Military Wiki
Aribert Heim
Birth name Aribert Ferdinand Heim
Nickname Dr. Death
Born (1914-06-28)28 June 1914
Died 10 August 1992(1992-08-10) (aged 78)
Place of birth Bad Radkersburg, Austria-Hungary
Place of death Cairo, Egypt
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branch Schutzstaffel
Years of service 1940–1945
Unit Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp
6th SS Mountain Division Nord

Aribert Ferdinand Heim (28 June 1914 – 10 August 1992)[1] was an Austrian doctor, also known as Dr. Death. As an SS doctor in a Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen, he was accused of killing and torturing many inmates by various methods, such as direct injections of toxic compounds into the hearts of his victims.[2] He lived for many years in Cairo, Egypt under the alias of Tarek Farid Hussein and died there on 10 August 1992.[3][4] In 2009, a BBC documentary stated that German police had found no evidence of Heim's death on their recent visit to Cairo;[5] however, three years later, a court in Baden-Baden confirmed that Heim had died in 1992, based on evidence provided by his family and lawyer.[1]

Early life

Heim was born in Bad Radkersburg, Austria-Hungary. He was the son of a policeman and a housewife. He studied medicine in Graz, receiving his doctorate in Vienna, joining the SS after the Anschluss. He volunteered for the Waffen-SS in the spring of 1940, rising to the rank of Hauptsturmführer (Captain).

Mauthausen concentration camp

The prisoners at Mauthausen called Heim "Dr. Death", or the "Butcher of Mauthausen" for his cruelty.[6] He was known there for operating on tied up people without anesthesia. For about two months (October to December 1941), Heim was stationed at the camp called Ebensee near Linz (Austria), where he carried out experiments on Jews similar to those performed at Auschwitz by Josef Mengele. According to Holocaust survivors, Jewish prisoners were poisoned with various injections directly into the heart, including petrol, phenol, available poisons or even water, to induce death.[7] He is reported to have removed organs from living prisoners without anesthesia, killing hundreds.[8]

According to a former camp inmate, an 18-year-old Jewish man came to the clinic with a foot inflammation. He was asked by Heim why he was so fit. He replied that he had been a football player and swimmer. Instead of treating the prisoner's foot, Heim placed him under anesthesia, cut him open, took apart one kidney, removed the second and castrated him. The man was decapitated and Heim boiled the flesh off the skull for use as a paperweight and display.[9][10][11][12]

Later career

From February 1942, Heim served in the 6th SS Mountain Division Nord in northern Finland, especially in Oulu's hospitals as an SS doctor. His service continued until at least October 1942.[13][14]

On 15 March 1945 Heim was captured by US soldiers and sent to a camp for prisoners of war. He was released and worked as a gynecologist at Baden-Baden until his disappearance in 1962; he had telephoned his home and was told that the police were waiting for him. Having been questioned on previous occasions, he surmised the reason (an international warrant for his arrest had been in place since that date) and went into hiding.[8] According to his son Rüdiger Heim, he drove through France and Spain onward to Morocco, moving finally to Egypt via Libya.[15] After Alois Brunner (Adolf Eichmann's top assistant), Heim had been the second most wanted Nazi officer.

Alleged death

In 2006, a German newspaper reported that he had a daughter, Waltraud, living on the outskirts of Puerto Montt, Chile who said he died in 1993.[16] However, when she tried to recover a million-dollar inheritance from an account in his name, she was unable to provide a death certificate.[17][18][19]

In August 2008, Heim's son Rüdiger asked that his father be declared legally dead, in order to take hold of his assets; he intended to donate them to projects working to document the atrocities committed in the camps.[20]

After years of apparently false sightings, the circumstances surrounding Heim's escape, life in hiding and death were jointly reported by the German broadcaster ZDF and the New York Times in February 2009. They reported that he lived under a false name, Tarek Farid Hussein, in Egypt and that he died of intestinal cancer in Cairo in 1992.[21]

In an interview at the family’s villa in Baden-Baden his son Rüdiger admitted publicly for the first time that he was with his father in Egypt at the time of his death. Heim says it was during the Olympics, and that he died the day after the games ended. According to Efraim Zuroff, Rüdiger Heim had - until the publishing of the ZDF research results - constantly denied having any knowledge of the whereabouts of Aribert Heim.[22] The German police authorities are still investigating to this day, since there is no sufficient evidence of Aribert Heim's death.

