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Former Nazi Doctor Under Probe

October 15, 1998

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ A retired German physician who admits to helping Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele carry out medical experiments on concentration camp inmates is under investigation, authorities said Wednesday.

Bavarian prosecutors said they began examining Hans Muench, 87, two weeks ago after a magazine quoted him as saying that gassing Jews at Auschwitz spared them from having to suffer longer from deadly diseases that were rampant in the camp.

Helmut Schuetz, a spokesman at the Bavarian state chancellery, said prosecutors immediately began investigating Muench for downplaying what the Nazis did at Auschwitz, where some 1.5 million Jews perished.

Frankfurt prosecutors also are revisiting war crimes charges that Muench, who lives in the Bavarian town of Rosshaupten, was acquitted of in 1947. Schuetz said the two probes may be combined to speed up the process.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Paris sent a letter to Bavarian Gov. Edmund Stoiber, asking him to ``immediately detain Muench pending an investigation of his complicity in war crimes and his current violation of German laws against the banalization of the Holocaust.″

``He speaks of the Jews as subhuman and the laborious problems in burning them. Rejecting any remorse, Muench praises his notorious colleague, Dr. Joseph Mengele,″ the letter said.

Mengele, known as the Nazi ``Angel of Death,″ conducted experiments on Jewish inmates at Auschwitz, including injections in their eyes to try to change the color.

In the Spiegel interview, Muench is quoted as saying he could only ``speak the best″ about Mengele, who arrived at Auschwitz on the same day as Muench in the summer of 1943.

``Mengele and the others sent us their material, heads, livers, spinal fluid, whatever came up. We analyzed it,″ Spiegel quotes Muench as saying.

Spiegel said Muench had no remorse about working at Auschwitz, and claims the medical experiments prevented more inmates from dying of diseases at Auschwitz.

``I was the king in the hygiene institute. ...to live at a place where hundreds of thousands of people were gassed. That didn’t bother me,″ the report quotes Muench as saying.

Muench was tried as a war criminal in an Auschwitz trial at Krakow, Poland, in 1947 for his malaria and rheumatism experiments in which Jews were infected on purpose to study if they were immune, according to Spiegel. He was acquitted by a Polish court.

``A string of my prisoners spoke up for me,″ Spiegel quoted Muench as saying.

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