Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, March 07, 2014

Death's Dark Angel

"I am a physician. I speak German, and my German was very good and an offer was made to me to be a part of the mission. I was made aware of the target. I knew who it was, and where he was hiding and what I was supposed to do."
"My job, as the physician, and a German speaker, would have been to interrogate Mengele, if he would let me, on the flight home to Israel, because I would know the right questions to ask and the feeling was he wouldn't say a word once a trial started."
"And I think I knew what to expect from him, as well, because I think he was a man with zero morals and zero ethics. The only ethics he had were the Nazi ethics. He saw himself as serving his nation without price, without ever considering that what he had done was bad."
"I was fully prepared to go to the grave without ever mentioning it. The team never talked about it afterwards because our story had an end -- we failed."
"If Mengele had violently resisted he would have been shot. But the whole idea was to bring him to trial, to prove everything he had done in Auschwitz."
"There was a great sense of disappointment. Now, it would turn out that Mengele was already dead - he had drowned in the late 1970s in Brazil. But no one knew that then. He was still very much alive to all of us."
Dr. Ethan Rubinstein, professor of medicine, head, adult infectious disease, University of Manitoba
 Dr. Ethan Rubinstein was part of a team put together to hunt down notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.
KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS   Dr. Ethan Rubinstein was part of a team put together to hunt down notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

Two doctors, one notorious as a Nazi, who experimented on prisoners, exposing them to the most horrendous conditions of adversity and anguish to determine threshholds of pain. His particular interest was in experimenting on twins. He was a man utterly without conscience, consumed by his curiosity as a medical man with no normal constraints on experimenting on vulnerable human beings. Known as the 'Angel of Death', he delivered all too many innocent people to death because they were Jews.

And then, there is the Jewish doctor with Israeli-Canadian citizenship. Dr. Rubinstein is a medical specialist who has published research papers on influenza, chronic pulmonary disease, septic arthritis and staph infections. This gifted medical scientist has striven to improve the lives of people by attempting to understand how we are affected by pathogens that surround us. Dr. Mengele introduced pathogens to the living human body to study their effects as that body turned into a corpse.

Dr. Rubinstein had been recruited as a younger man to help track down, capture and bring back to face trial and justice in Israel, the infamous Josef Mengele the star of Auschwitz, responsible for the countless deaths of imprisoned Jews. A friend and former Mossad operator who became a key figure in the operation that sought and captured Adolf Eichmann, bringing him to trial in Jerusalem, asked Dr. Rubinstein if he might care to engage in a search for Mengele.

The five-man team that was eventually put together consisting of ex-spies, a pilot, a soldier and Dr. Rubinstein, set out in 1984 on their mission. Their mission was funded by a privately wealthy backer who supplied them with all the special equipment they required to bring their mission to fruition, including a Boeing jet with a hidden cell in which to incarcerate Mengele in transport to Israel.

Contact had been made with a Paraguayan lawyer, a confidant of the regime who became their local intelligence source. "Carlos" claimed knowledge of the precise location of a cabin in the woods close to the Brazilian border where Mengele could be found. He provided the team with a daily ritual timetable for Mengele. The plan was to kidnap the fugitive from justice when he was bathing in a nearby spring.

"Peter Malkin [the team's chief] had these special talents. And something in what Carlos was saying sounded wrong to him. He couldn't exactly say what it was. But he suspected a trap, that Carlos wasn't telling the truth because Carlos was to be paid quite handsomely after we got Mengele", explained Dr. Rubinstein. Carlos' room was searched and evidence confirming that hunch was discovered.

It became clear that the Israelis had been gulled, and they would be entering a trap. They were to be killed. This realization led to the mission being abandoned. Only later did they discover that Mengele couldn't be apprehended then, or ever. He was long dead.

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