Wanted Nazi death camp doctor killed, book claims
15 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - One of the two most wanted Nazi war criminals still at large, former death camp doctor Aribert Heim, was in fact hunted down and assassinated in 1982, a book to be published next week claims.
15 October 2007
PARIS (AFP) - One of the two most wanted Nazi war criminals still at large, former death camp doctor Aribert Heim, was in fact hunted down and assassinated in 1982, a book to be published next week claims.
Author Danny Baz, a former Israeli air force colonel, provides no proof for his assertion in the book, written in French and entitled "Ni oubli, ni pardon. Au coeur de la traque du dernier nazi" ("Not forgotten or forgiven -- on the trail of the last Nazi.")
The head of the Israeli branch of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre called the claims "completely implausible" and a leading French Nazi-hunter described the book as "total fantasy" on Saturday.
According to Baz, he was involved in the hunt by a secret American group called The Owl, which he said found Heim in Canada and took him to the island of Santa Catalina, off the California coast near Los Angeles, where he was "tried and executed."
Heim, who would now be 93, was a doctor at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, where he carried out deadly medical experiments on prisoners.
He fled Germany in 1962 after police began investigating him and has been reported living in various parts of the world, including Latin America and Europe, as recently as two years ago.
Heim is second on the list of wanted war criminals issued by the Simon Weisenthal foundation after Alois Brunner, chief aide to Adolf Eichmann, organiser of the "final solution", who is thought to be in Syria.
Both Austria and Germany have offered rewards for information leading to his capture.
In the preface to his book, written in the form of a novel, Baz says The Owl was formed by an unidentified Mauthausen survivor who made a fortune in Alaskan oil and funded it in installments of six million dollars each, echoing the six million Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust.
He says the group received secret help from senior officials in the US Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Israeli intelligence in hunting down and eliminating around 10 Nazi war criminals.
"This book is an absolutely true account" of events, according to Baz. "However, certain episodes have been omitted for reasons of confidentiality."
Ephraim Zuroff of the Israeli branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre told AFP: "It is completely implausible, not least because we have found a letter dated from 1986 which has been authenticated as being from Heim."
"Danny Baz has been making the same claims in the Israeli press for the past five years, sticking to his story that his group executed 25 Nazis in the Americas, without furnishing the names of a single one of these war criminals or offering the slightest evidence to back up what he says," he added.
"To the best of my knowledge and that of the German police, who are still looking for Heim, he is still alive and hiding in either Spain or South America."
A spokesman at the Austrian justice ministry, which put a 50,000 euro (70,000 dollar) price on Heim's head as recently as July, expressed surprise at the book's claims.
"We wouldn't have offered this reward if we had thought he was already dead," Thomas Geiblinger told AFP.
Paris-based Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld told AFP that personally he thought both Heim and Brunner were already dead, but of natural causes, calling the offers of rewards "last-gasp efforts" to determine the fate of the two men
"It's total fantasy," he said of Baz's book, adding that he had never heard of The Owl.
"If this organisation existed, you would think I might have heard speak of it," he said.
Subject: French news, German news