To Nazi hunters, Aribert Heim is the most coveted target still at large. The German and Austrian governments, as well as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, all believe that the so-called Butcher of Mauthausen is alive, and they are offering $430,000 for information on him. They periodically send investigators around the world to find him, most recently to Chile.
There is just one small problem: Heim is now said to be dead, executed in 1982 in California by a secretive cell of Jewish avengers.
So, at least, says Danny Baz, a retired Israeli air force colonel who claims he was a member of The Owl, a covert Jewish death squad made up of former American and Israeli military and intelligence officials. Baz claims that the group spent years tracking down and killing Nazis who fled to the Western Hemisphere after World War II.
Bazâs sensational allegations appear in âNot Forgotten or Forgiven: On the Trail of the Last Nazi,â a memoir released last month by mainstream publisher Grasset in France, where it received broad media coverage.
Baz has been fiercely condemned by the Wiesenthal Center and other Nazi hunters since the book appeared in mid-October. The American government backs the critics.
âThis is a bunch of baloney,â said Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigations at the U.S. Justice Department. âWhat is true is that there is a real person who calls himself Danny Baz and is trying to make some money with this book at the expense of the truth.â