Zyklon B (Cyclone B) was the trade name of a cyanide-based pesticide invented in Germany in the early 1920s. It consisted of hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid), as well as a cautionary eye irritant and one of several adsorbents such as diatomaceous earth. The product is infamous for its use by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust to murder peoples in gas chambers installed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, and other extermination camps.
Hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration, was first used as a pesticide in California in the 1880s. Research at Degesch of Germany led to the development of Zyklon (later known as Zyklon A), a pesticide which released hydrogen cyanide upon exposure to water and heat. It was banned after a similar product was used by Germany as a chemical weapon in World War I. In 1922, Degesch was purchased by Degussa, where a team of chemists that included Walter Heerdt and Bruno Tesch developed a method of packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and one of several adsorbents such as diatomaceous earth. The new product was also named Zyklon, but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version. Uses included delousing clothing and fumigating ships, warehouses, and trains.
In early 1942, Zyklon B emerged as the preferred killing tool of Nazi Germany for use in extermination camps during the Holocaust. Around a million people were killed using this method, mostly at Auschwitz. Tesch was executed in 1946 for knowingly selling the product to the SS for use on humans. Hydrogen cyanide is now rarely used as a pesticide, but still has industrial applications. Firms in several countries continue to produce Zyklon B under alternative brand names, including Detia-Degesch, the successor to Degesch, who renamed the product Cyanosil in 1974.
Mode of action : Hydrogen cyanide is a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration. Cyanide prevents the cell from producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) by binding to one of the proteins involved in the electron transport chain. This protein, cytochrome c oxidase, contains several subunits and has ligands containing iron groups. The cyanide component of Zyklon B can bind at one of these iron groups, heme a3, forming a more stabilized compound through metal-to-ligand pi bonding. As a result of the formation of this new iron-cyanide complex, the electrons that would situate themselves on the heme a3 group can no longer do so. Instead, these electrons destabilize the compound; thus, the heme group no longer accepts them. Consequently, electron transport is halted, and cells can no longer produce the energy needed to synthesize ATP. In a human weighing 68 kilograms (150 lb), death occurs within two minutes of inhaling 70 mg of hydrogen cyanide.
History : Hydrogen cyanide, discovered in the late 18th century, was used in the 1880s for the fumigation of citrus trees in California. Its use spread to other countries for the fumigation of silos, goods wagons, ships, and mills. Its light weight and rapid dispersal meant its application had to take place under tents or in enclosed areas. Research by Fritz Haber of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry led to the founding in 1919 of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung mbH (Degesch), a state-controlled consortium formed to investigate military use of the chemical. Chemists at Degesch added a cautionary eye irritant to a less volatile cyanide compound which reacted with water in the presence of heat to become hydrogen cyanide. The new product was marketed as the pesticide Zyklon (cyclone). As a similar formula had been used as a weapon by the Germans during World War I, Zyklon was soon banned.
Deutsche Gold und Silber Scheideanstalt (German Gold and Silver Refinery; Degussa) became sole owners of Degesch in 1922. There, beginning in 1922, Walter de Heerdt, Bruno Tesch, and others worked on packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and adsorbent stabilizers such as diatomaceous earth. The new product was also labelled as Zyklon, but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version. Heerdt was named the inventor of Zyklon B in the Degesch patent application (number DE 438818) dated June 20 1922. The Deutsches Patent und Markenamt awarded the patent on December 27 1926. Beginning in the 1920s, Zyklon B was used at US Customs facilities along the Mexican border to fumigate the clothing of border crossers.
Corporate Structure and Marketing : In 1930, Degussa ceded 42.5 percent ownership of Degesch to IG Farben and 15 percent to Th. Goldschmidt AG, in exchange for the right to market pesticide products of those two companies through Degesch. Degussa retained managerial control. While Degesch owned the rights to the brand name Zyklon and the patent on the packaging system, the chemical formula was owned by Degussa. Schlempe GmbH, which was 52 percent owned by Degussa, owned the rights to a process to extract hydrogen cyanide from waste products of sugar beet processing. This process was performed under license by two companies, Dessauer Werke and Kaliwerke Kolin, who also combined the resulting hydrogen cyanide with stabilizer from IG Farben and a cautionary agent from Schering AG to form the final product, which was packaged using equipment, labels, and canisters provided by Degesch.
The finished goods were sent to Degesch, who forwarded the product to two companies that acted as distributors: Heerdt-Linger GmbH (Heli) of Frankfurt and Tesch & Stabenow (Testa) of Hamburg. Their territory was split along the Elbe river, with Heli handling clients to the west and south, and Testa those to the east. Degesch owned 51 percent of the shares of Heli, and until 1942 owned 55 percent of Testa.
Prior to World War II Degesch derived most of its Zyklon B profits from overseas sales, particularly in the United States, where it was produced under license by Roessler & Hasslacher prior to 1931 and by American Cyanamid from 1931 to 1943. From 1929, the United States Public Health Service used Zyklon B to fumigate freight trains and clothes of Mexican immigrants entering the United States. Uses in Germany included delousing clothing (often using a portable sealed chamber invented by Degesch in the 1930s) and fumigating ships, warehouses, and trains. By 1943, sales of Zyklon B accounted for 65 percent of Degesch’s sales revenue and 70 percent of its gross profits.
Holocaust : In early 1942, Zyklon B emerged as the preferred killing tool of Nazi Germany for use in extermination camps during the Holocaust. The chemical was used to kill roughly one million people in gas chambers installed in extermination camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek, and elsewhere. Most of the victims were Jews, and by far the majority killed using this method died at Auschwitz. Zyklon B was supplied to concentration camps at Mauthausen, Dachau, and Buchenwald by the distributor Heli, and to Auschwitz and Majdanek by Testa. Camps also occasionally bought Zyklon B directly from the manufacturers.
Of the 729 tonnes of Zyklon B sold in Germany in 1942–44, 56 tonnes (about 8 percent of domestic sales) were sold to concentration camps. Auschwitz received 23.8 tonnes, of which 6 tonnes were used for fumigation. The remainder was used in the gas chambers or lost to spoilage (the product had a stated shelf life of only three months). Testa conducted fumigations for the Wehrmacht and supplied them with Zyklon B. They also offered courses to the SS in the safe handling and use of the material for fumigation purposes. In April 1941, the German agriculture and interior ministries designated the SS as an authorized applier of the chemical, and thus they were able to use it without any further training or governmental oversight.
Rudolf Höss (Photo right) commandant of Auschwitz, said that the use of Zyklon-B to kill prisoners came about on the initiative of one of his subordinates, SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch, who used the substance to kill some Russian POWs in late August 1941 in the basement of Block 11 in the main camp. The experiment was repeated on more Russian POWs, with Höss watching, in September. Block 11 proved unsuitable for mass killings, as the basement was difficult to air out afterwards and the crematorium (Crematorium I, which operated until July 1942) was some distance away. The site of the killings was moved to Crematorium I, where more than 700 victims could be killed at once. By the middle of 1942, the operation was moved to Auschwitz II–Birkenau, a nearby satellite camp which had been under construction since October 1941.
The first gas chamber at Auschwitz II–Birkenau was the ‘red house’ (called Bunker 1 by SS staff), a brick cottage converted to a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the windows. It was operational by March 1942. A second brick cottage, the ‘white house’ or Bunker 2, was converted some weeks later. According to Höss, Bunker 1 held 800 victims and Bunker 2 held 1200 victims. These structures were in use for mass killings until early 1943. At that point, the Nazis decided to greatly increase the gassing capacity of Birkenau.
Crematorium II, originally designed as a mortuary, with morgues in the basement and ground-level incinerators, was converted into a killing factory by installing gas-tight doors, vents for the Zyklon B to be dropped into the chamber, and ventilation equipment to remove the gas afterwards. Crematorium III was built using the same design. Crematoria IV and V, designed from the start as gassing centers, were also constructed that spring. By June 1943, all four crematoria were operational. Most of the victims were killed using these four structures.
The Nazis began shipping large numbers of Jews from all over Europe to Auschwitz in the middle of 1942. Those who were not selected for work crews were immediately gassed. The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the total, included almost all children, women with small children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit. The victims were told they were to undergo delousing and a shower. They were stripped of their belongings and herded into the gas chamber.
The Zyklon B was delivered by ambulance to the crematoria by a special SS bureau known as the Hygienic Institute. The actual delivery of the gas to the victims was always handled by the SS, on the order of the supervising SS doctor. After the doors were shut, SS men dumped in the Zyklon B pellets through vents in the roof or holes in the side of the chamber. The victims were dead within 20 minutes. Johann Kremer, an SS doctor who oversaw gassing, testified that the ‘shouting and screaming of the victims could be heard through the opening and it was clear that they fought for their lives’.
Sonderkommandos (special work crews forced to work at the gas chambers) wearing gas masks then dragged the bodies from the chamber. The victims’ glasses, artificial limbs, jewelry, and hair were removed, and any dental work was extracted so the gold could be melted down. If the gas chamber was crowded, which they typically were, the corpses were found half-squatting, their skin discolored pink with red and green spots, with some found foaming at their mouths, or bleeding from their ears. The corpses were burned in the nearby incinerators, and the ashes were buried, thrown in the river, or used as fertilizer. With the Soviet Red Army approaching through Poland, the last mass gassing at Auschwitz took place on October 30 1944. In November 1944, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, ordered gassing operations to cease across the Reich.
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 : 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)
(Photo right) Little Princess – Seven-year-old Jacqueline Morgenstern, later victim of tuberculosis medical experiments at Neuengamme KZ. She was murdered just before the liberation of the camp. Paris, 1940. (Schwarberg)
(Source : www.ushmm.org)
Josef Mengele was born the eldest of three children on 16 March 1911 to Karl and Walburga (Hupfauer) Mengele in Günzburg, Bavaria, Germany. His younger brothers were Karl Jr and Alois. Mengele’s father was founder of the Karl Mengele & Sons company, producers of farm machinery. Mengele did well in school and developed an interest in music, art, and skiing. He completed high school in April 1930 and went on to study medicine at Goethe University Frankfurt and philosophy at the University of Munich. Munich was the headquarters of the Nazi Party. In 1931 Mengele joined the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, a paramilitary organization that was in 1934 absorbed into the Nazi Sturmabteilung (Storm Detachment; SA).
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. (Original Archive), Report to the Attorney General of the United States of America. October 1992. 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.
Frankfurt am Main, Germany, The Racial Hygenist (Rassenhygeniker) and later Concentration Camp Doctor (KZ-Arzt) Josef Mengele during his time at the Institute for Genetics and Racial Hygiene (Institut für Erbbiologie und Rassenhygiene) in Frankfurt am Main, which was headed by his second doctoral supervisor Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer.
During his infamous tenure at the concentration camp, Josef Mengele was not the only physician at Auschwitz, nor was he, as common wisdom often maintains, the highest-ranking physician at the camp; this distinction belonged to SS captain Dr. Eduard Wirths, whose position as garrison physician made him responsible in all medical matters for the entire camp complex. Mengele began his career at Auschwitz in the spring of 1943 as the medical officer responsible for Birkenau’s Gypsy Camp; several weeks after its liquidation, Mengele undertook a new position as Chief Camp Physician of Auschwitz II (i.e., Birkenau), in November 1943, still under Wirths’ jurisdiction. Approximately 30 physicians served at Auschwitz during the period in which Mengele was assigned to the camp.
