Daily Israel Report

Nazi War Criminal 'Dr. Death' Officially Declared Dead

Nazi war criminal Aribert Heim, known as "Doctor Death", has officially been pronounced dead.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 9/23/2012, 10:24 AM

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem
Israel news photo: Flah 90

German judicial authorities officially announced for the first time Friday that Nazi war criminal Aribert Heim, known as "Doctor Death", died in Egypt in 1992.

A regional court in the southwestern town of Baden-Baden, Heim’s last known residence in Germany, said it was abandoning an investigation because "no doubts remained" that the criminal, who had changed his identity and converted to Islam, had died of cancer in Cairo in 1992.

"The criminal case against Dr Aribert Heim on suspicion of multiple murders has been abandoned because of the death of the accused," the court said in a written statement.  

Heim, one of the world's most wanted war criminals, became known as "Doctor Death" and the "Butcher of Mauthausen" after performing cruel, inhumane and unnecessary medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners.  

In addition to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, he also served at the Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald camps in Germany.  

In February 2009, German public television channel ZDF and The New York Times said that Heim, a former member of the Nazi SS, had died of bowel cancer in 1992 at the age of 78, citing his son and acquaintances in Cairo.  

His death, however, was never confirmed and a report by Der Spiegel news weekly several months later said investigators believed the reports did not provide "any proof of his death" and they were continuing to examine "every lead" on the Austrian-born Nazi.  

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre also said it did not believe the story.  

“The only way that could have been proven conclusively was with forensics,” Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center, had said at the time. “I’m not ruling it out conclusively, but I, in good conscience, could not rule out the case without some forensic proof of a dead person who is Aribert Heim.”

However, the court said on Friday that it no longer doubted that Heim was in fact a man named Tarek Hussein Farid who died of cancer in August 1992 in Cairo.

The conclusion had been reached after Heim’s lawyer presented the court with a number of documents, including an Egyptian driver’s license with a photograph of Heim under the name Tarek Hussein Farid and a certificate confirming his conversion to Islam and name change.

Together with information provided by his son, there remained "no doubt that the accused is identical to the person Tarek Hussein Farid and died in 1992 after suffering from cancer", the court affirmed.