Friday, May 4, 2012

The Mengele Shame

It seems in our world that it is more and more impossible to hide.  The US government found Whitey Bulger and Osama bin Laden.  In a time of the rapid integration of data sources, dropping out when one is a hunted man is an increasingly difficult, if not an impossible long term prospect.

Bring in Gerald Posner and John Ware’s book Mengele: The Complete Story.  The Auschwitz SS doctor known for participating in “selections” and experimenting on camp inmates eluded capture his entire life.  So lucky he was that conspiracy theories abounded.  An organization called ODESSA, which helped former SS officers escape from Europe, was postulated.  This Masonic like group was so powerful it could make anyone disappear.

This book disabuses us of such notions.  Mengele’s escape and fugitive existence were the results of a series of accidents, sloppy investigative work by various government intelligence agencies and police forces, corruption, stupidly, ignorance and sloth.  Most of all, Mengele’s survival rested in the hands of his wealthy family, which manufactures farm equipment. They supported Mengele all his life, and cynically lied about doing so.  Unlike Eichmann, who had to make a living in Argentina, and therefore led a more stationary existence (which made him easier to catch) Mengele had family money and connections to rely on, moving from Argentina,  Paraguay and finally Brazil when he sensed danger.

The fact that by all accounts he died a broken, sad and bitter man is little consolation.  The fact that Mengele was never brought to justice is the responsibility of his family; they should consider this a shame they always will bear.

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