Hello dearies , today we are going to talk about one of the most notorious nazi doctors that has ever existed and his name is Josef Mengele . This wont be the first time I talk about crazy doctors or the holocaust or other books I’ve read , so if that is something that you might find interesting do subscribe for more posts.
I will be talking about his life story ,personality and motivations, not because I praise this man but because I feel like not everyone knows who he was , a man who was once considered the angel of death, It’s important to always remember stories like this , stories that somehow shaped or had an impact in humanity, this post will be based on the book ” Mengele: The complete story ” by Gerald L. Posner and John ware with an introduction of Michael Berenbaum .
If you have read about the holocaust or maybe read ” Hitler’s ovens” by Olga Lengyel before you have an Idea of who he is . Olga Lengyel also takes part in this book , she talks a little about her coexistence with Mengele , I truly appreciate the book and I hope you do too, it’s almost 20 years of research a lot of effort was made to get more than 5000 pages of unrestricted and exclusive pages of personal writings and family photos ,which was a little difficult since after the world war II the nazis burnt so many archives that could be taken as evidence of the horror or crimes committed by them.
Josef Mengele was born in March 16th 1911, he was the oldest of three children of Walburga and Karl Mengele , Walburga and Karl’s first son was actually born dead making Josef the oldest . The family lived in Gunzburg, Bavaria, Germany. The Mengel’s were devoted catholics , Walburga forced them to be devoted , she was a woman feared by everyone , she had terrible temper and was as demanding to her husband as she was to everyone else, some would think that Josef’s demeanor had been affected by his mother wrath as he might describe her later ” As a woman incapable of loving “.
The Mengele’s accumulated riches in a very short period of time , Karl was a local industrialist who owned a local plant that manufactured farming equipment. Besides being very traditional the Mengel’s were well known and respected,Karl’s factory had more than 800 workers , meaning that he employed a lot of people which made him even more respectable . Since WWI broke out while the factory was already working Karl went out to war and left Walburga in charge of the company . While Walburga was in charge the company started seeing a huge growth in sales and profit , as Walburga was firm and would criticize the workers terribly , the workers were terrified by her so they worked in hopes that she wouldn’t become any harsher .
With the factory growth , the care she had ( if ever ) for her children reduced , Karl being at war and Walburga at the factory they had minimum to no time for their children . Mengele’s childhood was filled with negligence from his parents , he was basically raised by a nanny.
Family friends that were interviewed described the family as people who looked after respect over affection . They commented that it was unusual to find them talking about their children’s achievements or how they were doing at school , that was something that didn’t exist in their conversations it was always ” The factory ” or ” The war ” which had an influence in the growth of their children specially Josef who was the eldest . Despite is home life josef is remembered in Gunzburg as a pleasant child . While his parent’s believed that Josef would continue the family’s legacy , Josef always saw himself doing something better or ” greater” than that ( his words) , something that would make him known he said.
One of his friend even said ” Josef was always an ambitious man with the need to be known ,he wanted to reach fame by methods unrelated to the fame already accomplished by his own family , he even told me once that he would one day become a name in the encyclopedia “. Mengele was known as a gifted child , he was intelligent , smarter than his siblings and he always found himself among the first in the classroom but never the first and that frustrated him .
German lost the war in 1918 and that left a despair in the population especially the industrialists where the idea of anti communism rose each day and the factories started then to support and finance Nazi parties, parties whose greater aim was to combat the communism . Hitler had less financers from the populations until he got all the finance support that he needed from a company that was situated in the south of Germany and yes It was Karl Mengele’s company .
In 1930 , Josef moved to Munich to major in Medicine and Philosophy and Munich at the time was the growing Nazi’s Socialist party headquarters , and it was there in Munich where Hitler found people that praised him everytime he criticised the Jewish politicians in Berlin, since they were humiliated in the first world war. He would flame the ultra nationalist and would refer a new German empire but in order for this empire to happen his Nazi party needed to handle the ” jewish plaque” . hitler sawMuniche as a place where he could gain German domination.