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.
Jewish twins kept alive to be used in Mengele’s medical experiments. These children were liberated from Auschwitz by the Red Army in January 1945.
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
Born on 16 March 1911 in Guenzburg on the Danube (governmental district Swabia/Free State Bavaria), birth registered at the registry office Guenzburg under register number 29/1911, former Doctor of Philosophy and of Medicine, dispossessed of academical degrees according to the public announcement of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main on 23 September 1964, son of the engineer and machine manufacturer Karl Mengele and Walburga Theresia Mengele, nee Hijpfauer, of German nationality, dispossessed of the Paraguayan nationality pursuant to the decision of the Supreme Court in Asuncion dated 8 August 1979, last residence in home country : Am Stadtbach 4, D—8870 Guenzburg, last known residence : Asuncion (Paraguay), present place of residence unknown :
– alias : Jone Mengele, born on 16 March 1911 in Guenzburg
– alias : Doctor Jose Mengele born on 16 March 1911 in Guenzburg
– alias : Helmut Gregor, born on 6 August 1911 in Termeno (Province Trento/Italy)
– alias : Helmut Gregori, born on 6 August 1911 in Termeno
– alias : Doctor Fausto Rindon
– alias : S. Jose Alvers Aspiazu
detention pending trial is ordered. He is strongly suspected of having killed people, having attempted this and having instigated and aided and abetted the killing of people, motivated by thirst for blood and other base motives, in a malicious and cruel way, and with generally dangerous means, between 24 May 1943 and 18 January 1945 in Auschwitz (Oswiecim/Poland) and other places through several independent acts partially in joint acts in numerous cases the exact number of which has not yet been ascertained.
These charges are based on the following facts :
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.
002 The suspect Mengele allegedly participated especially often and eagerly in these arrival or platform-selections. It is not possible, not even in approximation, to assess the number of selections supervised by him and the number of people who were selected to die. According to submitted testimonies, however, it can be presupposed that he carried out arrival selections at least at the following times :
– (1) – At the end of May 1943 at a transport of deported people organized by the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) with which the female witness Friendman-Englaender arrived;
– (2) – In the year 1943 at a transport with which the female witness Morgen arrived,where he hit an older Jew already selected to be gassed, who wanted to go to his son in the group of those fit to work, with an iron studded stick on the head in such a violent way that the skin of the head and probably also the skull was split and the older gentleman fell to the ground dead;
– (3). On 20 July 1943 at a RSHA transport from Paris, with which the witness Doctor Horeau arrived (369 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, a total of 440 persons were gassed);
– (4) – On 1 August 1943 at the first RSHA transport from the ghetto Bendsburg (Bedzin) with which the witnesses Jack and Rachel Rozmaryn arrived;
– (5) – On 2 August 1943 at a RSHA transport from the ghetto Bendsburg (Bedzin) at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, several relatives of the witness Kugelmann;
– (6) – On 3 August 1943 at a RSHA transport from the ghetto Sosnowitz (Sosnowiec) with which the female witness Mangel arrived (448 women and 404 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, an unknown number of people were gassed).
Hungarian Jews on their way to the gas chambers. Auschwitz-Birkenau
– (7) – On 23 August 1943 at a RSHA transport from the labor camp Kolo with which the female witness Garfinkiel arrived;
– (8) – On 26/27 August 1943 at a RSHA transport from the Province Posen [Posnan] with which the witness Jacobs arrived;
– (9) – On 23 September 1943 at a RSHA transport from Westerbork, Netherlands with which the female witness Himel arrived (288 women and 303 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, 388 persons were gassed);
– (10) – On 20 December 1943 at a RSHA transport from Drancy, France with which the female witness Bentata arrived (112 women and 233 men were admitted to the camp as fit to work, 504 persons were gassed).
– (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.
Above : Jews before going in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, 1944. Below : Auschwitz, in line for the “selection”.
(photo right) Alida Boas murdered in the gas chamber in Auschwitz on August 26 1942.
– (21) – In May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the parents of the female witness Veszi;
– (22) – In May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the witnesses Farkas and Sztahon arrived;
– (23) – In May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Munkacevo [Mukacevo] with which the female witness Drotarova arrived;
– (24) – In May 1944, at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the witness Doctor Hajdu 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.
Jewish women and children wait in the grove before being forced to go to the undressing.
– (32) – On 26 May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Guttmann arrived;
– (33) – On 29 May 1944 together with Doctor Capesius at a RSHA transport from Hungary (2000 Jews were admitted to the camp as fit to work, the rest were gassed, among whom Doctor Koevari and Doctor Loewenstein from Micasasa, the wife and the three daughters of the witness Doctor Berner;
– (34) – At the end of May 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Walter 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.
Arrival of a train containing Jews deported to Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
– (41) – In, June 1944 at a RSRA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Holczer arrived; in this case he carried out an additional selection, after the shower, of the women who were lined up naked in front of him;
– (42) – In June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the brother Tibor of the witnesses Istvan and Josef Laufer;
– (43) – In June 1944, together with the Doctor of Medicine Koenig at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Berger arrived;
– (44) – In June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the parents of the female witness Revesz;
– (45) – In June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Ungerleider arrived;
– (46) – On (3 or) 4 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing the mother and sister-in-law of the witnesses Simon and Klara Frank;
– (47) – In the middle of June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing approximately 500 to 700 people, among whom the father of the witnesses Gyoergy and Marton Lusztig;
– (48) – On 13 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witnesses Gordonova and Schmellerova arrived;
– (49) – On 14 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary at which he destined to death by gassing, among others, the daughter of the female witness Klara Havas;
– (50) – On 14 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witnesses Fast and Nesher arrived.
Jewish women and children forced to walk towards the gas chambers.
– (51) – On 15 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the witness Schwarcz arrived and at which occasion the suspect destined to death by gassing, among others, the mother of the female witness Erdei;
– (52) – On 17 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witness Elbaum with her twin sister arrived (two girls and eight men were admitted to the camp, an unknown number of people, among whom the mother and another sister of the female witness Elbaum, were gassed;
– (53) – On 17 June 1944 at a RSHA transport with which the female witness Svitackova arrived;
– (54) – On 29 June 1944 at a RSHA transport from Hungary with which the female witnesses Feuerstein and Katz arrived whose mother and brother(s) and sister(s), together with other Jews, he destined to death by gassing.
– (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 :
– (1) – On 25 May 1943, on the occasion of a quarantine of the Gypsy Camp B II e in Birkenau ordered by him, he allegedly destined to death by gashing 507 male and 528 female gypsies suspected of having typhoid fever.
– (2) – On 25 or 26 May 1943, during a selection in the infections disease barracks 32 of the Gypsy Camp, he allegedly spared the Reich German Gypsies while he sent about 600 others to be gassed.
– (3) – On 26 May 1943 he allegedly carried out a selection of those who had typhoid fever in the medical barracks of the central camp.
– (4) – During one of the selections in Camp B II b in Birkenau in the summer of 1943, he allegedly destined to death by gassing, among others, a female prisoner after she had recovered from a gunshot injury.
– (5) – At a selection in the fall of 1943 in the women’s concentration camp, at the request of the suspect, every block had to provide twenty emaciated female prisoners (so-called Moslems) who were subsequently killed.
– (6) – In November 1943 he allegedly carried out selections in the block of the detail assigned to work outside the camp.
– (7) – Between 3 and 22 December 1943 he allegedly carried out at least one selection in the medical barracks for prisoners of the women’s concentration camp.
– (8) – In December 1943 he allegedly destined to death all occupants, without any exception, of block 11 of the women’s concentration camp in Birkenau.
– (9) – During a typhus-delousing action in the women’s concentration camp Birkenau at an unspecified time, he allegedly proceeded in such a way that first he sent all, that is about 400, occupants of a block to be gassed, then had the block disinfected, the women of the adjacent block placed in the initially cleared block after singling out the ones suspected of having typhus and disinfecting the remaining prisoners and proceeding in this way until all those who were suspected of having typhus had been singled out to be killed by gassing and all other women and all buildings had been disinfected.
– (10) – In December 1943 – January 1944 he allegedly carried out a major selection in the women’s concentration camp at Birkenau during which he allegedly destined to death approximately 7000 women.
– (11) – In January 1944 he allegedly selected in the surgery block of the medical barracks for prisoners in the women’s concentration camp.
– (12) – On 8 January 1944 he allegedly singled out a third of the occupants of the Birkenau camp to be killed.
– (13) – In February 1944, he allegedly singled out all, that is about 500 ill people of block 17 in the women’s concentration camp to be killed.
– (14) – In the period between 2 and 12 July 1944, under his direction, the so-called Theresienstadt family camp in the camp section B II b in Birkenau was allegedly liquidated in such a way that first, on 2 July 1944, he singled out 3080 Jews as fit to work, after which on 11 July about 3000 and on 12 July the remaining, that is about 4000, occupants of the camp were allegedly gassed.
– (15) – In July 1944 at a selection in the women’s concentration camp at Birkenau, he allegedly destined to death by gassing at least several hundred people.
– (16) – At the end of July 1944, he allegedly picked out several hundred prisoners in the C camp to be killed.
– (17) – The suspect Josef Mengele is strongly suspected of having participated in the so-called liquidation of the Gypsy Camp (of the section B II e in the camp Auschwitz-Birkenau) on 31 July/2 August 1944, by carrying out, together with other SS physicians, a selection on the basis of which 1408 Gypsies were transferred to the concentration camp Buchenwald, while the remaining 2897 Gypsies were killed by gas in the above described way.
During this disbandment of the Gypsy Camp, a Gypsy girl of about four years of age who turned to Mengele with the words Uncle Doctor and did not want to leave him, allegedly, on a sign from the suspect Mengele, was seized by her leg by a German Kapo (prisoner-foreman) and her head hurled against the wheel of a truck such that the skull of the child was smashed. During the liquidation of the Gypsy Camp he allegedly personally shot two Gypsy boys between about 10 and 14 years of age. He allegedly drove two piepel (boys who serve the prisoner functionaries) in his car to the crematory where they were killed, because-they had hidden themselves during roll call and therefore the number of prisoners ascertained was incorrect.
Also during the liquidation of the Gypsy Camp, the suspect Mengele tried to transfer seven pairs of twins to the research block 10 of the central camp with the purpose of pseudo-medical experiments. When he didn’t succeed in this for organizational reasons, he allegedly shot the fourteen Gypsies in the crematory and subsequently held an autopsy on them. 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.
– (21) – On the day of the Jewish New Year celebration of 1944 he allegedly destined to death by gassing 328 children in the camp section B II d in Birkenau.
– (22) – On the day of the Jewish Yom Kippur in 1944 in the camp section B II e in Birkenau he allegedly mounted a bar between the posts of a soccer goal at the height of approximately 1.45 to 1.50 meters and destined to death by gassing approximately 1000 children who did not reach this height.
– (23) – In the fall of 1944 he allegedly carried out a selection in the sauna on the occasion of the transfer of the weaving-detail to the camp section B II b.
– (24) – At the end of October-November 1944 the suspect allegedly carried out a selection in the tuberculosis block 29 of the women’s concentration camp.
– (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.
