The Eternal Nazi
From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim
Nicholas Kulish & Souad Mekhennet
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From the New York Times reporters who first uncovered S.S. officer Aribert Heim’s secret life in Egypt comes the never-before-told story of the most hunted Nazi war criminal in the world.
Dr. Aribert Heim worked at the Mauthausen concentration camp for only a few months in 1941 but left a devastating mark. According to the testimony of survivors, Heim euthanized patients with injections of gasoline into their hearts. He performed surgeries on otherwise healthy people. Some recalled prisoners' skulls set out on his desk to display perfect sets of teeth. Yet in the chaos of the postwar period, Heim was able to slip away from his dark past and establish himself as a reputable doctor and family man in the resort town of Baden-Baden. His story might have ended there, but for certain rare Germans who were unwilling to let Nazi war criminals go unpunished, among them a police investigator named Alfred Aedtner. After Heim fled on a tip that he was about to be arrested, Aedtner turned finding him into an overriding obsession. His quest took him across Europe and across decades, and into a close alliance with legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. The hunt for Heim became a powerful symbol of Germany's evolving attitude toward the sins of its past, which finally crested in a desire to see justice done at almost any cost.
As late as 2009, the mystery of Heim’s disappearance remained unsolved. Now, in The Eternal Nazi, Nicholas Kulish and Souad Mekhennet reveal for the first time how Aribert Heim evaded capture--living in a working-class neighborhood of Cairo, praying in Arabic, beloved by an adopted Muslim family--while inspiring a manhunt that outlived him by many years. It is a brilliant feat of historical detection that illuminates a nation’s dramatic reckoning with the crimes of the Holocaust.
Nazi becomes Muslim
The Nazi doctors makes one uncertain about who becomes a doctor. Were they always sociopaths or did the Nazi system afford the opportunity for the worse to come out. The focus of this book is Dr. Heim who committed heinous crimes at Mauthausen albeit for only a few months. He was a Nazi party member and joined the SS. He married a rich women. As a member of the SS he was held for 3 years but released. A section of his file is missing, his first name misspelt, there is a wrong birth date, etc. — no matter how, he goes into practice. The wheels of justice grind slowy and ineffectively. Before arrest he is tipped off and ends up in Egypt where, surprise, he becomes Mohammedan and maintains strange racial theories about Jews. Despite efforts by some, he is never caught. Strangely, an obvious ways to track him through the money trail is not use till very late. His younger son is not tracked closely. On the the other hand innocent people are accused in the media. This book held my interest based on the factual narrative but did not delve deeply into Heim’s motivation.