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'Nazi-Hunters' Come to Brazil After Hitler's Accomplices

03/10/2016 - 09h28

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ANNA VIRGINIA BALLOUSSIER
SPECIAL ENVOY TO RIO

The Third Reich fell apart 71 years ago, leading Nazis, low to top ranking, to escape to Latin American in mass. That stampede has been compared to the escape of rodents from a sinking ship -the "rat routes".

Delegate Uwe Steinz, 58, still "has hope" that he will find some of the people responsible for the Jewish genocide during World War II still living.

After fighting organized crime and prostitution in his country, the German lives off "hunting Nazis"-and believes there is a fistful of them in Brazil.

Since 2009, as an employee of the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes, he has already made 14 trips to the National Archive in Rio. Among five million immigrant registration records, Steinz is searching for the registrations for Germans born between 1916 and 1931.

The information of those who fit the profile is sent to the headquarters in Germany, which verifies if the person served the Third Reich.

He didn't come to hunt the "big fish" of the SS, the elite squad of Nazis -older, they are probably no longer with us. His target is the "lower clergy", such as camp guards and accountants.

The most famous one of them, Joseph Mengele, the "Angel of Death", was a doctor in Auschwitz responsible for prisoner triage (forced labor or gas chamber). He died at age 67, in 1979, when he drowned in Bertioga (on the coast of São Paulo), possibly a victim of cardiac arrest. He was never tried.

There are more accounts of older Nazis in Brazil, like Herbert Cukurs (who rented paddleboats in Niterói) and Franz Stangl, employed at a Volkswagen factory in ABC Paulista.

Arrested in 1967, Stangl was extradited and was targeted for the death of 900 thousand people. "My conscience is at peace", he said at the time.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

Read the article in the original language

Mauro Pimentel/Folhapress
Steinz still "has hope" that he will find some of the people responsible for the Jewish genocide during WWII still living
Steinz still "has hope" that he will find some of the people responsible for the Jewish genocide during WWII still living

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