Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nazi prosecutors still hunt death head doctor

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - For the few surviving inmates of Mauthausen concentration camp, one visitor in the autumn of 1941 left an indelible memory.

Tall and athletic, Aribert Heim was the camp doctor for only two months and the 27-year-old enjoyed his time in the Austrian town.

On one occasion, he picked out a prisoner passing his office. After checking his teeth, Heim persuaded him to take part in a medical experiment with the vague promise of release.

Heim killed the man with an injection of poison to his heart, later severing his head and using the skull as a paperweight.
Injections to the heart -- with petrol, water or poison -- were a favorite experiment of Heim's, who timed patients' deaths with a stopwatch.

Sometimes, out of boredom, he carried out operations without anesthetic, removing organs from conscious victims.

Heim was arrested after World War Two but he was later released and was soon practicing as a doctor again. He moved to Baden Baden, a small town in western Germany.

But survivors of Mauthausen did not forget the camp doctor who delighted in seeing the fear of death in his patients' eyes. Police were sent to re-arrest Heim. The night before they were due to call, he disappeared. Continued...