When they opened the door to our cattle car, our mother became very frightened, Stay with me, children, she told us, refusing to let go of our hands. But hen some prisoners told her in Yiddish, Tell them you have twins. There is a Dr. Mengele here who wants twins. (Hedvah & Leah Stern)
As I clutched my mother’s hand, an SS man hurried by shouting, Twins, twins! He stopped to look at us. Miriam and I looked very much alike. We were wearing similar clothes. Are they twins? he asked my mother. Is that good? replied my mother. He nodded yes. They are twins, she said. (Eva Mozes)
Josef Mengele had a strange fascination with twins, and spent much of his time at Auschwitz studying the twins. Often times his findings or his experiments had very little justification and were conducted solely for Mengele’s pleasure. Mengele would systematically document measurements of the twins, often comparing them. He would also test the effects of various drugs and poisons on one twin and use the other twin as a ‘control’ group in order to make his experiments pseudo-scientific. After these experiments he would kill both of the twins in order to dissect and compare the bodies. Mengele even tried to sew together two children together in an attempt to create Siamese twins. The hands of the children became badly infected where the veins were sected together. These are just a few examples of the atrocities committed by Josef Mengele. Of over 1500 pairs of twins, only about 200 of these twins survived Mengele and the war. (Source Texts and Images above : The Holocault Online Organization)
A group of SS Officers has gathered in front of a building of the SS-Solahütte recreation home. The village, which is located about 30 kilometers south of Auschwitz, was very popular with concentration camp supervisors. From the left : SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Kramer, SS-KZ Dr Josef Mengele, SS-Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Höss, Camp Auschwitz Commander, Richard Baer, his adjutant Karl Höcker and a stranger. The picture comes from the private photo album Höcker. (I am not sure about this caption)
In 1935, Mengele earned a PhD in anthropology from the University of Munich. In January 1937, at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt, he became the assistant to Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a scientist conducting genetics research, with a particular interest in twins. As an assistant to von Verschuer, Mengele focused on the genetic factors resulting in a cleft lip and palate or cleft chin. His thesis on the subject earned him a doctorate in medicine in 1938. Both of his degrees were later rescinded by the issuing universities.
In a letter of recommendation, von Verschuer praised Mengele’s reliability and his ability to verbally present complex material in a clear manner. The American author Robert Jay Lifton notes that Mengele’s published works did not deviate much from the scientific mainstream of the time, and would probably have been viewed as valid scientific efforts even outside the borders of Nazi Germany.
US Department of Justice, Criminal Division
In the Matter of Josef Mengele
Report to the Attorney General
United States of America
Exhibits Prepared by : Office of Special Investigations Criminal Division, Neal M. Sher Director, Eli M. Rosenbaum Principal Deputy Director
Josef Mengele was an SS physician, infamous for his inhumane medical experimentation upon concentration camp prisoners at Auschwitz. Born on March 16, 1911, in Günzburg, near Ulm, he was the eldest son of Karl Mengele, a prosperous manufacturer of farming implements. In 1935, Mengele earned a Ph.D. in physical anthropology from the University of Munich. In January 1937, at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt, he became the assistant of Dr Otmar von Verschuer, a leading scientific figure widely known for his research with twins. In 1937 Mengele joined the Nazi Party. The following year, the same year in which he received his medical degree, he joined the SS.
In June 1940, Mengele was drafted into the army, and thereafter volunteered into the medical service of the Combat Waffen-SS. Although documentation is scant and often contradictory regarding Mengele’s activities between this time and early 1943, it is clear that he first functioned as a medical expert for the Race and Settlement Main Office [Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt, or RuSHA] in summer 1940 at the Central Immigration Office [Einwandererstelle] North-East in Posen (today Poznan) and thereafter served as a medical officer with the SS Division Wiking (SS Pioneer Battalion V), with which he saw action on the Eastern Front. Wounded while on campaign, Mengele returned to Germany in January 1943, and began work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (KWI) for Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics, directed by his former mentor von Verschuer. In April of 1943, he received a promotion to the rank of SS captain; this advancement shortly preceded Mengele’s transfer to Auschwitz, on May 30, 1943.
As a requisite feature of their rounds, medical staff performed selections of prisoners on the ramp, determining from among the mass of humanity arriving at Auschwitz who would be retained for work and who would perish immediately in the gas chambers. Known as the Angel of Death, or sometimes as the White Angel, for his coldly cruel demeanor on the ramp, Mengele is associated more closely with this selection duty than any other medical officer at Auschwitz, although by most accounts he performed this task no more often than any of his colleagues. Undoubtedly, this association is partially explained by his postwar notoriety, but the ubiquitous image of Mengele at the ramp in so many survivors’ accounts has also to do with the fact that Mengele often appeared off-duty in the selection area whenever trainloads of new prisoners arrived at Auschwitz, searching for twins.