004 : The suspect Josef Mengele is strongly suspected of having carried out medical experiments on living prisoners, motivated by ambition and career aspirations, for the purpose of scientific publications, while, because of the way the experiments were directed, intending the death of the prisoners, at least however, based on his knowledge as a physician and his medical education, willingly sanctioning their death which did indeed ensue in numerous cases; he further allegedly killed deportees and prisoners in order to carry out anatomical investigations on their corpses. It is almost impossible to determine the exact number of murders and attempted murders that were committed in the course of this. The following groups of experiments can be distinguished :
(1) – According to the result of the judicial preliminary investigations, the research of twins took a prominent place among the pseudo experiments of the suspect Josef Mengele. A profiling in this area mattered especially to the National Socialist regime of that time, in particular with respect to their endeavor to increase the birth rate for instance, through medical manipulation to increase twin births. Besides statistical studies and body measurements, the pairs of twins were subjected to injections, spinal cord taps, surgical operations and blood examinations, though these were not indicated on medical grounds nor was it clear what results were to have been obtained through those experiments.
Also, an exchange of blood was repeatedly made between the individual twins of a pair. It is not possible, not even approximately, to determine exactly how many twins and triplets the suspect Mengele experimented on in this way, nor how many casualties resulted from this research. At times, as many as 200 pairs of male twins were allegedly kept on reserve for the experiments of the suspect Josef Mengele. Some of these pseudo experiments allegedly took place in the research block 10 of the central camp Auschwitz, some also at other places, dissections took place mainly in one of the crematories.
The judicial preliminary investigations have resulted among other things in a strong suspicion with respect to the following individual cases :
(A) – As a result of operations on the body, carried out by the suspect Josef Mengele himself or on his orders, these allegedly died, among others :
– (a) in the summer of 1944 an estimated more than 100 persons, among whom Gabor Fried;
– (b) two cousins of the female witness Gutienberger;
– (c) on 4/5 July 1944 the son, on 15/16 July 1944 the daughter of the female witness Schlick, after the suspect Mengele allegedly, on 4 July 1944, had carried out blood research on them;
– (d) the children, at that time seven years old, of the female witness Czengeri, together with about 14 other pairs of twins;
– (e) a daughter of the female witness Rosenbaum;
– (f) Hungarian twins whom the suspect Mengele subjected to surgical operations on the head;
– (g) around September 1944, a woman of about thirty years of age after a camphor injection;
– (h) around September 1944, a woman of about thirty years of age from Szombathely, whose twin sister likewise was killed by the suspect Mengele or on his orders, for the purpose of a simultaneous autopsy;
– (i) in the year 1944, Hungarian twin sisters at the age of about thirty, after injections administered by a female assistant on the orders of Mengele;
– (j) in the summer of 1944, Edith Somogyi after an intravenous injection;
– (k) in the fall of 1944, after injections, a Hungarian pair of twins, still children, whose mother was also in the camp.
– (a) a female pair of twins from Hungary of about 35 to 40 years;
– (b) a male pair of twins;
– (c) a woman deported from Beregszas [Beregovoj, likewise;
– (d) twins who allegedly died of weakness after excessive drawing of blood.
(C) – For the purpose of carrying out dissections, the suspect Mengele allegedly killed or ordered to be killed :
– (a) in the summer of 1944 about 100 children by shooting them through the back of the head;
– (b) in July 1944, a group of about 40 children whom he drove himself with a truck to the crematory for the purpose of autopsy;
– (c) a pair of twins from the Gypsy Camp B II e, whom he killed personally for a dissection to be carried out by himself;
– (d) an infant pair, born in the camp, whom he killed by injections;
– (e) a pair of twins born of a French woman;
– (f) one of the triplets of about one year of age from Munkacs [Mukacevo], whom he allegedly dissected alive while anesthetized;
– (g) the about six-year-old twins Heinz and Dieter Schmidt;
– (h) in July 1944, a Hungarian pair of twins (boys of about six or seven years of age) whom the suspect allegedly killed near the laboratory by shooting them through the back of the head at a distance of two to three meters and subsequently personally dissected;
– (i) in a further case, after the death of a twin child of pneumonia, the other healthy twin was allegedly killed for the purpose of a comparative dissection, as, in fact, regularly, on occasion of the natural death of a twin, in principle the second twin was also killed for the purpose of comparison.
(D) – Finally the suspect Josef Mengele allegedly destined twins for whom the series of experiments was finished and whom he did not intend to dissect, to be killed in the gas chambers, by injections or by shooting; killed for these reasons, among others :
– (a) in the summer of 1944, fourteen twins were allegedly killed with Evipan and chloroform injections by the suspect Mengele;
– (b) in August 1944, 33 twins were allegedly shot to death in front of the incinerators of the crematory.
005 : In the same way as with twins, the suspect Mengele subjected midgets to measurements and research. Several of them he allegedly killed or ordered to be killed in order to carry out dissections on the corpses.
006 : The suspect Josef Mengele is strongly suspected of also having carried out experiments on other prisoners in addition to twins, involving blood transfusions and the drawing of blood, sometimes after treatment with drugs. For this purpose, about fifty young women were allegedly constantly held in reserve for him in the prisoners medical block in the women’s concentration camp in Birkenau during the summer of 1944. Many of these previously healthy women allegedly died after blood transfusions, but also from weakness because of excessive drawing of blood, a state of affairs that the suspect at least willingly sanctioned. The gaps caused by death were filled with new, healthy women from the camp.
007 : After the outbreak in the camp of the noma epidemic, in particular among children in the Gypsy Camp, the symptoms of which amount to an extreme, form of stomatitis, the suspect Mengele together with prisoner physicians carried out therapeutic experiments on prisoners who had the illness. After discontinuing the experiments, at least some of these prisoners, and indeed also those who had been cured, were allegedly killed by the suspect Mengele or on his orders, in part at least in order to perform dissections.
008 : The suspect Josef Mengele is strongly suspected of having carried out experiments on prisoners involving the conduction of electrical currents through the human body in order to test its resistance. These experiment’s were allegedly carried out in the Birkenau camp and in the medical block or prisoners in the Monowitz camp;
– (a) Of the prisoners in Birkenau who were abused for the purpose of these experiments, a considerable number allegedly died during experimentation, among whom a Hungarian girl about 17 years old; the suspect Mengele allegedly destined the surviving prisoners to be killed by gassing;
– (b) From the total of 70 to 80 prisoners in the Monowitz camp who were subjected to such experiments by the suspect Mengele in the spring of 1944, between 20 and 30 prisoners allegedly died during experimentation. The fate of those who survived the experiments in Monowitz is unknown.
009 : The suspect Mengele is strongly suspected of having exposed a group of Polish nuns to extreme X-rays for research purposes, resulting in serious burn injuries. Whether these nuns died, and in case they did, how many died as a result of the treatment, is unknown. The suspect at least willingly sanctioned the possibility that they would die.
010 : At the end of June 1943 the suspect Mengele allegedly infected the then healthy witness Doctor Zelny with typhus organisms for research purposes, whereupon the witness became seriously ill. As at this time many prisoners died of typhus, in particular because of deficient hygiene and medical care, he at least willingly sanctioned the possibility that the witness would die.
011 : In the year 1943 the suspect Mengele allegedly carried out phlegmon experiments on a series of women and children in block 10 bf the central camp Auschwitz, by causing, through injections, artificial phlegmon infections, resulting in excruciating pains for the victims. Because of his experience as a physician, in these cases likewise, he knew death was possible and, though he may not have wanted it, he still sanctioned the death which indeed occurred to several of the people abused in these experiments.
In the months of September and October of 1943, one of the women whom he abused for these purposes was the female witness Garfinkiel, who was injected with phlegmons in the hips and under the arms for research purposes in the described way; in her case, despite high fever and temporary unconsciousness, it did not result in her death because of her strong constitution, though the suspect, by virtue of his education and experience as a physician, knew death to be possible and, though not wanted, still sanctioned this possibility.
012 : The suspect Mengele allegedly applied noxious solutions to the eyes of an unknown number of prisoners for purposes of research :
– (a) At the end of 1944, he allegedly carried out experiments on the newborn infant of the female witness Jantsch, whereupon the eyes could not be recognized as such anymore as they became a single red lump. To the mother he said : What harm can it do to turn a blue eye into a black eye ? As the suspect, in virtue of his education and experience as a physician; knew death to be possible and, though not wanted, still sanctioned the possibility; the child died on 28 January 1945;
– (b) In the second half of the year 1944, the suspect Mengele allegedly killed an unknown large number of people in order to make preparations of their eyes for the purpose of demonstrations. He allegedly dispatched with the camp mail a wooden crate with jars full of such preparations.
013 : The suspect Mengele is strongly suspected of having carried out experimental marrow transplants on living prisoners, hence at least willingly sanctioning the possibility of their death. Two cases of survivors of these experiments have become known :
– (a) In the late summer of 1944, the witness Fried was operated on his right shinbone twice a week for the above described purpose. Marrow was regularly drawn through a tube inserted into the chiseled shinbone. The witness survived the operations;
– (b) In November 1944, the female witness Weszi had tubes drawn through her right shinbone in the same way. For about eight to ten days she had a high fever. Then the right leg was amputated below the knee. After this failed experiment, the female witness would normally have been killed as a cripple now unfit to work. That this did not happen is probably due to the fact that, at the end of November 1944, the gassings were stopped because the Red Army was drawing near and the evacuation of the camp was imminent.
(By David Shazan, Paris, September 16 2016) On a bleak February day in 1944, a French Gendarme (one of these heroes…) snatched a pair of dolls from two Jewish sisters about to be deported to Auschwitz, and flung them to the ground. Denise and Micheline Lévy, aged 10 and 9 when the gendarme bundled them out of their school in the eastern French village of Gemeaux, never returned.
But a family in the village looked after their dolls for three generations and kept alive the story of how the two little girls were lined up in the snow with their parents, grandparents, an aunt and uncle, a cousin and other Jewish families. Frédérique Gilles, a teacher from Gemeaux whose grandmother carefully preserved the dolls, on Sunday presented them to the Shoah Memorial, the Holocaust museum in Paris. The gendarme left the dolls — one pink and the other blue — lying in the street, where a village shopkeeper picked them up and gave them to Mrs Gilles’ grandmother.
She gave them to her twin daughters, who in turn passed them on to their nieces, Mrs Gilles and her sister. I got the blue one, my favourite colour, said Mrs Gilles, 38. But none of us ever played with the dolls. We knew the story. Our family tried to find out what happened to the two girls, but they never came back. We were unable to trace any relatives. (Image & Text source : www.telegraph.co.uk)
014 : In the year 1943 the suspect Mengele allegedly operated on the genitals of several hundred male prisoners, probably carried out castrations or sterilizations and crippled them artificially in such a way that they were severely limited in their capacity to move and, for the largest part, soon died or were selected in the camp to be killed as unfit to work, all of which the suspect had foreseen and willingly sanctioned.
015 : The suspect Mengele is strongly suspected, in addition to the above mentioned cases, of having killed a statistically indeterminable number of people, or to have ordered them killed, for the purpose of dissection and to obtain “living fresh” material. The following incidents have been substantiated by testimonies of witnesses :
(a) In the year 1943, Mengele caused a number of female prisoners to be shot to death at the “black wall” in the courtyard between block 10 and block 11 in the central camp. Cut-off breasts and muscle parts from the thighs were allegedly used in the hygienic laboratory as culture material for the experiments of the suspect Mengele;
(b) The suspect Mengele had the SS Oberscharfuehrer [Technical Sergeant) Josef Klehr, a medical officer, administer a lethal injection to a male prisoner of about thirty years and took the spleen from the corpse of the prisoner;
(c) In the year 1944 he allegedly dissected a still alive Gypsy boy of about three to four years of age, after previous drawing of blood.
