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Fugitive Wrote Letters Defending Concentration Camps

July 4, 1985

MUNICH, West Germany (AP) _ Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele wrote letters to his son after World War II defending the German concentration camps where more than 6 million people were killed, a weekly magazine reported Wednesday.

Mengele, known as the ″Angel of Death,″ was held responsible for the deaths of more than 400,000 prisoners at the Auschwitz camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.

An international panel of forensic experts declared last month that human remains exhumed near Sao Paulo, Brazil, were those of Mengele. Investigators were led to the grave by documents police found in West Germany that indicated Mengele died in Brazil in 1979.

″Josef Mengele wrote to his son Rolf letters in which he defended and justified what happened in the concentration camps,″ the mass-circulation magazine Bunte said in its third installment about Mengele based on information provided by his son.

Most of those killed in the camps were Jews and Poles.

Bunte printed part of a type-written letter dated 1976 in which Mengele defended the ″elimination of inferior people″ and the ″selections″ by which tens of thousands of people were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz.

It also printed a copy of a letter the Nazi doctor wrote to his son defending the theory behind his grisly medical experiments supposedly aimed at creating a superrace of humans.

The hand-written letter spoke of the ″burden that the gifted person has,″ compared with the less-gifted. Bunte did not specify when the letter was written.

″Up until the last minute, he hoped that his father would be able to express some regret for what happened at Auschwitz - but all in vain,″ Bunte said.

Rolf, 41, a lawyer in Freiburg, West Germany, provided Bunte with thousands of pictures, diary pages and documents concerning his father’s life in hiding after the war.

The magazine, in an advance copy of the issue to appear Thursday, also said a Swiss consulate worker nearly prevented Mengele’s escape to South America.

According to documents provided by Rolf Mengele, his father reached the Italian port of Genoa in 1949. Lacking a passport, Mengele asked a Swiss consulate worker, a woman in her 40s, for special Red Cross travel documents that would secure his passage to Argentina, Bunte said.

″The doe-eyed consulate worker possibly looked too deeply into the eyes of the mysterious applicant and got confused,″ Mengele wrote in the diaries.

Bunte said the woman ″placed the issuance date in the expiration date box,″ and the next day Mengele found ″the document already had been invalid for one day.″

Mengele eventually was issued travel documents to enter Argentina, the magazine said.

Bunte also said Rolf Mengele confirmed earlier reports that Italian authorities arrested his father and held him in jail briefly because he had no residence permit. After being freed, Mengele took a passenger ship for Argentina.

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