Josef Mengele: The “angel Of Death”

The first people transported to Auschwitz arrived in the summer of 1940. About 3 years later, Josef Mengele arrived at the camp on May 30, 1943. When he first arrived, he was the medical officer in charge of the “gypsy camp”. Merely 3 weeks later, he became the Chief Camp Physician at Auschwitz. Although he wasn’t the only doctor there, he was the main one due to his experiments. Mengele also was often called the “Angel of Death” or the “White Angel” due to his harsh choices on the selection ramp.

Josef Mengele was born on March 16, 1911, in Günzburg, Germany, which is just outside of Ulm. He was the firstborn of three sons to Karl and Walburga Mengele. His father was an industrialist and he owned a farming manufacturing plant. His mom was the one who was feared. Her temper was horrible and would constantly verbally abuse the factory workers whenever she would attend it. Her mother forced the whole family to be strictly Catholic. Even Josef Mengele himself said that he didn’t believe his mother was capable of truly loving. Josef was typically regarded as a pleasant child despite being constantly bombarded by his rage-filled mother. When people saw young Josef they would never be able to guess that he would do these horrible acts when he was an adult. There must be some reason to believe that his mother left a large mark on him when he was young. According to his teachers, he was also a good student in school. As he grew up, he developed into an established man who was very bright. Josef’s dad wanted him to work at his job and his own factory but Josef wanted to do more and work in science and anthropology. Some people prefer to stay in their towns when they grow up but Josef didn’t. He wanted to leave Gunzburg and go to university. He was luckily accepted into the University of Munich and he decided to major in Philosophy and Medicine. In that time, Munich was the center of the Nazi party and where it started to grow and spread. The leader of the Nazis at the time was Adolf Hitler who Josef seemed to like and he took the side of the Nazi party.

Once Josef’s university time was over, he later joined a nationalistic organization in 1931. The group’s beliefs were similar to the Nazi’s beliefs too. At the same time, he began to show an interest in human genetics. Mengele began to try and make himself known and wanted to prove himself as a distinguished scientific researcher. Around this time, Mengele started to go to lectures by Dr. Ernest Rudin. Dr. Rudin believed that some lives were not worthy to be lived and some doctors should be able to destroy the lives they deemed unworthy. Rudin was assigned personally by Hitler to work for the Law for the Protection of Heredity Health. Once Germany was completely being controlled by the Nazi party, Rudin was key on the sterilization of people was disabilities or gene abnormalities like being blind, deaf, and more. Mengele had a kidney ailment which left him out of work for a while and gave him time to focus on more schoolings, and he then earned a Ph.D. Josef worked as an assistant to Professor Otmar Freiherr Von Vershuer in 1937. Von Vershuer was very close to Hitler and Mengele gained respect from Von Vershuer and he acted as a father to still young Mengele. He soon became a member of the SS and gained all this respect by the still very young age of 28 and had his medical degree too. In 1939, Josef married a woman named Irene. In 1940, the war broke out and he was a soldier but couldn’t return to combat due to wounds he received. Soon after, he joined the medical division of Waiffen 55’s Viking (USHMM).

In 1943, Josef Mengele was assigned to go to Auschwitz, a concentration camp known for killing a very high number of Jewish people. His role at the camp was to perform experiments on human genetics, which he did but in a way that is very inhumane and brought even more suffering to the victims than just the camp itself. He was shown to be a ruthless killer and didn’t think of the Jewish people as good enough to live, he thought it was his job to exterminate them. The Jewish people were looked at as just specimens, not actual humans. He had to power to do whatever he wanted with these people and could decide whether you lived, died, or suffered on the spot. His main focus was experimenting on twins. For some reason, they fascinated him. Between 1943 and 1944, he held experiments on about 1500 sets of twins. Of the overall 3000 people who he went through, only about 200 of them survived. On one person, he did operations that left him paralyzed, and he took out his sexual organs. After a couple more visits to Dr. Mengele, they didn’t see much of this man anymore. Another time, Mengele sewed two gypsy twins together to try and make them into siamese twins. It obviously didn’t work and caused them to have major infections and they, of course, died later on. Dr. Mengele was also very interested in eye color and on multiple occasions, tried to switch patients’ eye color by injecting chemicals into their eyes. Mengele was ruthless with his experiments and although his twins were being treated better than most of his other patients, they were still living in a nightmare. Sometimes, if the children weren’t tall enough, they would be sent to be killed right away. On one occasion, they impregnated a woman with the sperm of a twin and when the baby was born and it there was only one, he ordered the woman and the baby to be killed. All of this was done without any painkillers or being put to sleep. Imagine someone cutting off your limbs and you experience all of the pain.

After the end of the war, Mengele became a fugitive and escaped to South America. His family was constantly being hunted but they still live comfortably. Josef Mengele died while swimming when he suffered a stroke and drowned. Before he died, he sent all of his research to his old partner and mentor, Von Vershuer, but the work was accidentally destroyed and has never been found.  

16 December 2021
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