|Excerpt from Document Reproduced in Justice Department Report on Mengele|
As I was listening to one of the lectures, I reflected on the fact that today, March 16th, would have been Josef Mengele’s 100th birthday. As I have written before in this blog, I was actively engaged in the search for Mengele in 1985 and then in the investigation surrounding the identification of his remains. In 1985, we were looking for a 74 year old man – someone who by any actuarial standard would have had a good chance of still being alive at that time. Of course, we did not know that Mengele had already been dead for six years when the investigation went into high gear. He died just before his 68th birthday when he suffered a stroke while swimming in Bertioga, Brazil.
I suppose it was only natural to reflect on how we are on the cusp of new phase in our understanding of the Holocaust and in how we remember it. Soon there will be no one left who has any personal memory of what transpired. The world will rely on institutions like ours and symposia like the Fanya Heller Conference for Educators to preserve the memory and educate the public.