On 8 June 2001, a lawyer issued a statement to a Berlin courthouse in which he claimed to be in contact with Aribert Heim. On March 18, 2009, the Simon Wiesenthal Center filed a criminal complaint due to suspicion of false testimony.[23]

Sightings and investigations

In the years since his disappearance, Heim was the target of a rapidly escalating manhunt and ever-increasing rewards for his capture. Following his escape there were reported sightings in Latin America, Spain and Africa, as well as formal investigations aimed at bringing him to justice, some of which took place even after he had apparently died in Egypt. The German government offered €150,000 for information leading to his arrest, while the Simon Wiesenthal Center launched Operation Last Chance, a project to assist governments in the location and arrest of suspected Nazi war criminals who are still alive.[22] Tax records prove that, as late as 2001, Heim's lawyer asked the German authorities to refund capital gains taxes levied on him because he was living abroad.[22]

Heim reportedly hid out in South America, Spain and the Balkans, but only his presence in Spain has ever been confirmed.[15] He was alleged to have moved to Spain after fleeing Paysandú, Uruguay, when he was located by the Israeli Mossad.[citation needed] Efraim Zuroff, of the Wiesenthal Center, initiated an active search for his whereabouts,[22] and in late 2005, Spanish police incorrectly determined that he was located in Palafrugell.[24] According to El Mundo, Heim had been helped by associates of Otto Skorzeny, who had organized one of the biggest ODESSA bases in Franco's Spain.[25] Press reports in mid-October 2005 suggested that Heim's arrest by Spanish police was "imminent". Within a few days, however, newer reports suggested that he had successfully evaded capture and had relocated either to another part of Spain or else to Denmark.[26][27][28][29]

Fredrik Jensen, a Norwegian and a former SS Obersturmführer, was put under police investigation in June 2007, and charged with assisting Heim in his escape. The accusation was denied by Jensen.[30]

According to a 2007 publication by former Israeli Air Force Colonel Danny Baz,[31] Heim was kidnapped from Canada and taken to Santa Catalina off the Californian coast, where he was killed by a Nazi-hunting team codenamed "The Owl" in 1982.[32] Baz himself claims to have been part of this group. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem,[22] as well as the French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld say this is not true.[33]

In July 2007, the Austrian Justice Ministry declared that it would pay €50,000 for information leading to his arrest and extradition to Austria.[34]

On 6 July 2008 Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi-hunter, headed to South America as part of a public campaign to capture the most wanted Nazi in the world and bring him to justice,[22] claiming that Heim was alive and hiding in Patagonia, either in Chile or in Argentina. He elaborated on 15 July 2008 that he was sure Heim was alive and the groundwork had been laid to capture him within weeks.[7][35][36][37][38][39][40]

In 2008, Heim was named as one of the ten most wanted Nazi war criminals by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.[8][41]

