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Nazi Aribert Heim reportedly died in Cairo in 1992

Documents show the man known as "Dr. Death" was living under an assumed name and had converted to Islam, Germany's ZDF and the New York Times report.

February 05, 2009|Times Wire Services

CAIRO — Documents have surfaced in Egypt showing that the world's most wanted Nazi war criminal, concentration camp doctor Aribert Heim, died of intestinal cancer here on Aug. 10, 1992, Germany's ZDF television and the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The report said Heim had converted to Islam and was living under the name Tarek Hussein Farid.

ZDF said that in a joint effort with the newspaper, it located a passport, application for a residence permit, bank slips, personal letters and medical papers -- in all, more than 100 documents -- left by Heim in a briefcase in the hotel room where he lived.

Egyptian dentist Tarek Abdelmoneim Rifai said Heim was a patient of his father, also a dentist. He said Wednesday that he had seen Heim only a few times, 20 years ago, but confirmed that he knew of his death.

"He died in 1992. I didn't know that he was a doctor and that he is the most wanted Nazi war criminal. I am surprised," he said in a telephone interview. "He introduced himself to my father as a German, and I know that he converted to Islam and changed his name."

Heim, an Austrian doctor with Adolf Hitler's infamous SS, evaded West German police in 1962 as they prepared to prosecute him. He was nicknamed "Dr. Death" for killing hundreds of Jewish prisoners at the Nazis' Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.

Heim is said to have removed organs from victims without anesthetic. He kept the skull of a man he decapitated as a paperweight. Witnesses told investigators that he worked closely with SS pharmacist Erich Wasicky on such gruesome experiments as injecting various solutions into prisoners' hearts to see which killed them the fastest.

ZDF quoted Heim's son Ruediger Heim as confirming that Tarek Hussein Farid was his father's assumed name and that the documents belonged to him. Heim said he visited his father regularly in Cairo and had taken care of him after an operation related to his cancer in 1990.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi hunter, Efraim Zuroff, said he had not seen the documents and that although it seemed there was "definitely a strong possibility" they pointed to Heim's death in Cairo in 1992, they needed to be examined by experts.

However, if it turns out to be true, he said, "the German police have a very important investigation on their hands in terms of prosecuting people who helped Aribert Heim escape justice."

Ruediger Heim refused to comment to the Associated Press on the assertion that his father had died in 1992.

ZDF reported that Aribert Heim was buried in a cemetery for the poor in Cairo, where graves are reused after several years, so "the chance of finding remains is unlikely."

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