In 1931 Josef Mengele affiliated himself with nationalistic organization called “Stalhem or steel helmets” who shared the same views and beliefs as the Nazi’s. He also began to grow an interest in human genetics. His interests grew right at the time when a number of Germans were saying some people had unworthy life. He began making himself known. He began to strive in his efforts to distinguish himself to both gain renown and respect as a scientific researcher.
In 1934 Hitler ordered the SA to absorb Stalhelm Organization making Mengele a member of the SA. Later Mengele suffered from a kidney ailment. His condition forced him to drop out leaving him time and more time for his studies. He earned a PhD in physical anthropology in college.
Soon Hitler started his hunt for Jewish professors and any intellectual who didn’t share the same Nazi views . And everything intensified once Mengele earned his degree. Once he graduated he was then called to be the assistant of Dr.Otmar Von Verschuer at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt. Von Verschuer was an appraiser of Hitler’s and he was a leading scientific figure widely known for his research with twins. Mengele quickly began to strive for respect from Von Verschuer, which he quickly gained. Von Verschuer was like a father to Mengele. In return Mengele did everything to praise him. He soon became an official member of the S.S. By the age of 28 he had climbed to the position of great respect and power. In the same year he earned his medical degree.
SS ( schutzstaffel) was a major paramilitary organization under Hitler and the Nazi party , it started with a few man that were meant to be Hitler’s body guards , they were always around him to protect him etc , they are what we could denominate today Hitler’s Right arm if you must say , so this group of people grew to the point of becoming an organization ( SS) , which ended up becoming an organization with people that Hitler could blindly trust ( summarising). In the same period of time he married a woman called Irene , a few months after the WWII broke out Mengele was called by the German Armed forces , he received basic training in 1938 with the Gebirgsjäger (light infantry mountain troop) and was called up for service in the Wehrmacht (Nazi armed forces) in June 1940, he volunteered for medical service in the the Waffen-SS, the combat arm of the SS, where he served with the rank of SS-Untersturmführer (second lieutenant) in a medical reserve battalion until November 1940, he worked there with the German army but never forget his main goal/dream which was to prove what he already learned from his anthropology and hereditary studies and he wanted to use the prisoners as scapegoats . Mengele had a fascination with twins because he believed they held the mysteries of the passing of Aryan genetics.
In January of 1942, Mengele rescued two Germans from a burning tank and was awarded Iron Cross first Class and also the Black Badge for the Wounded and The Medal for the Care of the German People. He couldn’t return to battle because of his wounds, so he was posted at the Race and Resettlement Office in Berlin. , he was a warded the iron Cross Second Class medal on the Ukrainian front. Here he was also promoted to the rank of Captain.
In 1943 Mengele was called to his next assignment, a doctor in the Nazi controlled concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland, his work was funded through a grant given by von Verschuer. Mengele was the only doctor as Auschwitz to display his clothing and medals proudly. His impeccable uniform was always tailored perfectly. Only a few short days after he arrived, a typhus epidemic broke out in camp. Mengele ordered 1000 Gypsy men and women to the gas chambers without hesitation, but he spared the lives German Gypsies.
Mengele was one of the two only doctors who enjoyed the selection, whenever the prisoners would arrive atthe camp, Mengele would be there already waiting for them inclusively a lot of Nazi officers later in court stated that Mengele liked to be warned when the trains would arrive so he could wait minutes before .
With a hand signal he could determine who would go to the left ( Death) or to the right side (Life) , all prisoners that remember this moment they all say the same thing ” That Mengele’s expressions , he had a penetrative look, he was always inexpressive until you look into his eyes and you would notice that he cared about nothing , he was a sadistic man, and many were afraid of him even the SS officers”.
More than 400 000 souls were sent to the Left side with just a hand signal , this included , mothers, babies, grandmas, fathers , etc. The selected were killed through injections or through the gas chambers.
Mengele would get very excited when he found twins. The other SS officers who helped unload the transports had been given special instructions to find twins, dwarfs, giants, or anyone else with a unique hereditary trait like a club foot or heterochromia (each eye a different color).
