DR JOSEF MENGELE
Dr Mengele was the notorious
Nazi war criminal who sent thousands of prisoners to their deaths in gas chambers, in Auschwitz and conducted horrific cruel experiments on hundreds of others.
Mengele had become the surviving
symbol of Hitlers Final Solution the incarnation of its monstrosity cool and detached and always immaculately prepared for
the long drawn out rituals of death, the hellish selections which the young SS doctor so regularly attended during his 21
months at the camp.
He was a slightly built man,
scarcely a hair out of place, his dark green tunic neatly pressed, his face well scrubbed, his Deaths Head SS cap tilted rakishly
to one side, remains vivid for those who survived his scrutiny. Polished boots slightly apart, his thumb resting on his pistol
belt, he surveyed his prey with those dead eyes. Death to his left, life to his right. Four hundred thousand souls, from babies
to old, are said to have been casually waved to the lefthand side with a flick of the cane clasped in a gloved hand. Mengele
was the chief provider for the gas chamber and their crematoria. He had the look of someone who said I am the power. At the
time, he was 32.
But he did come alive, a gentle
touch in his hands, especially when he found twins. These were treated as priceless objects. Within their bodies lay the secret
that Mengele was determined to unlock. Identical twins got their looks inherited, others were acquired by time and the environment.
This he reasoned meant that the population could be controlled and engineered to perfection.
Mengele conducted some of the
most horrendous experiments at Auschwitz. Children strapped to slabs of marble, their spines, eyes and inner organs probed,
injected, cut , often with unknown chemicals and without anaesthetic.
some children, he gave comfort and
On these occasions he is said
been gentle and soothing, going
ouT of his way not to inflict pain. But often
would slip and violent rages, when
disciplinary code was offended.
rational explanation and
acquired the reputation of
was born in Gunzburg on the banks of
Danube on March 16th, 1911.
three sons of Karl and Walburga
They owned a foundry in
and still dominates it today. A
his parents and the two younger
in the centre in Karl Mengele
didnt want to go into the family
so studied and passed his
1930 to study Anthropology and
and to become a
He spent many hours on hospital
trained but he wanted to go
genetics. In 1937 after a
he was appointedresearch
at the Third Reich Institute for
Biology and Racial Purity at
the University of Frankfurt.
This would change his life. He joined the staff at of Europes foremost geneticists, Professor Otmar Freiherr van Verschuer,
who devoted much of his time to twin research.
The Professor influenced
Mengeles appointment to Auschwitz and funded his experiments. In May 1937, Mengele joined the Nazi Party, No 5574974 and as
a paid up member and with Verchuar behind him, he rose quickly within the Nazi academic hierarchy.
As he had made a powerful
contracts, he decided he wanted to join the SS. After making sure through 4 generations of his family that no Jewish blood
was there, he was accepted.
In 1938, he got his
degree and could freely practice medicine. He was pleased when war broke out in 1939 and in 1941 in the Ukraine he was awarded
the Iron Cross Second Class.
After he was transferred
to Berlin, he was promoted to rank of Haupsturnfuhrer (captain). In 1943 the posting came. By the end of May he arrived at
a vast barbed-wire enclosure in a swampy valley, an hour out of Kracow in Southern Poland. This was Auschwitz or to the Germans,
who loved to abbreviate everything, the KZ shorthand for Konzentratianlager or Concentration camp.