″Doctor Death″ Search Heating Up in Chile | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 09.07.2008
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"Doctor Death" Search Heating Up in Chile

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is stepping up its search for the Nazi official Aribert Heim, known as "Doctor Death," in Chile, the center's Latin American representative Sergio Widder said.

Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center holds a picture of Aribert Heim

Heim has eluded Nazi hunters for more than 40 years

"We are intensifying the search," Widder told DPA news agency in Santiago, Chile on Tuesday, July 8.

There are indications that the war criminal is alive, although he would be 94 years old, Widder said.

"One indication is that his family has not cashed in on the inheritance of a 1-million-euro bank account in Berlin," Widder explained. "It would be enough for them to show a death certificate."

A "race against time"

However, he added that the chance to find Heim is "a race against time," although "it is worth the last effort."

Widder and Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, are set to travel through southern Chile and Argentina to find out more about the presence of Heim and his family. Heim's daughter lives in the Chilean city of Puerto Montt, about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) south of Santiago.

Operation Last Chance was launched by the center in November 2007. The goal is to track down remaining Nazi criminals who moved to South America after World War II to avoid criminal prosecution for their war crimes.

Heim wanted for war crimes

Heim tops the list of Nazi criminals being sought around the world. He was active in the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, near Linz, where he allegedly killed hundreds of people during World War II through injections to the heart or in "operations" without anesthesia.

He was considered extremely cruel. Witnesses have said that he had a lamp-shade made for the camp commander out of the skin of one of his victims.

Heim, born in Austria in 1914, practiced as a gynecologist in the German town of Baden-Baden after the war, and has been a fugitive since 1962. There is an international arrest warrant against him.

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