Joesph Mengele Essay, Research Paper
Joseph Mengele and his Atrocities
Three thousand twins entered Auschwitz between 1940 and 1944. Only two hundred and fifty pairs of twins ever had the smell of freedom again. Why did this unfortunate event occur? It occurred because the Nazis party was in control and Adolf Hitler was the Fuhrer and he wanted a perfect race. “Right, left”, what kind of a man could send people to their death with a flick of a cane, without one scent of remorse or one inkling of guilt? -his name was Josef Mengele. (Nazi304) Hitler gave Mengele all the resources he could and this is the main reason why he went to Auschwitz, because the of the availability of the victims he could do his work on. The stories and pictures of Auschwitz tell a gruesome tale of death and torture. Josef Mengele performed horrific experiments on twins, justified by official Nazis party policies to try and create the “perfect human being”. To this day, he serves as a warning signal of the evil, man is capable of doing by trying to do good for one’s own race with the exclusion of others.
Josef Mengele was born March 16, 1911 in Gunzburg, Germany and his parents were Karl (1881-1959) and Walburga (?-1946) Mengele. He had two younger brothers; Karl (1912-1949 and Alois (1914-1974). He had several nicknames, one of them being Beppo. He was a bright and cheerful child in his early days. (Mengele32) He was full of ambition and had high hopes for his future. In 1930 he graduated from the Gymnasium and in 1935 he was awarded a PhD from the University of Munich. In 1937 he was appointed a research assistant at the Third Reich Institute for Heredity, Biology, and Racial Purity at the University of Frankfurt; worked with Professor Otmar Freiherr von Vershuer. (Mengele54) In May 1938 he joined the SS (Schutzstapple – elite unit which protected Hitler and his important dignitaries) and in 1940 he joined the medical corps (Sanitatsinspektion) of the Waffen SS. (an actual army unit that fights on the front lines made up of the SS – they were very widely feared) (grandparents2) In July 1939 Mengele married Irene Schoenbein. Although Mengele may have been considered evil, in January 1942 he earned a Iron Cross second class and he also earned an Iron Cross first class by pulling two of his fallen comrades out of a burning tank while under enemy fire. He also earned a Black Badge for the Wounded and the Medal for the Care of the German People; wounded. At the end of 1942 he was promoted to the rank of Haupsturmfuhrer (equivalent to captain). (Mengele 101) He arrived at Auschwitz May 30, 1943 where he conducted racial based experiments on twins, dwarfs, giants and some of the other abnormal races that were not fit to live, because of their lack of normal human characteristics. During his stay at Auschwitz he was nicknamed the “Angel of Death.” When the trains arrived at Auschwitz they would sit i the cars for days before being herded out like cattle. After this hellish journey, the first thing that people saw when they left the cars was Josef Mengele, the Angel of Auschwitz standing in his immaculate SS uniform, shining boots, perfectly brushed and pressed shirt and pants, and glistening silver skulls.(Mengele156) He would perch there and would yell “left!” or “right!”, left meaning a quick end as you headed to the gas chambers and right meant you were placed on a starvation diet and had to work as a slave. During this time in Auschwitz his first and only son, Rolf, was born on March 11, 1944. His moment of happiness in Auschwitz (his perverse perception of happiness) was short lived. In the middle of January in 1945 he fled Auschwitz and went to Grossen- Rosen camp. He then fled before the Russians liberated it on February 11, 1945. After fleeing Grossen-Rosen he was captured as a prisoner of war and held in a POW camp in Munich. He stole some papers from a fellow prisoner and the American Army released him not realizing he was part of the SS. During his life on the run he went under several aliases, these include; Fritz Ulmann, Fritz Hollmann, Helmut Gregor, G. Helmuth, Jose Mengele, Ludwig Gregor, and Wolfgang Gerhard. (Mengele196) In 1949 he escaped to Argentina then in 1954 he divorced from his wife Irene and later in 1958 married his brother, Karl’s, widow – Martha Mengele. On June 7, 1959 West Germany issued its first arrest warrant for Josef Mengele. After the arrest warrant the Universities of Frankfurt and Munich withdrew his academic degrees. There had always been a strong Nazi presence in South America, so with funds from his family, he went off the Argentina. Mengele lived with a farming family in Argentina for awhile, but Mengele was very scared of being caught, so between 1945 and 1979 Mangel moved to and from different countries in South America. There was a great hunt for the elusive Doctor Mangel, there were rewards, warrants, and even Nazi Hunters after him, but no one ever found him. (Mengele234)No one knew it when he died. Josef Mengele was living in Brazil with the Bossert family, when for the first time, he went out in the sun in a public place. Mengele was paranoid that he would be caught, so he often only went out at night. On January 7, 1979, the Bossert family persuaded him to go for a swim to ease his mind. He did, but while out at sea he had a stroke, Mengele’s body was paralyzed, and he started to drown. People managed to drag him out of the water, but it was too late, the infamous Doctor Mengele was dead. (Mengele278)
