Why Did Israel Let Mengele Go? the New York Times on the Mossad’s Mengele File

Why Did Israel Let Mengele Go?

For decades, Israel’s espionage agency, the Mossad, kept a file on Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor responsible for, among other atrocities, selecting which new inmates at Auschwitz would die immediately in the gas chambers and which would be put to work first or subjected to his horrible “medical” experiments.

The file is thousands of pages long and documents the Mossad’s efforts to capture or assassinate the war criminal: countless hours of labor, huge sums of money, scores of agents and sources, wiretaps, break-ins, secret photographs and just about every other ploy in the espionage tool kit, including recruiting Nazis and journalists. At one stage the Mossad even tried to use a secret connection it had with Fidel Castro to get the Cuban leader to help in the manhunt.

It all amounted to nothing. Mengele never saw justice.


For the first time, thanks to documents gathered and interviews conducted for my forthcoming book Rise and Kill First, it’s possible to say why the Mossad, known for its efficiency and almost boundless aggression failed to apprehend the man who was perhaps the most wanted Nazi to survive World War II. My report on the subject is appearing this today simultaionsioly  in The New York Times Magazine, the German Die Zeit, and in Hebrew in Yedioth Ahronoth.

I would like to thank editors Max Strasser at NYTimes, Holger Stark at Die Zeit and Ron Yaron of Yedioth Ahronoth for making this possible.


Image Credits: NYT