Mengele had become interested in utilizing twins for medical research through Verschuer, famous for experimenting with identical and fraternal twins in order to trace the genetic origins of various diseases. During the 1930s, twin research was seen as an ideal tool in weighing the variant factors of human heredity and environment. Mengele, with his mentor, had performed a number of legitimate research protocols using twins as test subjects throughout the 1930s. Now, at Auschwitz, with full license to maim or kill his subjects, Mengele performed a broad range of agonizing and often lethal experiments with Jewish and Roma (Gypsy) twins, most of them children. He had a wide variety of other research interests, including a fascination with heterochromia, a condition in which an individual’s two irises differ in coloration. Throughout his stay in Auschwitz, Mengele collected the eyes of his murdered victims, in part to furnish research material to colleague Karin Magnussen, a KWI researcher of eye pigmentation. He himself also conducted several experiments in an attempt to unlock the secret of artificially changing eye color. Less famously, he zealously documented in camp inmates the progression of the disease Noma, a type of gangrene which destroys the mucous membrane of the mouth and other tissues.
IN THE MATTER OF JOSEF MENGELE – LIST OF DOCUMENTS
Warrant for Arrest
Establishment of DOA Task Force
Memo of Understanding re : Search of Army Intelligence Records
Map of Mengele’s Movements
List of German Nationals Detained
List of Josef Mengeles Documents Related to No Man’s Land
Photograph of Schauenstein
Discharge Directives 1-6
Vilagossaci, December 31, 1946
Der Neue Weg, December 15, 1946
JTS Dispatch, January 5, 1947
Mahnruf, January 31, 1947
Taylor Letter, January 19, 1948
Automatic Arrest Categories
CIC Card on Mengele
Doctors’ Trial Indictment
List of Auschwitz War Criminals Extradited to Poland
Muench Wanted Report
International Red Cross Travel Document
List of Historical Witnesses (Deceased)
List of Historical Witnesses (Interviewed)
Preliminary Forensic Report, June 21, 1985
Josef Mengele’s SS File
Forensic Report on SS File
Comparison of Photographs
Letter describing Mengele’s death
Forensic Reports on Documents
The Ortner Report
Mengele’s School Records
Forensic Report, dated November 6, 1986
FBI Letter Concerning DNA
DNA Analysis, March 12, 1992, by Professor Alec J. Jeffreys and Dr. Erika Hagelberg, with transmittal letter and press statement of the Frankfurt Prosecutor’s Office
Report of Brazilian Police Special Agent Erich Erdstein [n.d. 1968), released by the Parana state government on July 24, 1991
State Court – Frankfurt am Main, 22nd Criminal Division 19 January 1981 (22) 50/4 Js 340/68
Warrant for Arrest Against Josef Mengele
In the years 1940 to 1945 the former National Socialist Government of the German Reich operated a concentration camp with several additional camps within the city limits of the town Oswiecim in occupied Poland in the area of Upper Silesia; for a time the concentration camp was divided into three camps that were independently administered and designated as Auschwitz I to Auschwitz III. Among other functions the camp Auschwitz served as extermination camp. In the camp countless people were killed who, according to the National Socialist conception at that time, were considered inferior, in particu1arJews, Slays and Gypsies. The extermination on a massive scale took place mainly in the camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, and specifically in such manner that, under the pretext of a shower, the people destined to die were brought into specially prepared chambers where they were suffocated in a very painful way through hydro-cyanic acid fumes of the poison gas compound Zyclon B. The execution of these measures as well as the command and the guarding of the camp devolved on the Schutzstaffel (SS), a military organization of the National Socialist German Labor Party. As a rule, only the ones unfit to work were destined to die through gassing. The ones persecuted on racial and political grounds who appeared fit to work were forced to work in the camp as well as at construction sites and in businesses in the surrounding area, sometimes under inhuman conditions.
