BERLIN, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Wanted Nazi war criminal Dr Aribert Heim, thought until recently by some to be still alive, died in Cairo in 1992 after converting to Islam, German television station ZDF said on Wednesday.
The state-run broadcaster said that in a joint investigation with the New York Times, it had discovered Heim spent nearly 30 years in Cairo, having become a Muslim in the early 1980s and assumed the name Tarek Farid Hussein.
Heim, nicknamed "Dr Death" for killing hundreds of inmates at Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria with injections of toxins to the heart, has been missing since evading West German police in 1962 as they prepared to prosecute him.
An Austrian doctor with Adolf Hitler's infamous SS, Heim is said to have removed organs from victims without anaesthetic. He kept the skull of a man he decapitated as a paperweight.
ZDF said Heim had died of cancer of the rectum on Aug. 10, 1992, when he would have been 78.
"On the day after the end of the (Barcelona) Olympics, on August 10, he went to sleep," Heim's son Ruediger told ZDF.
In footage from a documentary due to be aired on Thursday evening ZDF showed Ruediger Heim admitting that his father had spent years in Cairo. He had lived there as Ferdinand Heim, using his second name, the report said.
Excerpts broadcast on Wednesday showed investigators talking to people who knew Heim in Cairo, and photographs of him attached to official documents in Arabic.
The investigation obtained over a hundred documents which Heim had kept in his Cairo hotel room, the report said.
Heim was captured by U.S. forces near the end of World War Two but released in late 1947. He practiced as a doctor in West Germany until coming to the attention of war crimes investigators.
In Cairo, he was funded by money transferred at irregular intervals by his sister, ZDF said. The funds were drawn from a rented property in Berlin that belonged to Heim.
Reports have periodically surfaced in recent years about the supposed whereabouts of Heim. The Simon Wiesenthal Center said last year he could be hiding in southern Chile.
ZDF said Heim's friends and colleagues in Egypt had been unaware of his past. According to them, he asked for his body to be donated to medical research at his death.
But ZDF said this did not happen, for religious reasons. It is believed Heim's body was buried in a pauper's cemetery near Cairo's old town, the broadcaster said. Such graves are freed up again after a few years, so the chances of finding his remains are slight, it added.
Details of the investigation are published in the New York Times' Thursday edition and in the documentary to be broadcast on ZDF on Thursday at 2000 GMT called "Most Wanted Nazi -- Das Geheimnis des Dr Tod" (The secret of Dr Death).
Details in German can be found at:
Writing by Dave Graham; editing by Andrew Roche
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