In addition to the cases of systematic mass extermination, killing of ill occupants of the camp and egotistical lethal medical research and pseudo experiments, the suspect Mengele, as SS camp physician, allegedly killed deported people and camp occupants on impulse, arrogating to himself the power of life and death over them, out of the sheer pleasure in killing. Such excessive acts are :
– (1) At an unspecified time, the suspect Josef Mengele allegedly shot with his service pistol at least one prisoner of unknown nationality, because he was in the camp street without authorization;
– (2) At an unspecified time, the suspect Mengele allegedly invited the female witness Friedman-Englaender, another female prisoner and two pairs of female twins between 10 and 15 years of age, for a ‘pleasure drive’ with the truck in the camp. Before the drive he allegedly gave candies to the twin girls. After all had left the truck in the neighborhood of the crematories, Mengele allegedly killed the four girls by shotting them through the back of the neck;
– (3) When the actor Herskovic, who was imprisoned in Auschwitz, declared in the presence of the suspect Mengele that he was not afraid to die, – Mengele allegedly said to the report officer, who was present, the SS Unterscharfuehrer [Sergeant) Kurpanik : Since he is so begging for it, shoot him !, whereupon Kurpanik allegedly drew his pistol and shot the prisoner;
– (4) In the year 1943 the suspect Mengele allegedly personally shot to death a girl of about 16 years of age, who had fled to the roof of a house out of fear of dying in the gas chambers;
-(5) In the second half of 1943 he allegedly personally shot to death two Gypsy children who had hidden in the camp.
– (6) At an unspecified time, Mengele allegedly threw the new-born boy of the Jewish woman Sussmann from Vienna into the fire alive, whereupon the child died;
– (7) The suspect Mengele allegedly took the new-born child from a Russian woman, seized it by the head and flung it on the pile of corpses;
– (8) In May-June 1943 he allegedly killed a Polish woman from Posen by a phenol injection, because the woman who just had given birth, did not let him kill her baby;
– (9) At the beginning of October 1943, the suspect allegedly killed a new-born male child, carried in the arms of the female witness Hauswirt, by injecting it with phenol, in block 25 B of the women’s concentration camp;
– (10) In January 1944, on the orders of the suspect Mengele, a new-born child was allegedly killed in block 17 of the prisoners quarter of the camp Auschwitz – Birkenau;
– (11) In May 1944 the suspect allegedly killed by injection an infant a few days old, while remarking that there was no place here for new-born children;
– (12) In July 1944 the suspect Mengele allegedly caused the death of a prisoner by ordering a guard of the canine squadron to set his service dog on the prisoner, whereupon the prisoner, out of fear of the dog, ran into the electrically charged barbed wire of the camp fence, where he was killed through electrocution, a possibility which the suspect had at least willingly sanctioned;
– (13) During the summer of 1944 the suspect Mengele allegedly shot a Kapo with a pistol, enraged that the Kapo of the labor-detail permitted prisoners who had already been selected to be killed by gassing to rejoin the ones who were fit to work;
– (14) Likewise, he allegedly singled out the witness Professor Doctor Lewin at a camp selection to have him killed through gassing, because Professor Lewin had not recorded the prisoners who were unfit to work on the list of the prisoners who were to be gassed; Professor Lewin was not killed, however, only because a Rottenfuehrer (Corporal) of the SS saved him in the end from being gassed.
– (15) Around October 1944 in the camp, the suspect Mengele allegedly struck down a child of about twelve to fourteen years of age who was crying during the morning roll call, with an object he was holding in his hand; he struck in such a way that the child collapsed and died; where the suspect at least willingly sanctioned the death of the child, even if it had not died as a result of his blow;
– (16) The suspect Mengele in a large number of cases allegedly forced pregnant women to lie down on the floor on their backs, whereupon the suspect allegedly kicked them with his boots in their abdomen until the abortion of the fetus took place. Even if the women survived this treatment, the suspect Mengele, in using this improper method of abortion, at least willingly sanctioned the possibility of their death;
– (17) In August – September 1944, the suspect Mengele allegedly drew a large quantity of blood from the female witness Bojtar and her cousin Erna Boros to punish them both for leaving the barracks assigned to them during a block curfew, despite the prohibition against it; here the suspect at least willingly sanctioned the possibility of the death of the prisoners. While the female witness Bojtar survived, the prisoner Boros died after the drawing of blood;
– (18) In January 1944, on the occasion Of the letter action of SS Untersturmfuehrer [Second Lieutenant) Hartenberger of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), in the Auschwitz-Monowitz camp, the suspect is further charged with having ordered to shoot Jewish prisoners who refused to write what he dictated to their relatives, saying that they had arrived in an agreeable labor camp and were treated well, the relatives should follow them.
The genocide of Sinti and Roma during the Nazi period is not widely known. Throughout Europe they were arrested, deported and murdered. Many were forced to do hard labor in camps and ghettos. Hundreds of thousands of Sinti and Roma died. Over half of the victims were younger than 14. Here, six children speak on behalf of the murdered masses. Zoni Weisz, Krystyna Gil, Elina Machálkova; Settela Steinbach; Amalie Schaich Reinhardt and Karl Stojka.
(Image Source : US Holocaust Memorial via (Sinti & Roma)
These acts are crimes according to the Paragraphs : 211, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 49, 53 and 54, of the German Penal Code. The criminal acts with which the suspect Mengele is charged do not fall under the statute of limitations according to German Law. (Paragraph 78 of the Penal Code). The strong suspicion of criminal acts is based on the testimonies of the witnesses :
A : Adler Olga, Atlasz Magdalene
B : Barcz Wojciech, Belica Ignacy, Benedefti Leonardo (Doctor), – Bentata Camille, Berger Margit, Bergmann Artijr, Berner Mauritio (Doctor), Bloch Marie-Louise, Boeck Richard, Boeken Léna, Bojtar Terez, Bonarek Ernestyna, Borda Borbala (Doctor), Brandl Ilona Eva, Bratro Zofia, Brodt Antal, Brodt Joszef, Bucki Milton
C : Cetnarowicz Halina, Chroszcz Henryk, Czech Danuta, Czelny Stanislaw (Doctor), Czengeri Rozalia, Czeszfjko Janina
D : Denes Aliz (Doctor), Dezso Solti, Diamont Abelino Singer, Diem Rudolf (Doctor), Drotarova Kanila
E : Elbaum Jael, Elina-Grujffy Odette, Epstein Elieser (Doctor)
F : Faludi Rozalia (Doctor), Fabryxant Stéfania, Farkas Istwan, Fast Ruth, Feig Jenta-Jehijdit, Feuerstein Léa, Filip Irène, Frank Klara, Frank Magdolna, Frankiel Joseph, Friemark Jakov, Fried Jénoé, Friedmann-Englaender Margaret, Friedmann Ella, Friedmann Ernest, Frydrych Sam
G : Gardonyi Ersebet, Gardonnyi Magdolna, Garfinkiel Rosa, Garon Irène, Glowacki Czeslaw, Golebiowska Janina, Gordonova Viera, Grese Irma, Guttenberger Elisabeth, Gutrmann Judith
H : Hajdu Arpad (Doctor), Harari Karolina, Hauswirt Zofia, Havas Agnès, Havas Judith, Havas Klara Erzsebet, Hegyalai Lajos, Himel Gretha, Hirsh Fritz, Hoessler Franz, Holczer Ida, Horeau Milo (Doctor), Horowitz Feiga Léa
I : Immerglueck Bella
J : Jacobs Benjamin, Jacubert Régine, Jannik Etel, Jansen Lily, Jantsch Irmgard, Joachomowski Tadeusz, Joszef Jolan, Jureczek Bronislaw
K : Kaminska-Sadoska Barbara, Kardos Sara, Kasner Max, Katz Chéuda Hajnal, Kemen Sabina, Kiss Laszlo (Doctor), Klein Zwi, Kleiner Elias, Kleinmann Josef, Kobylecka-Wigura Krystyna, Kohn Ester, Knoczna Iréna (Doctor), Koppel Tova, Kovacs Olga, Kraemer Chawa, Krzyzanowska Régine, Krzesinska Romana, Kugelman Hersz, Kun Gyoergy
L : Laks Vona, Lance Juliette, Landstofova Eva, Langbein Hermann, Lanieweska Katarzyna (Doctor), Laufer Istyan, Laufer Joszef, Lehman Claude (Doctor), Lengyel Olga, Lengyel Véronika, Lettich André (Doctor), Lew Henri (Doctor), Lewin Herbert (Professor Doctor), Lingens Ella (Doctor), Lusztig Gyoergy, Lusztig Marton Andor
M : Majerczyk Spora, Manczak Magdalena, Mangel Régina, Materlik Narcyza, Michel Ernest W., Mike Ilona (Doctor), Mikusz Danejta, Millar Andreïj (Doctor), Mlynek Dynamalka, Morgen Nahawa, Moskovits Elizabet, Mueller Filip, Muench Hans Wilhelm (Doctor)
N : Nesher Shoshana, Niedojadlo Eugeniusz, Novakova Hana, Nyiszli Miklos (Doctor)
O : Ochshorn Isaac Egon (Doctor)
P : Palinska Zofia, Palmowska-Franzowska Jelina, Pasternak Lili, Peter Marta, Przerwa-Tetmajer Alina Julia, Pujfeles Pearl Gisèle, Puzyna Martina (Professor Doctor)
R : Rachwal Stanislawa, Radavansky Arthur, Rafalik Henry, Rappaport Héléna, Revesz Léone, Rosenbaum Rosalie, Roth Miriajm, Rozmaryn Jack, Rozmaryn Rachel, Rujbin Hersch, Rybka Julian
S : Sax Alberta, Schick Hani, Schmellerova Edita, Schnabel Eduard (Doctor), Schwalbova Margita, Schw-a, Springler Anne, Stern Aliza, Stiebelman Efraim, Strakova Gizela, Struly Rosa, Svitackova Klara, Szabo Lenke, Szabo Magdolna, Szczepanska Maria-Zofia, Szegoe Anna, Szejnfeln Szyia (Doctor), Szeminska Szyia, Szpujnar-Rozmus Malgorzata, Sztahon Agnès
T : Temler Eliza
U : Ungerleider Zsuzsanna
V : Veinfeld Eigi, van Velsen Antonius Franziskus, Veszi Judith, Vexler Iancou (Doctor), Vitek Rudolf (Doctor)
W : Wanderer Natan, Weis Piroska, Weissmann Véra, Weisner Livia, Winter Rosa de
Z : Zablocka Halina, Zeiger Miriam, Zombirt Maria
There are grounds for arrest pursuant to paragraph 112, section 2, number 1, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, because it has been established on the basis of certain facts that the suspect has fled and is hiding himself. The present residence of the suspect in unknown. Allegedly, he is staying in a South American country. The previous warrant of arrest of the District Court Freiburg im Breisgau, dated 25 February 1959 – file number 22 Cs 28/59 – and the warrant of arrest of the District Court Freiburg im Breisgau, dated 5 June 1959 are cancelled.