The suspect Mengele, as an SS Hauptsturmfuehrer [Captain) and SS camp physician, is charged with having killed, deported and imprisoned people of the concentration camp Auschwitz on account of their race, sometimes in a sadistic and bestial way, motivated by pleasure in killing and by arrogance towards Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and other groups of people he considered inferior. On the basis of knowledge obtained through the judicial preliminary investigations, he is accused of the following detailed charges :
001 The suspect Josef Mengele is strongly suspected of having cooperated, as SS camp physician, in the massive extermination of Jewish people, and specifically in such manner that, at the arrival of the so-called RSHA [Reich Security Main Office] transports in the concentration camp Auschwitz, he, together with SS officers of the camp command and other SS physicians, sorted out on the railway platform the children, the elderly and the senile people, those who were ill, incapacitated and weak, and women who were discernibly pregnant, as not fit to work, destining them to a very painful death by suffocation through hydro-cyanic acid fumes in the gas chambers of the extermination camp; and further by supervising at the gas chambers when men of the medical ranks of the SS threw the granulated hydro-cyanic acid compound Zyclon B through the funnels into the chambers in which the people destined to die stood closely packed together, or by throwing in the compound himself.
11. On 8 September 1943 or 8 March 1944 at a transport at which he destined to death through gassing, among others, the mother of the female witness Springer; 12. At the beginning of April 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Erzsebet Gardonyi arrived (approximately 800 people were gassed); 13. In April 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which, the female witness Friedmann arrived; 14. At the end of April 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Athasz arrived; 15. At the end of April 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Doctor Rozolia Faludi arrived; 16. At the end of April 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Szegoe arrived; 17. On 30 April 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Magdolna Frank arrived, at which he, with the help of an interpreter, summoned those who felt ill, tired or weak, to mount trucks by which these persons were then driven to the gas chambers; 18. On 30 April 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Weis arrived; 19. On (29 April or) 1 May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Drancy with which the female witness Elina-Fruffy arrived; 20. On 2 May 1944 at a transport of Hungarian and Yugoslav Jews with which the female witness Strakova arrived.
25. In May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary where he destined to death by gassing approximately 1000 people, among whom the wife and three children of the witness Fried; 26. In May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Veronika Lengyel arrived, at which he, together with other SS physicians, destined to death by gassing approximately 1000 to 1500 people; 27.On 20 May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the witnesses Magdolina Gardonyi, Moskovits, Weiner, Feif and her twin brother arrived (58 women and 34 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, approximately 1000 persons were gassed); 28. On 21 May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the daughter of the female witness Brandl; 29. On 21 May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the witness Rubin arrived; 30. On 22 May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Fabian arrived.
35. At the end of May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the parents and the brother of the female witness Somogyi; 36. At the end of May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing approximately 1000 people, among whom the mother and the 12 year old brother of the witness Hegayljai; 37. On 31 May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the witness Bergmann arrived (1000 women and 1000 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, an unknown number of persons were gassed); 38. On 1 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witnesses Adler, Ben Shlomo, Czengeri, Koppel, Kraemer, Pasternak and Weissmann arrived (26 Jewish women were admitted to the camp as fit to work, an unknown number of persons were gassed); 39. On 2 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Drancy with which the female witness Garon arrived (134 women and 239 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, 624 persons were gassed); 40. On 2 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Rosenbaum arrived.
55. The end of June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the grand parents, aunt, sister-in-law, niece and cousin of the female witness Doctor Denes; 56. The end of June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Jammik arrived; 57. The beginning of July 1944, together with the SS physician Doctor of Medicine Koenig, at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which they destined to death by gassing approximately 1500 people among whom the parents and the grandmother of the female witnesses Agnès and Judith Havas; 58. On 4 July 1944 at a RSHA transport from Drancy with which the female witness Bloch arrived (223 women and an unknown number of men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, 406 persons were gassed); 59. On 8 July 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the grand parents and other relatives of the female witness Peter; 60. On 10 July 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which female witness Magdolna Szabo arrived (four women and an unknown number of men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, approximately 1000 people were gassed).
61. The middle of July 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the mother and the brother Pal of the witnesses Antal and Jozsef Brodt; 62. On 25 July 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Stern arrived; 63. On 25 or 26 July 1944 at a transport at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the father of the witness Joseph Frankiel and a two-year-old child; 64. On 31 July 1944 at a RSHA transport from the ghetto Blizyn with which the witness Margulis arrived (822 women and 1614 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, around 500 persons were gassed); 65. The middle of July – the beginning Of August 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he, together with the SS physician Doctor of Medicine Koenig, destined to death by gassing an estimated more than 1000 people, among whom several relatives of the female witnesses Olga Kovacs and Lenke Szabo.
