The SS Doctor Who Converted to Islam and Escaped the Nazi Hunters
The Holocaust, as you’ll probably know, produced some of history’s worst human beings. The thing is, though, besides those who made it into your textbooks—the Hitlers, Görings and Himmlers—many escaped unscathed, free to live out the rest of their days pretending to be mild-mannered ex-pats who’d moved to Argentina simply because they preferred empanadas and polo to bratwurst and car manufacturing.
One SS member to ultimately escape prosecution was an Austrian concentration camp doctor called Aribert Heim, who later became known as “Doctor Death.” The atrocities committed in the Nazi camps have their very own scale of horror, and Heim sits somewhere near the top (his trademark was injecting gasoline into healthy people’s hearts and keeping their skulls as trophies). However, despite his horrific crimes he managed to mostly evade the authorities, and when they did finally catch up with him in the early 60s he had already fled Germany.
Almost 50 years later, New York Times journalist Souad Mekhennet got a tip that Heim had converted to Islam and had been hiding out in Cairo. Teaming up with another NYTjournalist, Nicholas Kulish, the pair decided to follow up what they’d heard, hoping to track down Heim and explain what exactly had happened after his sudden disappearance.
An article about Souad and Nicholas’ search for Heim was first published in the New York Times, before the pair turned their investigation into a book, titled The Eternal Nazi. I recently spoke to the writers about their experience, the briefcase of Heim’s possessions they were handed in Cairo and the effect the story had on them and those closest to Dr Death.
VICE: Hi guys. So let’s start at the beginning; when did you start investigating the story of Aribert Heim? Souad Mekhennet: It started in 2008, when I received a phone call from an old source of mine. We met, and he took out this photocopied photo of Aribert Heim. He told me that he was the most-wanted Nazi doctor, “Doctor Death.” There was information that Heim used to hide out in a certain neighbourhood in Cairo, but it wasn’t confirmed. So I spoke to Nick and we decided to take on the challenge. I took this photocopy to Cairo to see if it was true. We went from small hotel to small hotel, until, on our third day, we found someone who recognized him.
What exactly had Heim done to become the most wanted Nazi in the world? Nicholas Kulish: He worked as a Waffen-SS doctor in a series of concentration camps, including Buchenwald in Germany and Mauthausen in Austria. He was accused of committing hideous crimes in Mauthausen in 1941, including operating on healthy living patients, killing them in the process, and injecting gasoline into people’s hearts. He also used to take the skulls with particularly good teeth as trophies and keep them on his desk.
The Syrian War Keeps Getting Worse for the People of Aleppo
A year ago, almost to the day, I watched a graffiti artist named Khalifa paint a huge smiley face onto a wall. The wall was pretty much all that remained of the house it had been part of, and every other house on the street was in a similarly bad state. The day before, the street had been hit by a Scud missile: That was Aleppo, Syria, in 2013.
Khalifa had sprayed a slogan next to the smiley face. It read, in Arabic, “Tomorrow this will be beautiful.”
The Only Person Young Thug Follows on Instagram Tried to Fly Me to Dubai in Exchange for Sex
I have a compulsion, or a penchant rather, to seek out and passively absorb images any time I find myself idle. In high school, I satisfied this urge through Tumblr—I would tumbl deep into k-holes of Mary Kate Olsen pro-anorexia blogs and Laguna Beach montages. But now I am (ostensibly) an adult, so I use Instagram to quench my thirst for meaningless images. Celebrity Instagrams are the apex of the form, a place where you can lose yourself in the 2,000 comments on a selfie of Young Thug in the passenger seat of a car.
It was precisely that moment of Instagram hypnosis that an unnamed Noisey editor discovered a strange anomaly: Young Thug aka @thuggerthugger1 follows a single person on Instagram. Just as Kanye only follows his one true love, Kim Kardashian, on Twitter, Young Thug has an interest in only one account, one account over the millions that exist, one account to fill his entire feed every time he desires the soothing soma of social media.