1 : In February 1985, responding to suggestions that Josef Mengele had a relationship with US personnel and institutions, during the period immediately following World War II, and being eager to assist in locating and bringing him to justice, the Attorney General ordered Office of Special Investigation (OSI) to conduct an investigation.
2 : As to Mengele’s connections with the United States, the Department has concluded that :
– (a) Mengele was in US custody, in two separate POW camps, immediately following the war, at least initially under an alias, masquerading as a member of the German army. It is possible (though unconfirmed) that he was later registered and discharged under his own name. In any event, it is likely that he passed as a regular soldier and was released in routine fashion in the chaotic conditions that prevailed in the summer of 1945, particularly because he did not have a blood type tattoo, which was common to SS personnel and was used by US authorities as a litmus test in screening prisoners. The US Army, with over three million German POWs in custody, dwindling food supplies, and a significant and growing displaced persons population with its own urgent needs and problems, relied on such threshold tests in part because of the enormous pressure US forces consequently faced to discharge releasable POWs as quickly as possible. In addition, the wanted lists on which Mengele’s name appeared probably did not reach the unit responsible for his discharge in time.
– (b) Mengele lived under an alias on a farm in the US Zone for most of the period before his flight to South America in 1949. He did not live openly in his hometown of Guenzburg.
– (c) Mengele was never again held by US forces (although in 1946 and 1947 there was a widespread, but false, rumor of his arrest). He escaped arrest and prosecution in part because the several US efforts to apprehend him, while made in good faith, were sporadic in nature and were insufficiently sustained. This failure can be explained principally by the belief on the part of Allied prosecutors that he was dead as of October 1946 (a belief nurtured by the Mengele family) and by the fact that the Polish government did not specifically request his apprehension and extradition.
– (d) Mengele fled Europe without US assistance or knowledge. There is no evidence that he ever had a relationship with US intelligence. Nor is there any evidence that he ever entered the United States either under his own name or under any known alias.
3 : Although the search for Mengele did not locate him alive, it did result in the discovery of evidence that led to a body buried in Brazil. After painstaking research and forensic examination, and after evaluation of other evidence, the Department concluded that the remains were, in fact, those of Josef Mengele. Upon the recent completion of a DNA comparison, the governments of Germany and Israel have announced their agreement with this conclusion.
POW Enclosure. On April 14 1945 the Ruhr pocket was split in two and prisoners arrived in such large numbers that Allied facilities were taxed to the limit. On 16 April the eastern half of the pocket collapsed and two days later the pocket ceased to exist. There were 325000 prisoners, including 30 generals, counted as they were taken. This represented twenty-one divisions as well as many non divisional units.
Throughout his postwar life, Josef Mengele was protected and supported, both financially and emotionally, by his family and by the family owned company that has long been the dominant enterprise in Guenzburg, West Germany. Mengele very likely could have been captured long ago had investigators focused aggressively on these most obvious of links. Instead, the previous efforts to find him were disorganized, intermittent ones directed largely by rumor and by sensational media reports. As a result, Mengele’s surviving victims remained deeply frustrated for more than four decades and his would be pursuers’ efforts were diverted and ultimately wasted, first in 1946-1947 by erroneous reports of his arrest by US authorities and of his death, and again in the 1970s and 1980s by false statements that he was living in Paraguay.
In May 1945, the United States and its allies had won an historic victory over the armed forces of Nazi Germany. The leaders of the nations that had achieved this victory, for which hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers gave their lives, agreed that the defeat of that monstrous regime would be incomplete until its crimes were fully documented and the perpetrators of those crimes identified, apprehended, and punished. However, despite these grand objectives, considerable early dedication, and notable initial successes, this crucial effort soon lost its momentum as a new cold war adversary quickly replaced the old enemy. Josef Mengele and countless other Nazi criminals were beneficiaries of this dramatic change of focus.
The understandable disappointment and anger that met the discovery in 1985 that Mengele appeared to have died in freedom six years earlier provoked skepticism, even disbelief, that some may still cling to, especially in the community of survivors of the Holocaust. Indeed, after thirteen years of prosecuting those who participated in the Holocaust, staff members of OSI remain particularly saddened and frustrated that Mengele was never forced to stand before a court of law. Nonetheless, the truth, even though disappointing, must be acknowledged. Given the evidence assembled in this case, it would be particularly cruel to the survivors of Mengele’s experiments for anyone to suggest any longer, without credible proof, that he may still be alive. Although Josef Mengele escaped earthly justice, his crimes have been carefully documented. Importantly, moreover, Mengele himself realized that he never could be certain that he had completely eluded those who kept alive the hope that he would someday be apprehended.
Ironically, Mengele appears to have had a greater appreciation of the importance of effecting his arrest than did those law enforcement authorities charged with responsibility for bringing him before the bar of justice. Indeed, the many years he consequently spent hiding in near squalor in Brazil, tortured by his fear that Israeli agents were on the verge of capturing him, arguably provided a kind of rough, albeit inadequate, justice. Although no national legal system ever was able to impose punishment for Mengele’s ghastly crimes, the Department’s probe has confirmed that he did indeed pay a price, ultimately being transformed into a tormented prisoner of his own nightmares of capture.
Josef Mengele’s unspeakable acts have justly made him a symbol of the Holocaust, much as his escape from justice has made him a symbol of the failure of the responsible authorities to take sufficient action to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Holocaust. That Auschwitz’s Angel of Death was allowed to perpetrate his crimes and to die an old man’s death in Brazil is evidence of failure. That the United States ultimately joined with the two democratic nations born in the aftermath of the destruction of Nazi Germany, the State of Israel and the German Federal Republic, in an unprecedented worldwide search for him is evidence that the failure was neither complete nor acceptable to the governments concerned. Indeed, the fact that there was an effective, if belated, international search for Mengele may in itself be cause for modest optimism.
Josef Mengele, third from right, poses for a photo during a picnic with friends in Sao Paulo, Brazil
The report is the culmination of our investigation, commenced in 1985, into the whereabouts and postwar activities of this infamous Nazi criminal. I would like to acknowledge the outstanding contributions made to the investigation and to the preparation of this report by the following former OSI personnel :
Deputy Director Michael Wolf
Trial Attorney Philip L. Sunshine
Chief of Investigative Research David G. Marwell
For more than two decades, former SS Hauptsturmfuehrer [Captain] Josef Mengele was the most notorious Nazi criminal thought to be alive. Mengele served during World War II as a ‘doctor’ at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi occupied Poland, where more than one million prisoners, the overwhelming majority of them Jews, were systematically executed. The most recent estimate by the Polish government is that between 1.1 and 1.5 million persons died at Auschwitz, among them at least 960,000 Jews.
These figures have been tentatively accepted by Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial museum and institute. When prisoners arrived at Auschwitz, Mengele and his ‘doctor’ colleagues selected for slave labor those who appeared medically ‘fit’ (thus consigning them to toil under inhumane and often deadly conditions) or who could be used by the Third Reich in some other way. All other prisoners, the vast majority, were immediately murdered by gassing in specially designed asphyxiation chambers. Mengele was also notorious for performing grotesque pseudo medical experiments on prisoners, children and adults alike, especially those who were twins. In 1981, the State Prosecutor in Frankfurt issued a warrant for Josef Mengele’s arrest.
The State Prosecutor in Freiburg im Breisgau had issued an arrest warrant in June 1959. The Frankfurt State Prosecutor subsequently assumed jurisdiction over crimes committed at Auschwitz, and a new warrant based on more extensive evidence was issued in 1981. Mengele is accused of murder on a colossal scale. He held in his pointing index finger the power of life and death for the hundreds of thousands of innocents whom he confronted as they stepped from the overcrowded freight trains that brought them to Auschwitz (Oswiecim), Poland, some from the farthest corners of Europe.
In a grotesque perversion of the physician’s role, Auschwitz’s so-called “Angel of Death” employed his knowledge of the workings of life in order to destroy it. He determined who would die immediately in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and who would be exploited for labor or Nazi ‘science’ before being killed. On some, he carried out ghastly experiments without their consent, in an attempt to advance a twisted pseudoscience. Beyond the scale of these crimes, what is perhaps most shocking is their range : from the ‘detached’ direction of mass killings to the personal murder of young children for the sheer pleasure of it. These were crimes that prosecutors were prepared to prove before a court of law.
Because of his highly visible and significant role in the Hitler regime’s homicidal reign of terror, Mengele effectively became a symbol of the Holocaust; in particular, his name became synonymous with the evil of Auschwitz, the site on which more people were murdered than any other in recorded human history. Understandably, the thought of his remaining a free man was most acutely painful for all Holocaust survivors, especially his victims. If indeed he were alive, as conventional wisdom had it, justice demanded that he be held legally accountable for his role in the Third Reich’s genocidal policies.
In February 1985, the US Department of Justice undertook an unprecedented investigation. Responding to allegations that Mengele had been in US custody and might have had a relationship with US government institutions or personnel during the period immediately following the Second World War, the Criminal Division’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) was instructed by the Attorney General to initiate a comprehensive investigation. This investigation had two primary goals :
1- to determine Josef Mengele’s whereabouts, activities and affiliations from 1945-1949
2- to determine his whereabouts in 1985, so that authorities in Germany or Israel could put him on trial
The questions of Mengele’s former and current whereabouts required two distinctly different approaches, one, an essentially historical investigation, and the other, an unconventional manhunt which began in search of a living man and ended in an attempt to determine whether a long-buried body newly exhumed in South America might be Mengele’s. Each effort had its own methodology, and the findings of each will be presented in this report. The scope of the inquiry ordered by the Attorney General was intentionally broad. OSI was asked to utilize the techniques that it had employed since its creation in 1979 to trace and locate Nazi war criminals, and to exploit its established channels of cooperation with other concerned agencies and countries. In its efforts to ascertain Mengele’s current whereabouts, OSI obtained the assistance of the United States Marshals Service (USMS).
The Department was thereby able to rely upon OSI’s specialized expertise concerning Nazi war criminals as well as the USMS experience in locating fugitives. In all aspects of this inquiry, both OSI and the USMS received substantial assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Defense, various components of the United States intelligence community, the Department of State, as well as other agencies. The Department of the Army contributed significantly to OSI’s efforts to determine Mengele’s whereabouts immediately after World War II. Indeed, a Department of the Army task force was created to assist OSI and to facilitate access to the extensive documentary material in its possession relating to the work of the Army’s occupation forces in Europe immediately after the war. The task force also assisted in identifying and locating several hundred former Army personnel whose knowledge proved to be essential to the successful conclusion of the historical investigation.
In addition, the Department periodically consulted with members of Congress. Representatives of the Department publicly testified about the investigation at Congressional hearings held on March 19 and August 2, 1985. The Department of Justice coordinated its investigation with probes by the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel, and sought the assistance of other countries as appropriate. Both Germany and Israel welcomed United States cooperation, and, as explained below, representatives of the three countries held many meetings in order to share information and coordinate strategies.
The cooperation of the Brazilian government must also be specially acknowledged. As detailed below, the German-Israeli-American effort ultimately led to a grave in the town of Embu, Brazil. There, on June 6, 1985, remains were unearthed of a man who had ostensibly died in 1979. Within days, an international team of forensic scientists completed the examination of the badly decomposed remains and identified them as being those of Josef Mengele.
