A Jewish man who recently bought a document purported to be an infamous Nazi's journal lost more than 100 close relatives in the death camps, "including dozens who saw Dr. Josef Mengele in action at Auschwitz," said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The unidentified man and his family "want the world to know that their only motivation in acquiring [Mengele's diary/journal] was to ensure that it remains in Jewish hands to serve as an integral part of the education of future generations about the infamy of history's greatest crime," said Hier, founder and dean of the Los Angeles-based center.
He escaped Germany in the late 1940s and spent his remaining years in South America, where he wrote the journal in 1960, according to Bill Panagopoulos, owner of Alexander Autographs, the Stamford auction house that sold the journal. Entries show that Mengele was unrepentant, still espousing views of racial superiority and advocating the eradication of people with "deficient genes."
Alexander Autographs announced the sale for an undisclosed sum last week. Panagopoulos described the buyer as the grandson of an Auschwitz survivor who wanted to donate the document to a Holocaust museum.
Hier said Monday that he knows the buyer and spoke with him Monday. Hier said he is comfortable that the journal's provenance is solid. He said the Simon Wiesenthal Center would be interested in acquiring the journal, which he said matches Mengele's unrepentant mind-set.
The buyer, according to a New York Post story Sunday, is an Orthodox Jew from the city who felt the journal had to be preserved so "it doesn't fall in the wrong hands or get destroyed."
"It's very emotional," the anonymous buyer, who purchased the diary with his parents after reading about it in an Israeli newspaper, told the newspaper. "It should have been written in red ink because it was written by a man with blood on his hands."
The American Gathering of Holocaust Victims and Their Descendants, however, continues to question the document's authenticity. Elan Steinberg, the organization's vice president, said he remains skeptical because no scientific tests, to his knowledge, have been run to authenticate the journal.
Also, although Panagopoulos, who could not be reached for comment Monday, would not identify the previous owner of the journal, Steinberg said the Mengele family could benefit from the sale. Neal Sher, a former U.S. Department of Justice official who headed the nation's Nazi prosecution unit, said "it's become rather clear" that a Mengele family member sold the journal to an unidentified person in the U.S., who then consigned it to Panagopoulos.
"We are appalled and shocked that anyone would feel it is appropriate for the Mengele family to profit from this document," Steinberg said.
NAZI ‘ANGEL OF DEATH’
Rabbi Defends Buyer Of Purported Mengele Document
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