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June 21, 1985 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-06-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, June 21, 1985

15

Author Posner traveled deep into the
jungles of southern Paraguay in his
quest for traces of Mengele. Here, he
poses against a stand of bamboo.

About The Author

fraudulent. It is totally unlike any
other field of historical research.

Mengele had eluded justice since
World War II. But traces of his flight
have never been difficult to find.
Since I began documenting his career
as a fugitive, I have had trouble
stemming the avalanche of informa-
tion and sifting the real facts out
of a veritable mountain of spurious
data. Along the way, I have met a
whole underworld of con men, tin
horn tyrants, former SS troopers and
people who buy and sell Nazis.
When I began my study four years
ago I was quite naive. I was aware
that such respected news gathering
organizations as Stern magazine,
Newsweek and the Times of London
had lost millions of dollars on such
wild goose chases as the bogus Hitler
diaries. but I knew nothing at all of
the vast cottage industry that is
based on the wholesale merchandis-
ing of information and artifacts

.

emanating from the flotsam and jet-
sam of the Third Reich.
There are, for instance, merchants
of myth who make a handsome living
selling Bormann's bones and Men-
gele's hacienda over and over again
to gullible journalists or bounty
hunters blinded by the prospect of
reward money. And as I discovered
in my encounter with the SS cor-
poral, there are many people willing
to manufacture documents, on of-
ficial government letterheads, saying
anything your heart desires.
I have had to make many adjust-
ments since I started my work in
1981. At that time, my law partner,
Joseph Ferrara, and I were involved
in pro bono research, trying to deter-
mine whether a small band of surviv-
ing Auschwitz experiment victims
could file a lawsuit against Germany
in an American court, seeking extra
compensation for their injuries.
The job was arduous and emo-
tionally draining, but what had

.

started as a part-time, unpaid legal
assignment eventually became an
obsession. The plight of the death
camp victims was too shocking, too
morally damning to treat as an or-
dinary legal case. And in the course
of our research, one individual kept
rising to the top of our list of cruel
and evasive Nazi criminals: Josef
Mengele.
Our law firm decided to test the
legal waters with a suit, filed on
behalf of several Auschwitz victims,
against both West and East Ger-
many as well as the Mengele business
interests in the United States, seek-
ing compensation for the survivors'
extraordinary medical expenses.
After two years of work and the ex-
penditure of more than $20,000 of our
own money, we eventually decided to
scrap the lawsuit. Although I wanted
more desperately with every passing
day to make those responsible for the
death camp atrocities pay for their

Continued on next page

Gerald L. Posner, 31, is a part-
ner in the law firm of Posner and
Ferrara, with offices in midtown
Manhattan. He was born and
raised in San Francisco, received
his bachelor's degree at the Uni-
versity of California at Berkeley,
where he made Phi Beta Kappa,
and earned his law degree at the
University of California's Hast-
ings College.
Posner married a British sub-
ject, and was flying to London in
1981 when he met a Holocaust sur-
vivor on the plane and decided to
try and obtain extra compensation
for those people who suffered
lasting effects as a result of Nazi
"scientific experiments."
When Posner returned to New
York, he and his law partner,
Joseph Ferrara, decided to study
the possibility of filing a suit in an
American court against Germany
on behalf of the surviving medical
experiment victims.
Within a short time, Posner's re-
search had narrowed down to a
hunt for information about the
post World War II activities of
Josef Mengele. He began devoting
more and more time to the search.
Four years and thousands of miles
later, Posner has gathered what he
believes to be the most volum-
inous Mengele file in existence —
some 25,000 pages — and is
currently under contract with
McGraw-Hill to write a book ten-
tatively titled Josef Mengele: Life
On The Run, scheduled for pub-
lishing after January 1, 1986.
Until the story of Mengele's
death in Brazil broke last week,
Posner had planned to fly to Ger.
many again to interview relative-,
friends and associates of the
"Angel of Death." As we went to
press, he was in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
gathering information on the last
six years of the infamous doctor's
life.

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