On June 21, 1985, the Attorney General announced that, after careful study, the United States had accepted the conclusion of the scientists that Mengele was dead. However, neither the German nor the Israeli governments took any official position at that time. Indeed, all three governments agreed that the investigation should continue, until all major unresolved questions could be answered. Eventually, the only task still uncompleted was a proposed attempt to subject the Embu remains to the comparatively new technique of DNA-typing.
For reasons explained below, that effort was stymied for more than four years. The Department of Justice agreed to the request of its German and Israeli partners that it withhold release of this report so long as there remained a possibility that the DNA test could be accomplished. That possibility was at last realized in early 1992.
In March 1992, a team of British experts engaged by the Frankfurt State Prosecutor for the purpose of conducting the scientifically unprecedented DNA analysis of the Embu remains concluded that beyond reasonable doubt they were those of Josef Mengele. Upon reviewing the scientists report, the German and Israeli governments announced on April 8, 1992, that they too now acknowledged officially that Mengele was dead. With the completion of the DNA examination, this report can at last be issued.
Part 1 : Postwar Whereabouts – The Four-Part Focus
In early 1985, Mengele’s whereabouts following the war and the behavior of US personnel and institutions involved in the occupation of Germany became the focus of intense public interest and speculation. Four allegations emerged :
(1) that Mengele was a prisoner of war in US custody in 1945 and had been knowingly released;
(2) that he had lived openly under his own name in his own home town following the war, with tacit US approval;
(3) that he was arrested by US forces in Vienna in 1946 and released;
(4) that he was used by US intelligence agencies which then assisted him in escaping Europe for South America in 1949
The initial part of this report addresses each of the above allegations. The first section, Mengele as POW, focuses on the claim that Mengele was a US POW in the summer of 1945. This section discusses the policy and procedures implemented in US POW camps in the period immediately following the war and describes Mengele’s movements in those days.
The second section, the Guenzburg Question, deals with the widely believed claim that Mengele lived openly under his own name in the US zone of occupation from 1945-1949. This section reviews the US presence in Guenzburg and accounts for Mengele’s whereabouts following the summer of 1945, until his escape to South America in 1949.
In the third section, the Post-War Search for Mengele, we address the possible arrest of Mengele by US forces in Vienna in 1946, and examine efforts to seek out, apprehend and prosecute Josef Mengele immediately following the war. Focusing on a memorandum mentioning such an arrest, written by a US Army Counter Intelligence Corps agent named Gorby, this section examines US efforts to seek out, apprehend, and prosecute Josef Mengele. It has been suggested that, as in the case of Klaus Barbie, US intelligence agencies used Mengele and aided his escape from justice. (The US intelligence relationship with Barbie was documented in a report prepared by OSI and released by the Department in 1983.)
The final section, The Barbie Analogy, deals with those issues.
The Search for Evidence
Although the ultimate purpose of the investigation into Mengele’s whereabouts from 1945-1949 was to determine the actions of US institutions and personnel, it became clear that answers to key questions would not come solely from documents and individuals in the United States. To ascertain, for instance, whether Mengele had been a POW in US custody and, if so, the nature of his custody, OSI had, among other tasks, to identify, locate, and interview surviving former fellow prisoners; only then could it be established when and where Mengele had been confined. Once the POW camps had been identified, OSI was able to locate individuals who were responsible for guarding and discharging Mengele.
In June 1985, Rolf Mengele, Josef Mengele’s son, turned over approximately 5000 pages of his father’s diaries and autobiographical writings to a West German mass-circulation magazine. OSI gained access to this material. Because a good deal of evidence, both documentary and testimonial, was located in Germany, a necessary and critical part of the investigation took place there. However, since OSI’s investigation was not a traditional criminal inquiry, German law enforcement authorities provided no assistance to OSI in locating witnesses. Nor, for the same reason, could witnesses be compelled to speak with OSI. The German authorities did, however, conduct witness interviews and provide OSI with copies of their reports.
Despite these handicaps, OSI, with the assistance of many individuals and agencies, succeeded in answering all the questions raised at the beginning of the investigation. However, the special difficulties encountered because of the lack of criminal jurisdiction and the scattered witnesses and evidence necessitated a longer and more resourceful effort than otherwise would have been the case. With assistance from the US Army, the National Archives and Records Administration, and many other institutions in the US and abroad, OSI undertook an unprecedented search for evidence, locating and reviewing documents scattered around the world and tracing and interviewing numerous witnesses.
Since western Germany was occupied and administered by the United States Army during the pertinent period of this inquiry, most of the research centered on Army documents and personnel. The largest and most relevant documentary sources were the intelligence branches of the US Army, especially the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC). Most of the surviving records of the Army intelligence organizations stationed in Europe immediately after the war were microfilmed in the 1950’s and transferred to the Investigative Records Repository (IRR) at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. These microfilmed records have been of limited value, however, because the indices and finding aids are incomplete and cumbersome to use.
When the Mengele investigation began, no one had a complete knowledge of their contents or organization. Although IRR personnel had located approximately twenty indices for various portions of the microfilm, some were incomplete and others were no longer useful for locating the records to which they referred. Moreover, a considerable portion of the microfilmed records had never been indexed.
The Army’s Mengele Task Force undertook a massive research effort to review and index, on a frame-by-frame basis, all rolls of microfilm for which no indices existed at the IRR; at the same time, OSI conducted research in the remaining microfilmed records, using the available finding aids. In addition, IRR personnel searched hard-copy files for documents relating to Mengele or to leads developed by the Mengele investigation. Between March 18 and October 31, 1985, the Task Force reviewed 326 reels of unindexed microfilm and placed 272,319 entries into the Defense Central Index of Investigations (DCII), a central computerized index. The IRR also reviewed and indexed 142 catalogs and 27 microfilm reels of indices.
The microfilm reviewed by the IRR consisted of records of the G-2 (Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence) of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF), and of the 17th, 66th, 430th and 970th CIC Detachments, which were stationed in Germany, Austria and Italy. Following guidelines devised by OSI, the IRR searched the records for all references to a variety of subjects, including :
Mengele, including spelling variations and suspected aliases;
Persons related to or suspected of involvement with Mengele;
War crimes and criminals;
SS, including affiliated organizations (e.g., Gestapo, SD);
Places where Mengele was suspected to have resided;
Certain CIC operations;
International Red Cross;
Emigration to South America;
As an ancillary benefit, the Department of the Army’s efforts have proven to be of great utility in OSI’s ongoing efforts to locate Nazi persecutors living in the United States. The IRR gave OSI unprecedented access to its microfilmed files. OSI’s research at IRR covered three general categories :
1 : advising the IRR staff and reviewing any material discovered;
2 : searching the indexed and partially indexed microfilmed records for material relating to leads developed in the investigation; and
3 : locating and reviewing files relating not only to the subjects already listed, but also to a variety of other topics, including : the search for and the identification, apprehension, interrogation, internment, transfer, extradition, escape, or release of war criminals, prisoners of war, or persons falling under the automatic arrest categories; underground activities of members of the Nazi Party, the SS, or the German armed forces; CIC informants and operations; the procurement, manufacture, or use of false identity documents, passports, or discharge papers.
Along with the search for records at the IRR, OSI conducted research at a number of archives and records repositories throughout the world. The assistance of the staffs of the following institutions is gratefully acknowledged :
National Archives (Washington, D.C.)
Washington National Records Center (Suitland, MD)
Library of Congress
Public Records Office & Department of Army Legal Services (London)
Archive of the French Foreign Ministry (Paris and Colmar)
Yad Vashem Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority (Jerusalem)
Auschwitz State Museum Archives (Oswiecim)
Main Commission for the Investigation of Hitlerite Crimes (Warsaw)
Deutsche Dienststelle (Berlin)
Berlin Document Center
International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)
Bundesarchiv (Koblenz and Freiburg)
State Attorney’s Office [Staatsanwaltschaft] (Frankfurt)
As a complement to its documentary research, OSI conducted over 100 interviews in the United States and abroad, The US Army and the staff of the National Personnel Records Center in St Louis were instrumental in locating individuals of interest to this investigation, often working with only limited personnel data.
Mengele’s Autobiography as a Source
No documents surfaced concerning Mengele’s residences between 1945 and 1948. Moreover, the best witnesses for such information namely, Hans Sedlmeier, an official of the Mengele family-owned company who played an important role in that period, and key members of the Mengele family, all refused to cooperate with OSI in this investigation. Of family members, only Rolf Mengele, his son, spoke with OSI. Martha Mengele, Josef’s second wife, and widow of his brother, Karl, initially agreed to speak with OSI but cancelled the interview at the last minute, Irene Hackenjos, Mengele’s first wife, refused to be interviewed.
Initially, therefore, OSI’s only recourse was to Mengele’s own version of his activities, as reflected in a series of postwar notebooks. This source must, of course, be approached very cautiously. An OSI representative carefully analyzed these writings after being granted access by the West German publishing company Burda Verlag, whose Bunte Magazine was given exclusive publication rights to the diaries. Special thanks are due to Bunte publisher Norbert Sakowski, and his staff for their generous assistance.
In a letter to his son dated September 17, 1976, Josef Mengele described a project that he had undertaken to record his experiences. He indicated that during the period 1961-1962 he began writing an account of his life, from birth through the beginning of the First World War, and that he had continued it through a portion of his student days. He abandoned this project for about eight years, he said, but, in 1970, renewed the effort, beginning with a narrative of his flight from Innsbruck, Austria, to Genoa, Italy, and then reworked the portion dealing with his studies.
As of the date of the letter (September 17, 1976), he claimed to be working on the farm period – the period immediately after the war, during which he lived on a farm near Rosenheim, Germany. What makes Mengele’s writing project problematic from an investigative standpoint is that he chose to relate his experiences in the form of an autobiographical novel, the story, as he put it, of a man marked in very special ways by his time. While he acknowledged that this genre required a certain standard of form and style, he believed it allowed a flexible treatment of difficult themes, the exchangeability of one’s’ own experiences and those of other people, as well as the typifying of events and people of a certain period. (Letter from Josef Mengele to Rolf Mengele, September 17, 1976, Burda Verlaq)
In addition, the form permitted the easy elucidation of inner connections, causes, completions, and finally the displacement of fate onto entire groups. Clearly, this so-called autobiographical novel presents problems as a historical source, and cannot be relied upon as being completely accurate. However, OSI was able to verify the key facts and events independently, and determined that they were, in large part, accurately portrayed. In sum, the writings proved to be an invaluable launching point for various aspects of OSI’s investigation. Even though Mengele changed the names of individuals and places, compressed some events, and shifted motives and characteristics onto other persons, his autobiographical novel provides important guidance in answering the limited questions of where he was and when he was there.
I. The Idar-Oberstein Ouestion : Mengele a POW ?
In February 1985, Walter Kempthorne, a US Army veteran, made headlines internationally when he claimed that he had seen Josef Mengele at Idar-Oberstein, a US POW camp, in the summer of 1945. Shortly afterwards, Richard A. Schwarz, another US Army veteran, also disclosed that he guarded a POW at Idar-Oberstein reputed to have been a sterilization doctor. The publicity surrounding these revelations led, in part, to the February 5, 1985 decision by the Attorney General to initiate an investigation concerning Mengele’s postwar whereabouts. (This allegation was also one of the issues examined in Senate hearings, held on February 19, 1985, that led to the establishment of the Department of the Army Mengele Task Force)
As a first step in its investigation, OSI set out to determine if Mengele had, in fact, been a prisoner at Idar-Oberstein. After determining that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he had been, OSI examined the entire question of Mengele’s postwar whereabouts, and ascertained that Mengele had been in US custody elsewhere. This section of the report describes Mengele’s capture, internment, and release from US captivity during the chaotic period immediately after the war.
