After the end of the Second World War, the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, known worldwide for cruel experiments and for sending thousands of people to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp, lived on the run for 34 years, more than half of them in Brazil. Mengele escaped justice, the Israeli secret service, and Nazi hunters until his death in Bertioga in 1979. Hidden in Brazil, Mengele created his Tropical Bavaria, a place where he could speak German, maintain his beliefs, his friends, and his connection with the homeland. This was only possible thanks to a small circle of expatriate Europeans willing to help him until the end.
One such person, Austrian Liselotte Bossert, buried Mengele with false documents in order to keep his true identity hidden even after his death. When, in 1985, this fact came to light and the world finally discovered where Josef Mengele was, Liselotte was teaching at a German school in São Paulo, and one of her students was precisely Betina Anton, then six years old. The sudden disappearance of her schoolteacher, with no explanation given to the children, intrigued her forever. Decades later, as an experienced journalist, Betina decided to investigate the matter. But when she was reunited with Liselotte, she received threats for wanting to clarify a “dangerous case”.
Based on extensive research, including interviews, unpublished documents and news coverage from that era, the book tells in a ravishing way how Mengele became a monstrous doctor without any scruples in the exercise of his profession, how he ended up in Brazil and why people in the country got involved with him, even risking their reputations to cover him up. Finally, the big question of this book: how could a criminal of this magnitude and his collaborators go unpunished?
English sample available.