66. In July-August 1944 at a RSHA transport from Litzmannstadt [Lodz] at which it came to an incident on the platform during which Mengele shot a mother, who did not want to be separated from her approximately thirteen-year-old daughter, together with the daughter; this induced Mengele out of rage over the incident to destine to death by gassing after all the deported people who had already been selected as fit to work; 67. In August (1943 or) 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing the mother of the witness Kun; 68. On 3 August 1944 at a RSHA transport from Drancy, with which the female witness Jacubert arrived (291 men and 283 women were admitted to the camp as fit to work, 560 persons were exterminated, among whom allegedly about 300 children were burned to death alive in the crematory by order of Mengele; 69. On 8 August 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Kemeny arrived (1414 women and an unknown number of men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, an unknown number of people were gassed; 70. In August 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing approximately 500 to 600 people among whom the aunt of the female witness Bojtar.
71. In August 1944 at a transport from Sered with which the female witness Laks arrived; 72. In August/September 1944 at a RSHA transport from Litzmannstadt (Lodz) at which he allegedly shot a child of the sister of the female witness Horowitz before her eyes; 73. On 5 September 1944 at a RSHA transport from Westerbork, Netherlands which arrived the female witnesses Boeken, Jansen and De Winter as well as Anne Frank, who died in March 1945 in the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, and her mother and sister (212 women and 258 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, 549 persons were gassed); 74. On 3 November 1944 at a RSHA transport from Sered with which the witness Dianont arrived (509 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, 481 men were gassed).
003 : The suspect Josef Mengele is strongly suspected of having participated actively and decisively, as SS camp physician, in the so-called camp selections and selections in the barracks for ill prisoners; during these selections he singled out those prisoners who, since their arrival in the camp, had become unable to work because of hunger, privation, exploitation of labor force, illnesses, epidemics, maltreatment or because of other reasons and whose immediate recovery could not be expected, but also those prisoners who had contagious or merely unpleasant illnesses – for instance skin rashes, some to be killed by injections or by shooting, some to be killed by very painful suffocation through hydro-cyanic acid fumes in the gas chambers, in order to make room in the camp for prisoners who were able to work.
In numerous cases, he allegedly personally killed those prisoners who had been selected by him or other SS physicians in the above described way, by injecting phenol, gasoline, Evipan (a sleeping drug and anesthia), chloroform, air or other substances into the blood stream, especially into the heart chamber, sometimes under the pretext and semblance of a treatment, or he allegedly ordered and supervised the killing of these prisoners by men of the SS medical ranks; sometimes also, in cases of camp and medical barracks selections, he allegedly supervised men of the SS medical ranks at the gas chambers as they threw the granulated hydro-cyanic acid compound Cyclon B through the funnels into the chambers in which the people destined to die stood closely packed together, or himself threw the compound in. Because of their everyday occurrence and their uniformity, the number and scope of these camp and medical barracks selections carried out by the suspect MENGELE, can be ascertained with as little precision as the number of people killed. Nonetheless, at least the following cases can be established concretely :
Already before this in the nursery of the Gypsy Camp, 17 pairs of twins and 12 handicapped children from the Gypsy Camp had allegedly been killed by the suspect Mengele himself or on his orders and immediately afterwards dissected by him in the crematory. 18.In August 1944 he allegedly, among other selections, made a selection in the camp section B II a in Birkenau. 19. In 1944, for a time, he allegedly carried out almost daily selections in the prisoners medical barrack 12, as well as in block 24 of the women’s concentration camp at Birkenau. One of the ways he allegedly expressed his contempt for Jews especially painful for them was to carry out selections on their highest holy days. Thus he allegedly. 20. selected Jewish children on the Friday before the Jewish New Year celebration of 1944 in the camp section B II e in Birkenau.
25. In October 1944 he allegedly sent all occupants, without exception, of the medical block 28, situated near the “twin block” in Birkenau, to be killed by gassing; 26. On 13 October 1944 he allegedly destined to be gassed 170 women from the prisoner’s medical block 22 in the women’s concentration camp in Birkenau; 27. At a selection among Jews who had arrived the day before from Plaszow, on 23 October 1944, he allegedly singled out at least 235 people to be exterminated; 28. At another selection on 23 October 1944, in the women’s concentration camp at Birkenau, he allegedly removed the female witness Fabrykant, who had already been singled out to be killed, from the group of Jews who were destined to die, but took away her child and sent it with the other Jews to the gas chambers; 29. In the year 1944, for a time, he allegedly carried out almost daily selections at roll calls in the camp section B I a in Birkenau. In addition to the central camp Auschwitz and at the Birkenau camp, he allegedly also made selections; 30. in the Buna-Monowitz camp while prisoners were marching off to work. 31. in the medical block for prisoners in the Fuerstengrube sub camp.