But the memory of his power driven experiments lived on. The people which were his specimens ha miserable existence – if they lived. Everyday in the life of a twin was a contest. A contest to keep Mengele happy so they could breathe another breath of day. Everyday, every twin had to have blood drawn. Blood, often in large quantities, was taken from their arms and fingers, and sometimes both their arms at the same time. (Auscwitz97) The youngest children often suffered the most because of their small appendages. Blood was also drawn from their necks, a painful and frightening procedure. It was estimated that approximately ten cubic centimetres of blood was drawn daily from a twin. Besides having their blood sample taken everyday, they were to undergo various medical experiments. Since Hitler wanted a blue eyed blond hair race this was the main driving force behind Mengele, therefore he would attempt to fabricate blue eyes by putting injections of bromethyl blue in them. These injections would often cause severe pain, infections, and temporary or permanent blindness. Along with injections into the eyes, Mengele would give the twins injections into the spine or spinal taps which would render a twin paralyzed. (Auscwitz161) He would give them typhus and tuberculosis, which would be given purposely to one twin and not the other. When one twin died he immediately kill the other to compare the effects. Mengele would also do operations without the use of anesthesia. He would do organ removals, he would castrate the children, and he would also perform amputations. In one particularly sickening operation, Mengele tried to sew one twin to another in attempt to create a Siamese twin. When his surgeries became erratic and Mengele killed his patients by accident or on purpose he would immediately get his prisoner pathologist, Dr Miklos Nyiszli, a Jew, to perform the autopsies which would be the final experiment. Mengele’s favourite method of killing a twin was an injection of chloroform or phenol to the heart which caused blood coagulation and the inevitable – death. Besides just running experiments on twins, he would be found conducting important experiments on any living person that seemed deeming. People were placed in vats of ice water, stark naked, to see the fatal freezing temperature of a human. People were also locked outside in the snow and ice, naked, to collect more information on human body temperature. These two experiments were done because they were trying to develop better equipment for German soldiers, better gear for cold and high altitudes. (Auschwitz184) Aside from this the experiments were also performed to produce better clothing for the sailors in the German Navy (kriegsmarine) who might unfortunately find themselves in the frigid water. Another particularly frightening experiment was putting a test subject in a pressure chamber that simulated the altitudes that planes would fly at. The subjects breathing pattern was recorded impeccably until their lungs ruptured.
Eugenics is a science concerned with improving a breed or species, especially the human species, by such means as influencing or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have desirable genetic traits. (Webster’s Dictionary) Most of Mengele’s work was pushed by Adolf Hitler and his obsession with blue eyed blond haired person – one which they were trying to create. Along with this obsession of Hitlers’ eugenics played an important role as the fuel for Mengle’s experiments. Eu – meaning ‘true’ or ‘noble’ or ‘well’ and ‘genics’ meaning ’seed’ or ‘inherited material’ or ‘born’: so basically eugenics means ‘of noble birth or the true seed or well born’; in line with Charles Darwin’s definition, eugenics is the self direction of human evolution which is precisely where Mengele’s enthusiasm lay. Another definition of Eugenics is “The science of Human Improvement by better breeding,” quoted by Francis Galton. (www.eugenics……) The main idea of eugenics is the control or elimination of people who do not have favourable genetic traits. The ‘unfavourable’ traits that Mengele did not want were exhibited by the Jews. Their dark colouring was unfavourable compared to that of a human with blue eyes and blond hair. (eugenics145) All eugenicist know that favourable traits are a result of the genes of the mother and the father and the environment which the subject lived in. Josef Mengel thought otherwise, he thought only Jews and Gypsies would get face gangrene (a disease which consumed the flesh off of a persons face) but in fact the reason was because of a bacterial infection. A lot of Mengele’s experiments had no scientific derivation, he just did them to do them. When people questioned his motives he just shook his head and brushed them off while walking away. (nazi66) People argue that eugenics is a false science, it is about the selective prevention or encouragement of births for social, racial, or political ends. Adolf Hitler used eugenics to create a war. (www.eugenics) He thought the Jews were the route of all evil and therefore commenced to create concentration camps were thousands of Jews were executed, along with other races. Josef, seeing the logic in Hitler’s statements, commenced to try and create the ’super race’.
Auschwitz was Mengele’s home, his house, his place to carry out his evil intentions. Auschwitz was the most streamlined mass killing centre created and was one of the five “death camps” constructed by the Nazis. This is were Mengele would attempt to create an Aryan race, a race with impeccable features. Auschwitz was constructed on April 27, 1940. Auschwitz was composed of three large camps and forty-five mini-camps. At the entrance of the original Auschwitz stood the infamous sign that stated “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work makes one free). (Auschwitz105) Because of the increased number of prisoners Auschwitz II was built, Birkenau. This was the greatest feared place because this is were all of the executions took place. At Auschwitz Josef Mengele directed the flow of traffic to die or work. He would immediately stop everything if he spied a set of twins. Often, though, twins would volunteer themselves, figuring it was better to be with Mengele then die in a chamber. Unfortunately at Auschwitz the Nazis had perfected the use of gas chambers and crematoria, along with being a laboratory for Josef Mengele. Today the word “Auschwitz” is synotmous with evil and terror. One point one million people die in Auschwitz, a large percent due to Mengele. This number is comparable to one third of Los Angeles being murdered. (flames304)
Josef Mengele performed horrific experiments on twins, justified by official Nazis party policies to try and create the “perfect human being”. To this day, he serves as a warning signal of the evil man is capable of doing by trying to do good for one’s own race with the exclusion of others. In some ways Mengel was a mythological creature, he would suddenly appear out of thin air, regardless it being day or night
to take tests on his subjects. Maybe he had the right idea but went about doing it the wrong way. Whatever he did wrong he was the symbol of the Nazis, evil, lurking, and always there. (Mengele 450)