The Eter­nal Nazi: From Mau­thausen to Cairo, the Relent­less Pur­suit of SS Doc­tor Arib­ert Heim

  • From the Publisher
May 22, 2014

Dr. Arib­ert Heim worked at the Mau­thausen con­cen­tra­tion camp for only a few months in 1941 but left a dev­as­tat­ing mark. Accord­ing to the tes­ti­mo­ny of sur­vivors, Heim euth­a­nized patients with injec­tions of gaso­line into their hearts. He per­formed surg­eries on oth­er­wise healthy peo­ple. Some recalled pris­on­ers’ skulls set out on his desk to dis­play per­fect sets of teeth. Yet in the chaos of the post­war peri­od, Heim was able to slip away from his dark past and estab­lish him­self as a rep­utable doc­tor and fam­i­ly man in the resort town of Baden-Baden. His sto­ry might have end­ed there, but for cer­tain rare Ger­mans who were unwill­ing to let Nazi war crim­i­nals go unpun­ished. The hunt for Heim became a pow­er­ful sym­bol of Ger­many’s evolv­ing atti­tude toward the sins of its past, which final­ly crest­ed in a desire to see jus­tice done at almost any cost.

As late as 2009, the mys­tery of Heim’s dis­ap­pear­ance remained unsolved. Now, in The Eter­nal Nazi, Nicholas Kul­ish and Souad Mekhen­net reveal for the first time how Arib­ert Heim evad­ed cap­ture liv­ing in a work­ing-class neigh­bor­hood of Cairo, pray­ing in Ara­bic, beloved by an adopt­ed Mus­lim fam­i­ly, while incit­ing a man­hunt that out­lived him by many years.

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