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Operations’ Record – Most Important Source in the Cause of Aribert Heim

The historian and author Stefan Klemp presented his book titled “KZ-Arzt Aribert Heim – Die Geschichte einer Fahndung” (Concentration Camp Surgeon Aribert Heim – Chronology of a Search) to the Berlin public last Friday. In his publication, Klemp gives details on the search for the former concentration camp surgeon who kept escaping arrest successfully and whose alleged death in the early 1990s has not been verified to this day. Gathering evidence for his book, Klemp also sifted through the documentation of the International Tracing Service (ITS) at Bad Arolsen. The ITS archive keeps a copy of the operations’ record from Concentration Camp Mauthausen signed by Heim in his own hand. This record is the most important authentic source in the cause of Aribert Heim.

Between 8th October and 30th November 1941, Heim affixed his signature to a total of 268 surgeries registered in the operations’ record. The atrocious and brutal surgery methods which he applied and which ended the lives of innumerable concentration camp inmates brought him the epithets “Doctor Death” and “Butcher of Mauthausen”. After the war, the Austrian national lives in Germany – a man of integrity. He opens a surgery, marries and produces offspring, plays ice hockey, and he gets the German citizenship. It is not before September 1962 that a warrant is issued for his arrest which Heim is warned about, though, hurrying to leave the country.

Since then, Heim has been considered to be one of the most wanted Nazi criminals. Clues or indications of his alleged stay in Egypt or South America unfailingly emerged at regular intervals. One of the last attempts to locate him was made by the second German public service television channel (ZDF). In collaboration with the “New York Times”, its correspondents found out that Heim had died in Cairo in 1992, apparently. Klemp’s book focuses on the history of the febrile long-term search for Heim over decades on the one hand and on the numerous efforts made to cover all traces and prevent the seizure of the Nazi perpetrator on the other hand. “Plenty of questions remain unsolved”, regrets the author who has played an active part in the past years’ search for Heim on behalf of the Simon-Wiesenthal Centre. “The case has not yet been settled.”