Alleged Protector of Mengele Delays Controversial Bonn Visit
West Germany expressed relief today after Paraguayan President Alfredo Stroessner, alleged protector of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, canceled a controversial visit to Bonn scheduled for next month.
The move was announced just one day after Brazilian police said a body they exhumed could be that of Mengele, the “Angel of Death” held responsible for the deaths of 400,000 Jews at Auschwitz during World War II.
A senior West German government source told reporters: “The world will not collapse if he (Stroessner) does not come. We are quite cool about the whole business, I can assure you.”
Government spokesman Juergen Sudhoff said Paraguay has asked “for more time to make better preparations” for the visit, which had been planned for July 2-3.
Opposition parties had voiced strong criticism of Stroessner’s visit, saying he personally had protected Mengele from being brought to justice.
The visit of Stroessner, the son of a Bavarian emigre, also had aroused misgivings among members and supporters of the center-right coalition of Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Kohl, the only senior politician due to have met Stroessner, had pledged to question him about Mengele’s whereabouts and Paraguay’s civil rights record after criticism broke out when the trip was announced last January.
Paraguay granted Mengele citizenship in 1959 but revoked it 20 years later and denies that he is still in the country.