The son of Nazi 'Angel of Death' Josef Mengele...

By TOM MURPHY, United Press International

The son of Nazi 'Angel of Death' Josef Mengele broke years of silence Tuesday and said a man who drowned in Brazil in 1979 was his fugitive father. Forensic experts in Sao Paulo said they calculated the man's height and invited U.S. specialists to assist in the identification.

'I have no doubt that the corpse exhumed on June 5, 1985, at the Embu cemetery in Brazil is the last remains of my father, Josef Mengele,' Rolf Mengele, 41, said in a brief written statement released in Munich, West Germany.


'I am sure that the forensic investigation soon will confirm this,' he said.

Until Tuesday, the Mengele family had steadfastly refused to provide any information to help track down Josef Mengele, hunted for decades for the murder of some 400,000 people, mostly Jews, at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland in World War II.


But breaking the silence, Rolf Mengele said, 'In 1979, I personally convinced myself on the spot about the nature of his death,' he said. 'Until now, I remained silent out of consideration for the people who had relations with my father in the last 30 years.

'My deepest sympathy goes to all the victims and their relations,' the son said.

Rolf Mengele also promised that his family was 'ready to give additional facts that will be of use,' and the West German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported the family would offer Brazil records of bone factures, dental impressions and illnesses to help prove the identity of the remains.

In Sao Paulo, federal Police Chief Romeu Tuma said of the Mengele statement: 'This confirms testimony we have obtained in Brazil but it does not impede or suspend our investigations, which will continue on all fronts.'

At the Legal Medical Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazilian pathologist Wilmes Teixeira said a team of U.S. specialists had accepted an invitation to take part in the examinations.

They were Clyde Snow, forensic anthropologist at the University of Oklahoma, Lowell Levine, dentistry professor at the University of New York and John Fitzpatrick, radiology professor at the University of Illinois.


Pathologist Daniel Munoz said after examining the remains exhumed on Thursday that the 'skeleton is of a man approximately 1.75 meters (5-foot-9 inches) tall correct to 3 cm (1.2 inches) either way.'

Munoz said Brazil was awaiting a package of information on Mengele from the Wiesenthal Institute in Los Angeles which he hoped would contain physical details including height and weight.

Teixeira said the pelvis of would be X-rayed to obtain better details of what appears to be a pelvic fracture.

'If we confirm a fracture and if it matches information from abroad, then we have taken a great step toward identification,' Teixeira said.

Reports from Germany said Mengele may have suffered bone damage either from a war wound or from an auto accident during World War II.

Teixeira also expressed doubt for the first time that the remains of the drowning victim, who went under the name of Wolfgang Gerhard, could be positively identified through dental records now in his possession.

'The records are inadequate,' he said of Mengele's 1938 dental records provided earlier by West Germany. They contain no drawings or X-rays.

Mengele was known as the 'Angel of Death' because he determined with the flick of his thumb whether newly arrived prisoners at Auschwitz would live or die. A physician, Mengele also conducted gruesome genetic experiments on inmates in the search for a master race.


Mengele vanished from the Nazi death camp in December 1944. He was spotted in South America in the 1960s, but was never apprehended. Rewards of up to $3.4 million were recently offered for his arrest.

In New York, Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal said he was not swayed by the Mengele family statement.

'It's not a matter of believing,' he said. 'It's a matter of close a case or not close a case. A man who was silent six years after the death of the father cannot be enough. We need the confirmation through the forensic medicine expertise.'

Tuma said he is 90 percent certain Mengele assumed the identity of Gerhard, a 54-year-old Austrian mechanic who died in 1978, and lived with Wolfram and Liselotte Bossert until his fatal swimming accident south of Sao Paulo in February 1979. Mengele would have been 68 years old at that time.

Police found the Bosserts through information from West German authorities. The couple, who led police to Gerhard's grave, said they were convinced their lodger was Mengele.

Tuma said Tuesday that police had started treating a book and other objects they believe Mengele might have handled with a 'sophisticated chemical process' designed to reveal years-old fingerprints.


Police also started a handwriting analysis of documents left by 'Gerhard' to determine if it matches Mengele's.

Tuma also revealed for the first time that the man he believes was Mengele had a stroke in 1976 and was treated at the Santa Marta Hospital in Sao Paulo.

Inez Mehlich, who worked as a maid for the man in his final months, told the 'Estado de Sao Paulo' newspaper her employer was embittered, depressed and seemed to foresee his death.

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