The Justice Department has enlisted at least five federal agencies in the search it began last month for fugitive Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, a top departmental official said.
"The FBI, the State Department, the Army, the entire intelligence community are helping us in this investigation," Stephen S. Trott, assistant attorney general for the criminal division, told the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on juvenile justice.
"We also have the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service assisting our Office of Special Investigations helping us find this man, if indeed he is still living."
Trott praised the move to bring the U.S. marshals into the hunt for Mengele, who is believed to have escaped from Europe after World War II and gone to live in Paraguay under an assumed name.
"The marshals have become very adept at bringing fugitives to justice, finding and arresting almost 7,000 fugitives in this country since 1980," Trott said.
Trott said Justice also is getting full cooperation from the intelligence services in West Germany and Israel and from a number of South American countries. Some sources have linked Mengele to South American drug traffic as recently as the 1970s.
"I can't talk yet about Paraguay," Trott said. "We're not at that stage in our investigation, and it would be premature to say whether Paraguay is cooperating or not." On past occasions, Paraguay has said it considers the Mengele case "closed."
There are outstanding warrants for Mengele's arrest in West Germany and Israel.
As chief physician at Auschwitz, Mengele is said to have had a role in the murder of 400,000 Jews at the Nazi death camp and to have performed surgical "experiments" on more than 200 of the camp's inmates, most involving Jews, gypsies, twins and women. Mengele was known as the "Angel of Death" because he decided who at Auschwitz would be killed.