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He would die from a stroke at the age of 67 while swimming in the sea in February 1979, unapologetic and unpunished for the most dreadful of crimes.
So why did the head of Mossad order the hunt for Mengele to be stopped?
He was also enraged by what he felt were the ‘lies’ being spread about him, and until the end of his life he was adamant that he had not only saved lives, but had also carried out work that would improve the racial ‘purity’ of mankind.
It was during this period that Mengele would occasionally see his wife Irene at a lake some eight miles from the farm, though he would only very rarely see his son Rolf who had been born in 1944.
For Wolfgang Gerhard was none other than the link man between the outside world and a man whose name continues to chill even to this day — Dr Josef Mengele.
The Israelis had long wanted to capture this most evil of men, who, in his role as a ‘doctor’ at Auschwitz, had not only performed sadistic and murderous experiments on young twins, but had also overseen the selections of tens of thousands of Jews, in which Mengele had indicated with a mere flick of the wrist who was to live and who was to be immediately gassed.
Surely this was a scalp too valuable for the Israelis to give up on?
But this week, thanks to the release by Mossad of their bulging three-volume file on Mengele, we are finally able not only to learn the truth of why the hunt was abandoned in 1962, but also how the Israelis would later resume their search in the late Seventies.
The agent knew a lot about him, and there was a lot he didn’t like.
He was also making plans to marry Martha Mengele, the widow of his late brother.
In April 1955, after obtaining a passport in the name of ‘Helmut Gregor’, he travelled to Europe to meet Martha.
For the best part of four years, Mengele lived and worked as a farm worker in Bavaria.
The comedown from exercising the power of life and death over thousands of people to hoeing potato fields was a huge one, and Mengele became increasingly embittered.