‘No Reason to Excuse’ Experiments, He Wrote to Family : Mengele Called Himself a ‘Gifted Scientist’

From Reuters

Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, hunted for mass murder and grisly experiments on children, died with the conviction he had done no wrong, letters and documents made public by his son showed today.

They also showed that he lived for 30 years in South America with help from his Bavarian family and that he felt it was a great pity that such a “gifted . . . scientist” as himself should be “condemned by fate to live in hiding.”

The letters, notebooks and photographs given by Rolf Mengele to the Munich magazine Bunte last week were obtained by Reuters today, along with an advance copy of Bunte’s next edition.

Historian Guenther Deschner, one of four experts brought in to check their authenticity, said there was no doubt that they were genuine.


The panel includes Oxford University historian Norman Stone and experts from the universities of Cologne and Frankfurt.

One photograph shows Mengele, known to inmates of Auschwitz as “the Angel of Death,” on a skiing holiday in Switzerland in 1956. Another, taken in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in May of 1977, shows him smiling broadly alongside his visiting son.

“He stuck by his beliefs to the end,” Deschner said.

Bunte quoted Rolf as saying the family sent money regularly to South America.


“I don’t know how much exactly. He probably got between 300 and 500 marks ($100 to $165) a month, not less, but certainly not more.”

Police in Brazil believe that remains exhumed from a 6-year-old grave near Sao Paulo two weeks ago are those of the hunted man, who is held responsible for the deaths of 400,000 people, mostly Jews, at Auschwitz between 1943 and 1945.

According to the material displayed by Bunte today, Mengele wrote his son about 50 times between 1968 and 1978.

“He was often philosophical, trying to explain to his son why he had done the things he had done, but never admitting guilt,” Deschner said.


“While I cannot hope for understanding and sympathy from you for my life’s actions, at the same time I have absolutely no reason to try to justify or excuse whatever decisions, actions or behavior of mine,” Mengele is quoted as saying in one of the letters.

The letters often spoke of home and Mengele’s longing to return, Deschner said.

“He wrote his son that it was a great pity that so gifted a man as he, who could have been one of the world’s great medical scientists in Europe or the United States, should be condemned by fate to live in hiding,” he added.

Some passages were written in Latin or Greek, and code was used to disguise names, Deschner said.


“He described his location with photographic exactitude. It runs through his notebooks from the time in Bavaria to Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil,” he said.

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