Nazi hunters narrow search for 'Dr Death'

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The Independent US

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has strong evidence that the world's most wanted Second World War criminal, known as "Dr Death", is in southern Chile or Argentina, a top Nazi hunter says.

Efraim Zuroff, the centre's director in Israel, will fly to the southern Chilean city of Puerto Montt today, where SS concentration camp doctor Aribert Heim's daughter has lived for years.

Mr Zuroff and the centre's Latin America director Sergio Widder will then travel to Bariloche, across the Andes in Argentina, on Friday.

Searchers think Heim is alive, Mr Zuroff says, because a bank account with £800,000 and other investments in Heim's name in Berlin have not been claimed by his children. To do that, they would have to produce proof that Heim was dead.

Mr Zuroff said the centre had received information "that has strong potential" to help efforts to find Heim.

Heim, who would be 94, tops the centre's list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals. A reward of nearly £250,000 is being offered jointly by centre and the German and Austrian governments for information leading to his capture.

Heim was indicted in Germany on charges that he murdered hundreds of inmates at Mauthausen concentration camp, where he was camp doctor.

"His crimes are fully documented by himself, because he kept a log of the operations that he carried out," Mr Zuroff said.

"He tortured many inmates before he killed them at Mauthausen, and he used body parts of the people he killed as decorations."

After the war, Heim was held for two and a half years by the US military but was released without being tried.

He disappeared in 1962, when he was tipped off that the indictment by German authorities was imminent, according to Mr Zuroff.

The Chilean government is helping in the investigation, Mr Zuroff said, adding that he and Mr Widder had a good meeting with Arturo Herrera, director of Chile's police.