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Saturday, 6 June 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #50 – 6 June 1985

On 6 June, 1985, German authorities alerted Sao Paulo police about a strong lead in the search for the body of the SS officer Josef Mengele, a Nazi also known as the Angel of Death.  Mengele was a physician who worked at Auschwitz concentration camp where he performed deadly experiments on prisoners and was one of a team who selected victims to be sent to gas chambers.

After the war, he fled to South America, where he lived until 1979.  He died at 67 having suffered a stroke while swimming off the coastal resort of Bertioga, a municipality of Sao Paulo.

He was very high up the list of Most Wanted war criminals and the hunt for his whereabouts continued for 34 years.  But his grave was never found, until painstaking investigations uncovered the names of people who helped and protected Mengele.  Through interrogations, a grave was identified.  The name on the grave was Wolfgang Gerhard.

On 6 June, 1985, the body was exhumed and eventually it was identified as Josef Mengele.  The identification was confirmed via DNA tests in 1992.  Even in death, every attempt was made by his cohorts to help him avoid capture.

The skeleton is stored at Sao Paulo Institute for Forensic Medicine where it is used as an educational aid.


 Sources: Various

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