HE was known as the Angel of Death, the Nazi doctor who conducted lethal experiments on inmates at the Auschwitz extermination camp during the Second World War.
Josef Mengele fled as the Third Reich collapsed, finally moving to South America where he evaded Nazi-hunters until his death in Brazil in 1979.
Now a collection of his previously unseen letters and diaries has emerged after they were discovered in a police store-room in So Paulo.
The writings depict a man who remained unrepentant of his crimes against humanity, who continued to support Adolf Hitler’s plans to create a master race and who applauded South Africa’s apartheid system. The diary material and letters, found last month on the tenth floor of the federal police building in So Paulo, were seized in 1985 from the home of a German couple who hid Mengele in Brooklin, So Paulo and from a house outside the city where the Nazi once lived.
They are testament to his loyalty to mass murder, racism and twisted science.
The papers and other items will be transferred to the National Police Academy in Brasilia, where they will be open to public examination.
Mengele, whose grotesque experiments on twins were performed without anaesthetic, was unrepentant to the last. Extracts from the diaries and letters were printed yesterday by a newspaper in So Paulo.
Mengele, the gifted son of a rich industrialist, has been held responsible for the deaths of up to 400,000 people in the infamous Polish death camp.
Of his own actions in "selecting" whether victims at Auschwitz were to live to work or to be experimented upon, or to be dispatched in the gas chambers, he wrote: "I gave life in Auschwitz, I did not take it."
Of the Jews, six million of whom perished in the Holocaust that he helped to direct, Mengele had a grudging admiration.
"The cultural production of the Jews is not to be disputed. It is possible to always perceive that their representatives are above-average intellectually and always without exception live with people who are of a high cultural level."
But he also remained true to the Fhrer’s ideal that Jews "should never be allowed to mix their blood with others".
And he wrote not a single word of regret about their destruction on an industrial production-line scale, yet found time to criticise Israel for its "persecution" of the Palestinians as early as 1969.
In one letter written in December 1972 to his family, Mengele parroted Hitler’s belief that the Nordic races were superior to all others.
"That the races and people are different is a proven fact that no-one can doubt," he wrote. "The quality of one people from the biological point of view can be explained by their adaptation to the environment in which they live.
"When we measure different cultures, the results of behaviour are very different. Not all races or peoples attain the same cultural level, which forces us to conclude that not all people have the same creative capacity. In the Nordic race, this can clearly be defined."
Mengele also railed against the pacifism that swept German youth in the postwar years, saying his country had "degenerated because it was losing its traditions".
Loneliness was never far away during his years in hiding. On 27 January 1976, he noted: "It is 1:00am in the morning without my perception of it. I feel so alone and abandoned as never I have felt."
During his life on the run he jotted down his opinions on numerous topics, including the apartheid regime in South Africa which he much admired.
"It is to be expected that the process of interbreeding, at least in Europe, lends itself to the neighbouring races. In other continents there are occurring important and convincing experiences. I can affirm that the results have been very agreeable. Apartheid is a very efficient way to discontinue interbreeding."
Mengele also found time to disparage erstwhile Nazi comrades, among them Hitler’s architect and later armaments minister, Albert Speer, who was the sole Nazi at the postwar Nuremberg trials to admit his guilt. Mengele, in one of his entries, branded him a "a person who diminished his own value".