JERUSALEM — The government Tuesday offered a $1 million reward for the capture of Dr. Josef Mengele, the notorious "Angel of Death" who performed experiments on inmates at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.
The reward brings to at least $2.3 million the amount offered for the capture of Mengele, who has been reported hiding in Paraguay and would be 73 if still alive. The Paraguayan government denies he is in the country.
Justice Minister Moshe Nissim said the Israeli reward will be valid for two years. It is sponsored by the government and the World Zionist Organization, a federation of Jewish organizations outside Israel.
'Expressions of Forgiveness'
Nissim said Israel's commitment to capturing and trying surviving Nazi war criminals is growing, especially "when we are witness now to expressions of conciliation and forgiveness for those who committed the largest of horrors since God created mankind."
Besides conducting experiments on inmates at Auschwitz, particularly dwarfs and twins, Mengele is also accused of personally selecting thousands of people for the gas chamber.
Last February, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies announced a $1 million reward for the capture of Mengele, the money being pledged by a group of unnamed "concerned citizens."
The West German government, which, like Israel, is seeking to try Mengele for war crimes, is offering a $300,000 reward.
The Israeli decision to offer the reward was made at a recent meeting that Cabinet ministers held with Nazi hunters and Israeli security forces, the daily Yediot Aharonot reported.
The newspaper did not identify the security forces, but in the past, Israel's Mossad intelligence agency has searched for fugitive Nazis.
In 1960, Mossad agents captured Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi administrator who coordinated the liquidation of Jews, and brought him here from Argentina. He was tried, found guilty and hanged.