A. The Idar-Oberstein Camp
Both Kempthorne and Schwarz served at the 51st Civilian Internment Enclosure (CIE) located in the XXIII Corps area. Records from the journal of Schwarz’s unit (HQ of the 673rd Field Artillery Battalion) indicate that Battery B assumed guard duty for a displaced persons camp and POW enclosure at Idar-Oberstein on April 19, 1945. (HQ, 673rd FAB 14.19 Apr 1945; NARA : RG407, Office of the Adjutant General, WWII Ops Reports, 1940-49; FBN 673-0.7). The same records reveal that Battery B was relieved of service with the XXIII Corps on June 12, 1945. (Rempthorne’s recollection is that he began his duties shortly after Schwarz’s unit departed). On July 11, the French II Corps assumed administration of Idar-Oberstein and the camp located there. (Records of the XXIII Corps). The camp had a population of 3177 male and 152 female interned civilians as well as 233 male and 26 female temporarily detained civilians. Two persons claiming to be citizens of the United States and 200 suspected war criminals who had been interned in this camp were removed to Stuttgart, within the United States zone, prior to the turnover of the camp to the French (Report of Operations, XXIII Corps, 1-31 July 45; NARA : RG407, Box 5027). XXIII Corps records also contain a roster of prisoners turned over to French administration (Roster of Prisoners PW Camp No. 51; NARA : RG407, Box 35758) and a list of the 200 alleged war criminals (Hq. XXIII Corps, Office of the Provost Marshal, Roster CI #51, 10 July 45, NARA : RG407, Box 35758) transferred to another US camp near Stuttgart. Neither the name Josef Mengele nor any of his known aliases appear on this list. Likewise, his name does not appear on the roster of over 3000 prisoners handed over to the French.
2. The Idar-Oberstein Revelations
In the early summer of 1945, Walter Kempthorne was serving with the US Army 1280th Engineer Combat Battalion, which was attached to Headquarters, XXIII Corps. According to a July 10, 1945 entry in his father’s diary, Kempthorne was assigned to guard duty at a camp at Idar-Oberstein sometime at the end of June or the beginning of July 1945. (Kempthorne had written to his father on July 2, 1945, describing his transfer to an MP detachment assigned to guard POWs. OSI interview with Walter Kempthorne, March 13, 1985). The camp was located in what became the French zone of occupation in mid-July 1945, and was transferred to French administration on or about July 10. Kempthorne served at the camp for approximately two weeks, and recalled for OSI that he performed both tower and perimeter guard duty. In an interview with OSI, Kempthorne described how he and John Hall, a fellow guard who had dealings in the camp with one of the interior guards, entered one of the buildings inside the camp.
According to Kempthorne, they went down a flight of stairs, and, at the bottom, observed a prisoner standing rigidly at attention, breathing hard and perspiring profusely, as if he had just completed rigorous exercise. When Kempthorne asked one of the two guards who was with the prisoner what was going on, the guard replied that he was getting the prisoner in shape to be hanged. According to Kempthorne, the guard referred to the prisoner as Mengele, the bastard who sterilized 3,000 women at Auschwitz. Although the names Mengele and Auschwitz did not mean anything to Kempthorne at the time, he is fairly certain that he accurately recalls the guard’s statement. Kempthorne described the prisoner as being about 5’8” or 5’9″, weighing about 165 pounds. He had black hair that was thinning in the middle and appeared to have been treated with some kind of substance to make it lighter. Kempthorne claims that the prisoner was wearing horn-rimmed glasses which were too large for his head and which made his eyes look bigger than they actually were. He believes the prisoner was dressed in civilian clothes.
Shortly after learning of Kempthorne’s revelations, Richard A. Schwarz wrote to New York Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato regarding his experience as a guard with the 673rd Field Artillery Battalion (FAB) at Idar-Oberstein in late May and early June 1945. In describing his temporary assignment of guarding war criminals (OSI Interview with Richard Schwarz, March 6, 1985), Schwarz recalled that one prisoner had the reputation of being a sterilization doctor. Schwarz does not recall the name of that individual, but as proof of the existence of the doctor he offered a letter he had received from one of his friends, Gene Bokor, written in 1945, which refers to a letter that Schwarz, himself, had written to Bokor describing his guard duty. Bokor wrote to Schwarz that your description of your prison chores with the SS men, the sterilization doctor, etc. was very interesting. (Letter, Gene Bokor to Richard Schwarz, Property of Richard Schwarz). Schwarz told OSI that he served with a Thomas W. Riley, who had also guarded the doctor. OSI contacted Riley, (Interview with Thomas W. Riley, May 15, 1985), who recalls having served in a prison camp and having guarded POWs. His description of the physical layout of the camp matched those of Schwarz and Kempthorne. Riley vaguely recalled a sterilization doctor, but could not remember names or details. OSI searched for others who might have been able to supply information about the sterilization doctor at Idar-Oberstein with no success (For example, we interviewed Lee Kaufman, the commander of the camp, who recalled nothing about any doctor. OSI interview with Lee Kaufman, March 21, 1985. Other possible witnesses, such as Col Sherman Watts, the Provost Marshal of XXIII Corps and Capt William Haney, commander of Battery B of the 673rd FAB, are deceased).
Schwarz’s recollections, along with the letter he sent to his friend, support the conclusion that a doctor suspected of committing sterilizations was interned at Idar-Oberstein. The records, however, do not support Kempthorne’s more pointed claim that this individual was Josef Mengele. Kempthorne states that he was inside the camp on only one occasion, and while he believes he was told that the prisoner was named Mengele, he admits that the name, Mengele, and the place, Auschwitz, would have meant nothing to him at that time. Under the circumstances and in the absence of any corroborating evidence, OSI cannot conclude that Mengele was interned at Idar-Oberstein.
B. Thomas Berchthold
Information concerning Mengele’s possible internment in an Allied POW camp (this one a British camp) was provided by another individual, a former German POW. In the summer of 1964, a letter appeared in the Guenzburqer Zeitung, the local newspaper in Mengele’s home town, Guenzburg, Germany, concerning an encounter with Josef Mengele in a British POW camp in the summer of 1945. The writer was Thomas Berchthold from Burgau, Germany, which is in the Guenzburg district. Berchthold wrote that he had been a soldier in a German antiaircraft unit and had been taken prisoner by the British near Luebeck, Germany, on May 2, 1945 (See also Deutsche Dienststelle record on Thomas Berchthold). He was held in a British POW camp near Neumuenster, and there came in contact with a man he believed was Josef Mengele. According to his account (Guenzburqer Zeitung Summer 1964), Berchthold exchanged cigarettes for tins of ham with a prisoner who recognized his Swabian accent and drew him into conversation.
According to Berchthold, this man, who was in an officer’s uniform and came from the SS section of the camp, told him that he was Josef Mengele. Berchthold had doubts at first because Mengele’s accent did not seem correct. When he met this individual again the following day, the reputed Mengele described his own imminent release and offered to take a postcard to Berchthold’s relatives. The man, however, never reappeared, and Berchthold assumes that he fled Europe by way of Denmark or Sweden. Berchthold told his story again in 1985 to a German journalist who questioned him closely (OSI interview with Hermann Abmayr, May 31, 1985. Gedaechtnisprotokoll, Hermann Abmayr, March 9, 1985), and an account of it appeared in the German magazine Konkret (Konkret, Vol. 4; April 1985). When asked whether, he might have confused Mengele with someone else, Berchthold stated that was impossible because the person who claimed to be Mengele knew too many details about the Mengele family’s farm equipment firm in Guenzburg. However, when Berchthold was subsequently interviewed by the German police (Interview with Thomas Berchthold by German authorities, April 27, 1985), his story was significantly different from his letter to the newspaper and his conversation with the German journalist. Berchthold told the police that his fellow prisoner in the English POW camp told him that he came from Mengele in Guenzburg, presumably meaning the factory; he did not say that he was Mengele. Berchthold also told the police that the individual never mentioned his first name. Moreover, Berchthold could not identify any photographs of Mengele. Because the letter to the Guenzburg newspaper was written in 1964, before Mengele’s immediate postwar activity was the source of speculation, it is quite possible that Berchthold believed that he saw Mengele in the British POW camp. The most powerful proof that he was mistaken, however, lies in the overwhelming evidence that Mengele was elsewhere between May 2 and June 15, 1945, as discussed below.
C. Josef Mengele : American POW
Having determined that there was no credible evidence that Mengele was interned at Idar-Oberstein or the British camp at Neumuenster, OSI commenced an independent investigation into Mengele’s movements during the period immediately following the war. The nature of the surviving records made the task extremely difficult. Fortunately, after locating key witnesses and gaining access to Mengele’s autobiographical writings, a clear picture emerged concerning when, where, and how Mengele was taken into custody, held, and eventually released by US forces.
1. POW Records Reveal Little
The fragmentary state of the surviving records is the major obstacle in determining whether any given individual was held by US forces immediately after the war. Records have not survived for POWs in American custody who were released before approximately September 1945. (There is a technical distinction for those German prisoners taken into custody before the end of hostilities, ‘POWs’ and the masses of individuals classified as Disarmed Enemy Forces, who fell under US jurisdiction after hostilities ceased. For the purposes of this report, however, all German military personnel in US custody will be referred to as POWs)
OSI inspected US POW files retained by the Prisoner of War Information Bureau (PWIB) and later transferred to Germany (The early Standard Operating Procedures [SOP] for handling of POWs included a requirement to forward a copy of the POW form to the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects (CROWCASS). Disbandment of German Disarmed Forces 19 May 45 RG338; VIII Corps; AG Records BX7570. This practice was halted as impractical and all copies of the POW forms, some 8 million, were destroyed. Report by United States and British Delegation to Permanent Commission for CROWCASS, RG466 War Crimes Office JAG; Bonn Embassy, Extradition Board Files. These files were transferred to Germany in 1965 under arrangement with the German Government).
They are now maintained by the Deutsche Dienststell in Berlin where, along with German military personnel records, they are consulted in the process of evaluating pension and other claims by former German servicemen based on their service in the armed forces of Nazi Germany.
Officials at the Deutsche Dienststelle confirmed that the United States did not keep copies of records for those German prisoners (The Deutsche Dienststelle is an institution similar to the US National Military Records Center in St Louis), who were in custody and who were released before approximately September 1945 (OSI verified this by searching for records of individuals known to be US prisoners released before September 1945. No records were found.). Accordingly, if, as this investigation ultimately established (see discussion infra), Josef Mengele had been in US custody and released during the summer of 1945, it would not be possible to confirm those facts through American POW records, nor would it be possible to prove that Mengele was not a US prisoner of war. Personnel records at the Deutsche Dienststelle do, however, reveal that there were 17 individuals named Josef Mengele who served with the German armed forces during World War II. (A list of individuals detained by the US compiled by the PWIB and currently maintained by the National Archives contains three listings for a Josef Mengele. An analysis of the original records, now at the Deutsche Dienststelle, from which the list was compiled indicates that all three references to Josef Mengele refer to one man who was taken prisoner in Italy in 1943, when the criminal Mengele still was at Auschwitz.).
