The headline on an article June 15 about David Crown and Gideon Epstein identifying the handwriting of Josef Mengele on documents incorrectly called the two men graphologists. They are forensic document experts who make scientific examinations of questioned documents. Graphology is the study of handwriting as a clue to character or personality traits.
U.S. and Brazilian handwriting experts said today they have made "a definite identification of the writing of Josef Mengele" on various documents provided by persons who said they knew the Nazi war criminal during his reported years in hiding in Brazil.
The finding by David Crown, who headed the CIA document verification office from 1967 to 1982, bolstered claims by police here that positive traces of Mengele have been found, whether or not he died here in 1979.
"If we had found that there was some problem with the writing, we would have rendered a qualified conclusion. The fact that we are rendering an absolutely positive conclusion means that we have no doubt as to the authenticity of that writing," said Crown, now an independent consultant.
Crown said he and Gideon Epstein, of the forensic document laboratory of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, had independently examined more than 14 groups of documents recovered by Brazilian police from several small houses in the Sao Paulo area where a man said to be Mengele was sheltered for more than 15 years.
Afterward they compared results, and Crown said, "There are no doubts in our minds -- it's a definite identification."
Epstein said, "All we're saying is that Mengele made the handwriting -- what can be drawn from that as far as who the body is -- that will have to be done by the pathologists and odontologists and other people who've arrived here . . . "
Epstein and Crown, accompanied by an unnamed West German handwriting specialist, made their announcement after Brazilian federal police chief Romeu Tuma released a statement confirming the positive identification.
But Tuma said that fingerprint tests on books and documents had proved negative because those items had been extensively handled.
Identification of the documents in Mengele's handwriting does not confirm that the body exhumed last Thursday from a cemetery outside Sao Paulo is his.
Nor does it remove remaining doubts of Mengele's reported presence at a number of locations in Sao Paulo State in the 1960s and 1970s.