You Had Hitler; We Had Mengele
by Brad in Paraguay
Although we had our own fascist dictator who lasted a lot longer than Peron, all that Paraguay got in the way of Nazi notables was Dr. Mengele of death camp fame. He was the sicko who did experiments with twins. He ended up initially in Argentina but eventually came to Paraguay. He settled in the little town of Altos (5 km from my home, actually) and practiced medicine for a number of years as well as produced at least one Paraguayan son of his own.
Once it became common knowledge that he was here, I guess he felt the breath of Mossad kidnap squads getting closer, He went on a vacation to Brazil and supposedly drowned while swimming in a river there. Of course he was buried there. One of the local guys who worked with me for a while doing some construction/renovation at the house drove with me to Altos to get some construction supplies once. He pointed out Mengele’s house. A very old and very unhappy looking lady was sitting out front in a chair glaring at us as we slowed down to check the place out. My tour guide was a bit nervous with being noticed, which I thought was interesting.
I make it a habit now to drive by this house every time I go to Altos. Since it’s in the town square there is nothing outrageous about that but I’ve never seen another living soul there. I’ve read a few articles in various publications that talk about how once Mengele started practicing medicine, a practice which specialized in OB GYN of all things, there was an inordinate number of twins born in the local area. And of course there are “rumors” that many were blond haired/blue eyed, even though they were pure blooded Paraguayans. I don’t doubt he was here and the death in Brazil was faked. And even though his wife and son stayed in the Altos area, whether he came back here or not who knows, not me that’s for sure. But even today, this region of Altos and San Bernardino is crawling with German families who have been settling here since the late 1800s. I went to the local farmers market yesterday and had my fill of bratwurst, German pastries and saw all the German wares being sold–all the while hearing more German spoken than Spanish. The German roots run deep here in this region and through Paraguay but it sounds as if they don’t run as deep as they do in Argentina!
. . . see you next week.