Mengele was on the ramp not only during his selection duty but also when it was not his turn as a selector, to ensure twins would not be missed. While many twins were either announced or discovered, some sets of twins were successfully hidden and walked with their mothers into the gas chamber.
About 3,000 twins were pulled from the masses on the ramp, most of them children. Only around 200 of these twins survived. When the twins were found, they were taken away from their parents.
As the twins were led away to be processed, their parents and family stayed on the ramp and went through selection. Occasionally, if the twins were very young, Mengele would allow the mother to join her children to ensure their health.
The twins or other humans with different characteristics ( Mengele’s children) suffered differently from other prisoners as they would receive food and water frequently when the other prisoners wouldn’t , they were allowed to keep their hair and clothes, and after they were taken from their parents they would be taken for showers, they would get sweets and it was reported that at times Mengele would talk to them before he killed them , and that would happen because psychologically speaking he identified himself with some of his victims , manners, looks and wanted to make sure they were comfortable until the moment he would kill them .
Mengele’s experiment were considered the most gruesome of all holocaust,
The twins were then tattooed and given a number from a special sequence. They were then taken to the twins’ barracks where they were required to fill out a form. The form asked for a brief history and basic measurements, such as age and height. Many of the twins were too young to fill the form out by themselves, so the Zwillingsvater (twin’s father) helped them. This inmate was assigned to the job of taking care of the male twins.
Once the form was filled out, the twins were taken to Mengele. He asked them more questions and looked for any unusual traits.
Each morning, life for the twins began at 6 o’clock. The twins were required to report for roll call in front of their barracks, regardless of weather conditions. After roll call, they ate a small breakfast. Then each morning, Mengele would appear for an inspection.
Mengele’s presence did not necessarily cause fear in the children. He was often known to appear with pockets full of candy and chocolates, to pat them on the head, talk with them, and sometimes even play. Many of the children, especially the younger ones, called him “Uncle Mengele.”
The twins were given brief instruction in makeshift “classes” and were sometimes even allowed to play soccer. The children were not required to do hard work or labor. Twins were also spared from punishments, as well as from the frequent selections within the camp.
The twins had some of the best conditions of anyone at Auschwitz until the trucks came to take them to the experiments.
Generally, every twin had to have blood drawn every day.
Besides having blood drawn, the twins underwent various medical experiments. Mengele kept his exact reasoning for his experiments a secret. Many of the twins that he experimented on did not know the purpose of the experiments, or what exactly what was being injected into or otherwise done to them.
The experiments included:
- Measurements: The twins were forced to undress and lie next to each other. Then, every detail of their anatomy was carefully examined, studied, and measured. What was the same between the two was deemed to be hereditary, and what was different was deemed to be the result of the environment. These tests would last for several hours.
- Blood: The frequent blood tests and experiments included mass transfusions of blood from one twin to another.
- Eyes: In attempts to fabricate blue eye color, drops or injections of chemicals would be put in the eyes. This often caused severe pain, infections, and temporary or permanent blindness.
- Shots and Diseases: Mysterious injections caused severe pain. Injections into the spine and spinal taps were given with no anesthesia. Diseases, including typhus and tuberculosis, would be purposely given to one twin and not the other. When one died, the other was often killed to examine and compare the effects of the disease.
- Surgeries: Various surgeries were performed without anesthesia, including organ removal, castration, and amputation.
- Death:Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was Mengele’s prisoner pathologist. The autopsies became the final experiment. Nyiszli performed autopsies on twins who had died from the experiments or who had been purposely killed just for after-death measurements and examination. Some of the twins had been stabbed with a needle that pierced their heart and was then injected with chloroform or phenol, which caused near-immediate blood coagulation and death. Some of the organs, eyes, blood samples, and tissues would be sent to Verschuer for further study.
A lot of people that worked there , including Dr. Olga stated that whenever she would come into Mengele’s lab it seemed as if she was getting into a horror movie scene , you would find nailed human eyes on top of the table , and they all had different colours and he found that natural .