Bormann 'escaped but died as Mengele's patient'

Thursday 25 February 1993 01:02 GMT

ASUNCION (AFP) - Martin Bormann, one of Adolf Hitler's closest aides, did not commit suicide in Berlin in 1945 but died in Paraguay 14 years later after being treated for stomach cancer by fellow Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, according to police files released here yesterday.

Mengele, the concentration-camp doctor known as the 'Angel of Death', went to Paraguay in 1958 to treat Bormann. But, the reports said, his patient died on 15 February the following year after 'a long, agonising' fight with stomach cancer and was buried in an unmarked grave in Ita, about 18 miles south-east of Asuncion.

'He was buried in dark of night in Ita cemetery, where he was taken from Asuncion, after not even Joseph Mengele's medical attention could alleviate his illness,' the report said.

The information on Bormann and Mengele was contained in police records kept while the former dictator Alfredo Stroessner was in power. Judge Luis Benitez Riera confirmed that the documents were real and that they will probably be used by the government in its effort to extradite Stroessner.

Noticias newspaper said East German intelligence sent reports in 1961 saying Mengele arrived in Paraguay at the end of 1958 to treat Bormann who himself had arrived in Asuncion in 1956.

Bormann lived for a long time on property owned by a German named Alban Krug in the German community of Colonia Hohenau, about 250 miles south-east of Asuncion. He died in the home of Werner Jung, then East Germany's consul to Paraguay. Jung and a man identified only by his last name, Von Eckstein, who was a collaborator of Stroessner's, took Borman to Ita, Noticias reported.

A number of Nazis sought refuge in Paraguay after the war. Edward Roschmann, the 'Butcher of Riga', died in Asuncion in 1977, while Mengele is believed to have lived in Paraguay before going to Brazil where he apparently died in a swimming accident in 1979.

The then-West German government closed its file on Bormann 20 years ago at the time of reports that a skull found at a West Berlin construction site had been identified as Bormann's by his former dentist. Bormann was sentenced to death in absentia at the Nuremberg trials in 1946. By that time, he was believed to have committed suicide.

However, stories that Bormann had been seen in Latin America cropped up from time to time. One version had him escaping to Argentina on a submarine.

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