the remains of Aribert Heim – a notorious Nazi war criminal known as “Doctor Death” thought to have died in Egypt in 1992 after decades on the run.

“We will attempt to find the remains of the corpse,” a police spokesman for state office of criminal investigation said on Thursday.

German public broadcaster ZDF and The New York Times on Wednesday revealed Heim had lived in Cairo for years after fleeing his home in southwestern Germany in 1962. According to documents from the owners of the hotel where he lived, one of the most hunted Nazi war criminals converted to Islam and died from rectal cancer in 1992.

The state police said they took the information “very seriously” and they planned to work with Egyptian authorities to determine if Heim is truly dead.

Known as “Doctor Death” for the gruesome experiments he performed on prisoners at Nazi concentration camps, Heim was born on June 28, 1914, in Radhersburg, Austria. He joined the Nazi party before Austria was annexed by Germany, when membership of the party was still illegal and became a member of Hitler's elite SS guard in 1940.

After stints at camps in Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen in Germany, he was posted to the infamous Mauthausen camp in Austria. It was there that he is thought to have brutally murdered some 300 people.

Heim was arrested by US troops in 1945 but was released two and a half years later. He subsequently set himself up as a gynaecologist in Germany but fled in 1962 when authorities were poised to arrest him.

German police on Thursday said they had leads in 1965 and 1967 that Heim was hiding in Egypt, however, Egyptian authorities failed to confirm their information at the time.

But not everyone is certain that Heim – who would be 94 today – is deceased. Joachim Riedel, director of Baden-Württemberg's office for pursuing Nazi war crimes, said he still had his doubts.

“I'm not yet convinced of the evidence,” Riedel said on Thursday. “It could well be that someone is being led around by the nose.”

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