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Aribert Heim

(1914 - 1992)

Dr. Aribert Heim was a doctor at the Mauthausen concentration camp during World War II and known to inmates as "Dr. Death". Heim was known for performing often-fatal operations and experiments on patients which included injecting various solutions into Jewish prisoners' hearts to see which killed them the fastest, operating without anesthesia, and removing organs from healthy inmates and then leaving them to die on the operating table. Until the 2009 discovery of his death, Heim remained the Simon Wiesenthal Center's most wanted Nazi war criminal and there was a reward of $405,000 for information that would lead to his capture.

Heim was born on June 28, 1914 in Radkersburg, Austria and joined the local Nazi party in 1935, three years before Austria was annexed by Germany. In 1940, he later volunteered to join Hitler's elite Waffen SS. In October 1941, Heim was assigned to Mauthausen near Linz, Austria as a camp doctor. While at the concentration camp, Heim worked closely with SS pharmacist Erich Wasicky and carried out gruesome experiments likened to those of Joseph Mengele at Auschwitz. Heim was also a doctor at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps.

In February 1942, Heim began serving in the 6th SS Mountain Division Nord in Northern Finland where he was an SS doctor in Oulu's hospitals.

Heim was captured by US soldiers on March 15, 1945 and sent to a camp for prisoners of war. He was released and avoided immediate prosecution due to the mysterious omission of his time at Mauthausen from his American-held file in Germany. Following his release, Heim worked as a gynecologist in the German spa town Baden-Baden, where he lived with his wife and two sons. Heim disappeared in 1962 when he was warned that a warrant had been issued for his arrest and investigators were waiting for him at his residence.

Though there were sightings reported of Heim in Latin America, Europe, and Africa, it was later discovered that he settled in Cairo, Egypt after driving through France, Spain, and Morocco in 1962. In Egypt, Heim converted to Islam at the Al Azhar mosque and lived under the false name Tarek Hussein Farid. Despite being in hiding, Heim continued to correspond with friends and family in Europe and received money from his late sister, Herta Barth.

Details of Heim's life in hiding and death were jointly reported by the German public broadcaster ZDF and the New York Times in February 2009. The Baden-Wuerttemberg State Criminal Investigations Office confirmed the news source reports of Heim's death the following day. Investigators acquired a certified copy of a death certificate from Egyptian authorities, along with other documents proving the name change, for Tarek Hussein Farid showing that Heim died in 1992. During a series of interviews with Heim's family, his son Rüdiger admitted that he had been with his father when he died of intestinal cancer on August 10, 1992. Heim's son learned about the Dr. Heim's whereabouts from his late aunt, Herta Barth. Rüdiger also learned from his father that there had been other ex-Nazis in hiding in Egypt.

Sources: Ha'aretz; The New York Times; Wikipedia