Spanish police reportedly closing in on fugitive Nazi doctor

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Spanish police believe they are close to capturing Aribert Heim, the 91-year-old known as "Dr. Death". Dr. Heim, described by The Times as "the most wanted Nazi still believed to be alive", is thought to be living in the town of Palafrugell in the Costa Brava area of Spain.

Heim worked as a doctor in a number of Nazi Germany concentration camps (Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald) carrying out a series of experiments on the camp's Jewish inmates. His experiments reportedly included operating on a patient without anaesthetic to see how much pain a human being could endure, and injecting petrol into the bloodstream, then timing how long it took for the victim to die. Hundreds of people are believed to have died as a result of these experiments.

The Times reports that Heim led a normal civilian life after the end of the Second World War, but fled Germany in 1962, when the authorities were about to issue a warrant for his arrest. Nazi hunters, including researchers from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, have been looking for him ever since. The center's founder, Simon Wiesenthal, was himself active in pursuing Heim prior to his death last month.

German police received a tip six weeks ago by an Israeli citizen who met a man in Ibiza with characteristics similar to Heim. The police acknowledged the information was helpful. Other evidence pointing the trail to Palafrugell involve banking transfers and tax filings.

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