I reached out to Mr. Al Buqaish via Facebook about a month ago. He responded almost immediately to my inquiry, but his messages were suspiciously laced with grinning, blushing, and winking emoticons. I should have realized after the first winky-face emoticon that this was not going to be a normal interviewer-interviewee relationship. Instead of agreeing to a Skype or email interview as I had suggested, Humaid took the conversation to an entirely different place:
Crude Journalism: Chevron Bought a Newspaper to Mask Its Bad Record on Safety Abuses
Richmond is tucked into California’s western tricep, a former wine town with a population just over 100,000. Under the administration of Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, the town is thelargest city in the United States with a Green Party mayor. It’s also an oil town—in 1901, Standard Oil set up a tank farm, choosing the location for its easy access to San Francisco Bay. Soon after, a western terminus of the Santa Fe Railroad was built in Richmond to handle the outflux of crude. Over the course of the 20th century, Standard Oil became the Standard Oil Company of California (SOCAL), and later, Chevron.
How to Kill a Wolf: An Undercover Report from the Idaho Coyote and Wolf Derby
The best way to fatally wound a wolf without killing it instantly is to shoot it in the gut, preferably with armor-piercing ammunition. Unlike soft lead-tipped bullets, which mushroom inside the body cavity and kill quickly, heavy-jacketed AP ammo pierces the target and blows out the other side.
This has two advantages: The first is that, especially with a gut shot, the animal will suffer. It will bleed out slowly, run a mile or so in terrified panic, and collapse. Then it will die. The second advantage is that, if you’re hunting illegally (out of season, at night with a spotlight, or on land where you shouldn’t), there is little forensic evidence for game wardens to gather. No bullet will be found in the cadaver. Most importantly, the animal will have traveled some distance from where it was shot, so that tracing the site of the shooting is almost impossible.
I gleaned these helpful tips from a nice old man at a saloon in Salmon, Idaho, which last December was the site of the first annual Coyote and Wolf Derby. I had come to this rural town—population 3,000—to enter as a contestant in the derby. Over the course of two days in late December, several hundred hunters would compete to kill as many wolves and coyotes as possible. There were two $1,000 prizes to be had, one for the most coyotes slain and the other for the largest single wolf carcass. Children were encouraged to enter, with special awards for youths aged 10–11 and 12–14 listed on the promotional flyer. The derby’s organizer, a nonprofit sporting group called Idaho for Wildlife, advertised that the event was to be historic: the first wolf-killing contest held in the US since 1974.
The Ukraine Uprising Had Its Bloodiest Day Yet Yesterday
Kiev was burning again on Tuesday. After a period of calm, yesterday’s violence was the deadliest since Ukraine’s “Euromaidan” protests began in November.
The number of deaths rose throughout the day, as more and more corpses were found in the streets of Kiev. By Wednesday morning, at least 25 people had lost their lives, including nine police officers. Reports about the number of injured vary but start at over 200. A Ukrainian doctor on the scene said that the real number could run “into the thousands,” and the tolls of those both killed and wounded are only likely to rise. A stream of photos on social media showed people, many of them apparently unconscious, with their faces covered in blood.
Yesterday’s crackdown was a brutal riposte to anyone who thought the situation in Ukraine would be settled any time soon—a position that didn’t seem too fanciful as recently as a few days ago. On Sunday, police and protesters started to pull back from their standoff on Kiev’s Hrushevskoho Street, the site of the worst clashes in January. The place was an absolute mess: a sea of soot, tires, and burned-out vehicles, studded with Ukrainian and foreign flags.
VICE News is launching soon. Meet Aris Roussinos, a Rory Peck Award-winning journalist who covers not only traditional hot spots like Mali, Syria and South Sudan, but from the front lines of social movements and urban conflicts that are changing the face of the world as we know it.