Closing in on Dr. Death Germany Steps Up Hunt for Nazi War Criminal

The net is closing in on Aribert Heim, a Nazi war criminal who has been on the run for 45 years. Austria and Germany are offering rewards for information leading to the capture of the man known as "Dr. Death."

Investigators are closing in on one of the last living top Nazi war criminals, Aribert Heim -- also known as Dr. Death for his gruesome medical experiments on concentration camp inmates during World War II.

German investigators have stepped up their hunt for Heim and are focusing their search on Austria and Spain and in particular on his friends and relatives. The Austrian government is also supporting the hunt, by making its first-ever offer of a reward for finding Nazi war criminals.

Germany had already offered €130,000 ($177,000) for information on the whereabouts of Heim, who would be 93 years old today. An unnamed American businessman has said he will match this sum.

The Austrian justice ministry announced earlier in July that it was offering an additional €50,000 for any clues that would help find Heim or Alois Brunner, a former SS officer who the Austrian government has described as Adolf Eichmann's right-hand man, helping him organize the deportation of Jews to death camps. Vienna had been accused for decades of not doing enough to prosecute Nazi war criminals.

Heim is believed to have killed more than 300 people at the Mauthausen concentration camp in northern Austria by injecting them in the heart with poison. He went into hiding in 1962.

Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, told DER SPIEGEL he believes Heim is still alive and is living in Europe or South America. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has played a key role in locating Nazi war criminals in recent decades.


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