Mengele’s Passport Is Discovered by a San Diego Historian

Historian Craig Gottlieb claims to have found the passport of Nazi ‘Angel of Death’ doctor Josef Mengele, who fled to  Argentina in 1949.

The New York Daily News ran a story of Craig Gottlieb, a historian and a frequent contributor to the television show “Pawn Stars”. The historian claims to have discovered the passport Nazi “Angel of Death” doctor, Josef Mengele when he fled to Argentina in 1949. “An object like this has an ability to speak to you,” Gottlieb told NBC 7 San Diego in an interview. Of course, Mengele didn’t use his name on the actual passport. Instead, he used the name Gregor Hellmuth.

A picture of Josef Mengele from his passport. He used the name Gregor Hellmuth to make his escape to Argentina in 1949.
The photo used on “Gregor Hellmuth” passport.

Mengele was known as the “Angel of Death” because while he was the doctor at Auschwitz, he conducted horrific experiments on the prisoners of the infamous death camp. An SS officer would select which of the prisoners would be gassed and which would be forced to work in the camp. In 1949, Mengele escaped to Argentina where he lived for 30 years until he died.

Gottlieb on  Mengele, whose  passport is seen above: ‘When you look at something like this you are forced to face an evil that we don't really look at anymore.’

Mengele was portrayed in the 1978 film, The Boys from Brazil, directed by Gregory Peck. The movie was about two men who discovered Mengele living in Paraguay and worked to bring the evil doctor to justice. Gottlieb purchased the passport in October from a researcher who received it from Mengele’s secretary. The passport gives an insight into the details of his escape.

Josef Mengele.was known as the ‘Angel of Death’ for his gruesome work at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

He was able to use documents that were forged from Genoa, Italy to be able to receive the passport with the name Gregor Hellmuth. “This guy lived under the nose of multiple governments for 30 or so years, never caught, never brought to justice, and something like this you could never get away with today,” Gottlieb told the station. “Look in this guy’s eyes and you see something deeply disturbing, but it’s something we need to be consciously aware about as human beings.”

Gottlieb plans to donate the artifact to a museum after it has been authenticated.

Gottlieb bought documents that he believes shows that the Argentine government know who Mengele was when he entered the country. The documents also show that Mengele tried to get his identity back so that he could continue business with relatives who were still in Germany. Gottlieb says he plans to have the passport authenticated and hopes to donate it to a museum so that it can be preserved. Even though the passport could be worth a quarter of a million dollars if sold, Gottlieb has no intentions of selling it.

“When you look at something like this, you are forced to face an evil that we don’t really look at anymore,” he said.

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE