Wed, Nov 24, 2004 - Page 6 News List

Files reveal Mengele died lonely, poor and in pain

`ANGEL OF DEATH' The stressed-out war criminal apparently chewed the ends of his moustache, resulting in a ball of hair blocking his intestines

THE GUARDIAN , SAO PAULO

Josef Mengele, the "Angel of Death" at Auschwitz concentration camp, spent his last years in his Brazilian hideaway lonely, depressed and short of money, according to 86 letters, notes and diaries discovered filed away in a Sao Paulo police archive.

One of the most wanted Nazi war criminals, because of the experiments he conducted on children and other inmates, Mengele apparently lived his last years suffering intense abdominal pains.

Fear of being discovered made him chew the ends of his moustache, resulting in a ball of hair blocking his intestines.

The typewritten letters and handwritten notes were found when police files were being reorganized, and excerpts were translated and published by the newspaper Folha de S Paulo.

They had been seized at the home of an Austrian couple, Liselotte and Wolfram Bossert, now dead, who befriended Menge-le, and at the small house in the seaside resort of Bertioga, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, where he was living when he died from a heart attack in 1979. Most of the letters were addressed to Wolfgang Gerhard, an Austrian Nazi Mengele befriended in Brazil.

Mengele's diary reveals a man who was unrepentant about Nazi actions during World War II.

In January 1976 an entry reveals that Mengele was reading the memoirs of Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and armaments minister.

He commented: "He diminishes himself, showing repentance, that is lamentable."

At the same time he was depressed and resentful about his lonely, hard up life in exile.

In 1976 Mengele wrote in his diary, after complaining that he would not be able to make a trip to Rio because neither he nor his friends could afford the price of the petrol: "What's going to happen? Now I feel lonely, or rather abandoned, more painfully than ever."

In another entry, apparently referring to having to buy the silence of friends, he wrote "everything in life has a price."

Mengele came from a well-to-do family, and during his first years in exile, in Argentina, he lived well. But by the time he reached Brazil in 1960, after 10 years of hiding in Paraguay, his funds had dwindled.

He probably hoped that sympathizers in the large and often wealthy German community in Brazil would provide him with a comfortable life.

But things did not work out the way Mengele had planned, and his notes show a man constantly worried about money.

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