Some material in this collection was not released by the CIA until 2007.
These CIA files on Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele consists of published articles about Mengele and his various hideouts in South America, mistaken sightings of him, information of unknown reliability about his associates in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, and much information about events in 1984-85, when his tracks finally emerged.
Mengele had escaped from Europe to Paraguay, lived there and elsewhere in South America from 1951 on, obtaining Paraguayan citizenship in 1959 under his own name. After some rumors of his existence in Paraguay emerged, he left the country and lived mostly in Brazil under the name of Wolfgang Gearhart. He suffered a stroke while swimming at a Sao Paolo beach in 1979. When it was discovered in 1985 that a Brazilian German couple named Bossert had befriended Mengele, the Bosserts revealed how Mengele had died in 1979 and where he was buried-at a town named Embu outside Sao Paolo. The Sao Paolo police launched a forensic investigation of Mengele's remains, which turned out to be severely flawed. First the West Germans and then the U. S. and Israeli governments sent teams of investigators to Sao Paolo to provide expert assistance. All the teams of government experts concluded that Mengele had died in Sao Paolo in 1979.
The most significant information comes from documents mentioning a CIA response, dated 18 July 1965, to a Justice Department request for a trace on Dr. Theodor Binder for relevant material about Mengele. Binder headed the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Pucallpa, Peru. The CIA's file on Binder contained a document from the State Department to the U. S. Secret Service regarding the circulation of counterfeit U. S. currency in Peru. A number of former Nazi officials were allegedly involved, including some who worked for an organization of former SS officers (ODESSA) in South America. Schwend (see discussion of him in the Klaus Barbie CIA Files listing) was sighted with Mengele in Uruguay in 1962. Another undated document indicates that some of Mengele's contacts in South America may have been involved in narcotics traffic.
Nothing in the file indicates any CIA relationship with Mengele at any time. Nothing in the file suggests that the CIA had exact knowledge of Mengele's various hideouts. The CIA did start a search in 1972, concluding that Mengele had been in Paraguay, where he had enjoyed the protection of the Paraguayan government, and had vanished in 1960, he was rumored to have gone to Brazil. A major U. S. investigation of Mengele's whereabouts began only in 1985-six years after his death.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration