Hunt for Nazi War Criminal 'Dr. Death' Believed to be Living in Chile
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has received leads that "Dr. Death" Aribert Heim, the center's most wanted Nazi war criminal, is alive and living in Patagonia, Chile. The center's chief Nazi hunter is due to travel there this week.
Undated photo of Aribert Heim, who would be 94 if he's still alive.
Efraim Zuroff, a Holocaust historian who heads the center's Jerusalem office, told media that he had received information that Heim was in the Patagonia region of southern Chile, where his daughter lives.
"In the last few days we've received information from two different sources, both relating to Chile, which we think have very good potential," said Efraim Zuroff, according to the Reuters news agency.
Heim, who would be 94 if he's still alive, was an Austrian medical doctor in the SS. He is alleged to have murdered hundreds of concentration camp inmates with experiments that included injecting poison into their hearts. He tops the Wiesenthal Center's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals.
Heim decorated his office with human body parts during World War II, even using the skull of a man he decapitated as a paperweight.
Zuroff is currently in South America to promote "Operation Last Chance," the Wiesenthal Center's initiative to obtain information that could lead to the prosecution and punishment of the last surviving Nazi war criminals.
The group has put up a 315,000 ($495,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of Heim. Zuroff and his team will fly later on Wednesday to Puerto Montt, a town 657 miles (1,058 km) south of the capital Santiago. Heim's daughter lives in Puero Montt and Zuroff believes Heim may live close to her.
"We're hoping that our presence in the area will attract the necessary attention to receive the information that we're looking for," Zuroff said.
He said most evidence suggests Heim is alive. Heim's children, for example, have not taken possession of a 1.2 million ($1.9 million) bank account in his name in Berlin.
Heim was arrested by American troops in 1945 and held for over two-and-a-half years. He was never prosecuted, and worked as a gynaecologist in Germany until 1962, when he fled after reportedly getting a tip-off about his impending arrest. There have been reported sightings of him in Egypt, Spain, Argentina and other locations.