A regional court in Baden-Baden confirmed that Heim died under the assumed identity of Tarek Hussein Farid in Egypt in 1992, based on evidence that his family and lawyer had presented.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "German court confirms Nazi 'Doctor Death' died in 1992". BBC. 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  2. "The life and crimes of 'Dr Death'". BBC News. 5 February 2009. 
  3. From the Briefcase of Dr. Aribert Heim, New York Times, February 4, 2009.
  4. "Nazi camp doctor 'died in 1992'". BBC News. 4 February 2009. 
  5. BBC - BBC Two Programmes - The Last Nazis, The Hunt for Dr Death
  6. Dsl with Wires (September 21, 2012). "Search for 'Dr Death' Ends: Nazi War Criminal Aribert Heim Declared Dead". Der Spiegel Online. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Nazi doctor 'is alive in Chile'". BBC. 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Most Wanted Nazis", Bridget Johnson,
  9. The End of 'Dr. Death', ABC News International website, February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
  10. al-Atrush, Samer and Spencer, Richard, "Nazi fugitive 'Dr Death' Aribert Heim Identified in Egypt by Briefcase Contents", The Telegraph, August 14, 2009. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  11. Wroe, David, Son of 'Dr Death' Aribert Heim to escape charges for concealing Nazi father's existence, The Telegraph, David Wroe, 5 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-23
  12. "Dr. Death" Aribert Heim: Nazi war criminal confirmed dead in Cairo, Welt Online website, February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-23
  14. (German) "Es geht mir gut" Der Spiegel. 9 July 2008.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Meistgesuchter Nazi-Verbrecher seit 1992 tot". ZDF.,1872,7512563,00.html. Retrieved 4 February 2009. 
  16. Nazi hunter: 'Give up, Dr. Death' - World news - Americas -
  18. (German) Geheimorganisation angeblich auf Nazi Jagd, ORF, accessed 2007-10-14
  19. (Spanish) Un tribunal alemán pide a la justicia chilena datos sobre el paradero del ‘carnicero de Mathausen’, El Pais, 28 April 2006
  20. "Son of Nazi wants him declared dead". 
  21. "Nazi 'Dr. Death' hunt leads to Cairo." CNN. Retrieved on February 5, 2009.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 Zuroff, Efraim (2009). "Dr. Heim, the most wanted Nazi in the world". Operation Last Chance: One Man's Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 185–207. ISBN 0-230-61730-1. 
  23. Mekhennet, Souad; Kulish, Nicholas (5 February 2009). "Uncovering Lost Path of the Most Wanted Nazi". The New York Times. 
  24. Nazi war criminal escapes Costa Brava police search, The Guardian, 17 October 2005
  25. (Spanish) A la caza del último nazi, El Mundo, 30 October 2005
  26. Germany expresses 'utmost interest' in seeing Nazi face justice, Ireland Online, 17 October 2005.
  27. Nazi 'Dr. Death' tracked to Spain, Ottawa Sun / AP, 16 October 2005.
  28. German courts seek Nazi fugitive thought to be in Chile, The Santiago Times, 26 April 2006.
  29. Warrant of Apprehension Austrian Justice Ministry, July 2007.
  30. Accused of hiding "Doctor Death", Aftenposten, 23 August 2007
  31. (French) Baz, Dany (2007). Ni oubli ni pardon: Au coeur de la traque du dernier nazi. Grasset & Fasquelle. ISBN 2-246-70621-1.
  32. Nazi-Avenging Tell-All Met With Cries of ‘Baloney’ by Marc Perelman, The Forward, 31 October 2007
  33. The search for ‘Dr. Death’ (Aribert Heim) continues, Simon Wiesenthal Center, 14 October 2007
  34. Report: Net closing in on top Nazi criminal Aribert Heim, Haaretz, 28 July 2007
  35. Nazi hunter looking for 'Dr. Death' in S. America | International | Jerusalem Post
  36. "SS doctor 'still alive in Chile'". BBC News. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  37. "Nazi hunters search Chile for 'Dr. Death'". 
  38. Concentration camp doctor Aribert Heim is the most-wanted Nazi war criminal 30 April 2008
  39. Nazi doctor 'is alive in Chile' BBC NEWS 9 July 2008
  40. The Hunt for Nazi War Criminal Aribert Heim, aka "Dr. Death" Investigation Discovery 10 July 2008
  41. "Fugitive Hunt", Dateline World Jewry, World Jewish Congress, July/August 2008

Further reading

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