Of these seventeen, only one is listed as having been an American POW, but this individual could not be the Josef Mengele who was an SS doctor at Auschwitz. The only other possible documentary proof that Mengele was a POW would be a POW roster that might have survived in the records of the Provost Marshal or other units responsible for the guarding of US POW camps. In the course of this investigation hundreds of boxes of archival records were screened for such rosters; Mengele’s name appeared on none. Accordingly, the conclusions which follow – as to Mengele’s movements after the war, his arrest, capture and release by the US – are based on witness testimony and on Mengele’s autobiographical writings.
2. Mensele’s Immediate Postwar Movements
a. Mengele Joins Hospital Unit
In the final days of the war, Josef Mengele, wearing a German Army (not SS) officer’s uniform, appeared at a German military field hospital in Saaz, in the Sudetenland. The head of internal medicine for this unit, Kriegslazarett (Field Hospital) 2/591, a mobile hospital attached to KriegslazarettAbteilung 59, was Dr Otto-Hans Kahler, an old friend of Mengele’s who had worked with him at Dr von Verschuer’s Institute before the war. (OSI interview with Otto-Hans Kahler, September 22, 1985). Kahler recognized his friend and, at Mengele’s request, asked the commander of the unit for permission for Mengele to join them. (It is interesting to note that, according to Kahler, Mengele was at this time suffering from severe depression, to the point of contemplating suicide during the period they were together immediately following the war. In fact, Kahler told OSI that he consulted Dr Fritz Ulmann, a neurologist in the unit who presumably had an understanding of psychological issues about Mengele. Kahler says he referred Mengele to Ulmann and asked him to look after his former colleague. Kahler does not speculate as to the cause of Mengele’s depression, but does indicate that Mengele spoke openly about having performed selections at Auschwitz).
The commander apparently assented, since Mengele was with the unit at the time it broke camp and moved northwestward from Saaz through Karlsbad. The unit came to rest in a forest encampment in the Erzgebirge. The unit stopped in an area that was still unoccupied by any Allied power. This no man’s land fell formally within the US area of responsibility but lay east of the forward US line. As a result, German troops, with the Red Army to their east and the halted American Army to their west, were stuck between them in the heavy forests just north of the Czech border in what later became East Germany. Although these Germans had nowhere to go, staying where they were entailed the risk of capture by the Soviet Army, a universally dreaded fate.
b. No Man’s Land
Apparently, in the confusion of the move, Kahler was separated from Mengele, who had fallen in with another element of KriegslazarettAbteilung 591. Dr Fritz Ulmann, a neurologist with the staff of this unit, recalls that Mengele was with him in ‘no man’s land’. (OSI interview with Dr Fritz Ulmann, October 1, 1985). Unlike Kahler, however, Ulmann did not know Mengele and did not become aware of his identity until after they left the forest in the Erzgebirge.
According to Ulmann, an American officer contacted his unit shortly after it arrived in ‘no man’s land’, assuring them that no harm would come to the prisoners and instructing them to remain where they were. Mengele and his colleagues stayed in their forest encampment for approximately six weeks. In mid-June, the field hospital was ordered to move westward into the American zone, due to the impending occupation of the area by the Soviet Army. According to US military records, responsibility for German troops in the area would have fallen to the Soviet Army except in areas agreed upon locally. (SHAEF to Twelfth Army Gp., 12 June 1945; NARA : RG407, WWII Ops. Rpts. 1940-48, VIII Corps, 208-3.2, Box 4055). Mengele’s autobiographical account reveals that he and his comrades greatly feared capture by the Soviets. At the end of the war, my unit was in Czechoslovakia and on the night of the armistice we moved toward the west and reached the Saxony area where we were held by the Americans and where the Russians at first could not follow us. We were in a type of no man’s land. As long as we had food, the only thing that worried us was when the area would fall. Finally as the food was becoming more and more scarce, and the rumors that the Russians would occupy the area increased, we decided to take action. With a few vehicles from our medical unit, we formed a column and through a trick were able to drive through the American lines and reached the Bavarian area. In the neighborhood of the first large city, we were naturally stopped and were brought to an American prison camp. We achieved our goal just as we were running out of fuel (Mengele Papers : ‘Die Bauernzeit’).
Mengele’s account is consistent with the available evidence, except that US military documents and Ulmann’s testimony establish that the medical column’s movement through the American lines was by agreement, and was not, as Mengele suggests, accomplished surreptitiously. Although Ulmann told OSI that the Americans contacted the German field hospital when it was in ‘no man’s land’, it is unlikely that the identity of any of the field hospital personnel was communicated to the Americans. The question of Mengele’s identity at that time is also complicated by Mengele’s alleged use of different names. Ulmann, who had the responsibilities of a ‘deputy battalion commander’, took roll call from time to time, and remembers that Mengele used at least four or five different names while he was with him in this forest encampment.
c. Camp One : Schauenstein
When the field hospital moved westward into the American zone in Bavaria, its personnel were taken into US custody, and Kahler was reunited with Mengele. The three doctors, Kahler, Ulmann, and Mengele, were interned in a POW camp near the city of Hof. Several facts led OSI to conclude that the camp was in the city of Schauenstein. (1) : Both Kahler and Ulmann recall being housed in a building that contained large bolts of cloth. The only POW camp in the Hof area that matches this description was located in Schauenstein, in the CA Waldenfels spinning mill, which produced ball bearings during the war, and was also used as a cloth warehouse for the German Navy; (2) : OSI located the former commander of the guard detail at Schauenstein and received a photograph of the main yard at the POW camp from him. Both Ulmann and Hahler identified this photograph as the POW camp where they were interned; (3) : The Zahlmeister (Paymaster) of Kahler’s unit confirmed along with Mengele, that Schauenstein was the location of the camp. (During a followup OSI telephone conversation with Otto-Hans Kahler on February 6, 1986, Kahler disclosed that he had pursued with his former paymaster the question raised by OSI, when the two met at a veterans reunion. According to Kahler, the paymaster confirmed that the camp was in Schauenstein. Ulmann told OSI that the camp was at Naila, but this can be explained by the fact that Schauenstein was in Landkreis Naila).
OSI dates Mengele’s arrival at Schauenstein to the middle of June 1945 (Records of the US VIII Corps indicate that arrangements to clear the ‘no man’s land’ of German troops were instituted in mid-June). According to Kahler, Mengele initially used the name Josef Memling when he was registered at the camp. Memling was a famous Bavarian painter, and Kahler, an art enthusiast, distinctly recalls that Mengele used it early on at the camp. Accordingly, it can be presumed that Mengele did not have with him any papers which would have exposed his true name and revealed his status as an SS officer. It is more likely that Mengele discarded his identity papers, choosing to risk the possible penalties of being without them over the almost certain consequences of admitting the truth. As an added advantage, Josef Mengele, according to both Ulmann and Kahler, did not have an SS tattoo, the significance of which is discussed below.
The camp at Schauenstein was established in late April or early May 1945 (OSI interview with Sofia Notz, February 7, 1986), initially under the control of the 9th Armored Division (In early June, the 76th Infantry Division took control the area). Paul M. O’Bryan, a platoon leader in Fox Company of the 385th Infantry Regiment was sent to Schauenstein to assume responsibility for the security of the camp (OSI interview with Paul M. O’Bryan, February 10, 1986) According to O’Bryan, no prisoners were discharged at Schauenstein before July. Two officers, Lt Victor Simone and Lt Kenneth Austin, arrived at Schauenstein a few weeks after O’Bryan, and established a discharge center to begin the process of releasing prisoners.
O’Bryan recalls that no files were maintained on German prisoners except those kept by the prisoners themselves, until discharge procedures were established. It is likely, therefore, that no American authority was aware of precisely who was in custody at Schauenstein until sometime in July 1945. The American authorities at Schauenstein relied heavily on German personnel to handle administrative matters (For example, O’Bryan recalls that two individuals, both named Schmidt, interpreted for American authorities and prisoners and handled administrative details and that the discharge center had five German clerks to process the paperwork. Simone remembers a man named ‘Karl’ who, throughout the discharge procedure, acted as interpreter and generally got things done. Ibid.; OSI interview with Victor Simone, February 12, 1986) The result of this reliance on German personnel meant that no American had direct contact with the mass of prisoners interned at Schauenstein.
Shone indicated that no lists of wanted persons were consulted in the discharge process, and that SS members, who were not released, were identified by blood-type tattoo and/or identification papers. Since Mengele did not have a blood-type tattoo, and since any identification papers he might have used presumably did not disclose his SS affiliation, it is likely that he succeeded in remaining unrecognized at Schauenstein.
d. Camp Two : Helmbrechts
Both Kahler and Ulmann told OSI that they remained in the first camp for approximately six weeks, after which they were transferred with Mengele to another camp, south of Schauenstein, where they remained for approximately two weeks before being released.
Based on Ulmann’s recollection, OSI believes that this second camp was the one located at Helmbrechts a city south of Schauenstein and west of Hof (76th Inf. Div, G-1 periodic report 15 July 45; NARA : RG407 WWII Ops. Rpts. Box, 11459. OSI interview with Ulmann) Ulmann maintains that he and Mengele were discharged from this second camp. His discharge certificate was signed by an officer assigned to the 400th Armored Field Artillery Battalion (AFAB), a unit that was stationed in the Helmbrechts area in August 1945 (Appendix, p. 62, for a copy of Ulmann’s Discharge Certificate which OSI obtained from him. Elements of the 400th AFAB were also stationed at a POW camp at Muenchberg. The possibility exists, therefore, that Ulmann, and hence Mengele, were sent there instead of Helmbrechts).
On or about July 1, 1945, Battery A of the 302nd Fld Arty Bn (302nd FAB), 76th Division, was assigned to establish and run the camp at Helmbrechts. The Battery had been in charge of a POW camp in Gera which was turned over to Soviet Army administration at the end of June. The Battery, along with prisoners who resided in the western part of Germany, went south and set up on the site of a former German labor camp at Helmbrechts. On July 31, 1945, Battery B of the 400th AFAB was transferred to Helmbrechts, where it apparently supplemented Battery A of the 302nd FAB.
Discharging prisoners was the order of the day at Helmbrechts. Unlike Schauenstein, which had a fairly stable population, there was a high turnover at Helmbrechts. One of the buildings at the camp was dedicated to the discharge process. Long tables were set up, and the prisoners filed down the central corridor. Cleveland Kirk, a lieutenant with the 302nd FAB, and one of the officers who was in charge of overseeing the discharge process, recalled for OSI what transpired at Helmbrechts (OSI interview with Cleveland Kirk, November 27, 1985)
All of the prisoners were inspected for SS tattoos. Those who were found to be in the SS were subject to a different standard of review than the other prisoners. Those who did not have SS tattoos were released if there was nothing suspicious in their papers. If questions were raised, the prisoner was interrogated by one of the officers, with the help of one of the two interpreters in the camp. If questions still remained, the file or the individual himself was transferred to superior headquarters. According to Kirk, the discharge procedure was run by Sgt Eugene Greenstein, under whom served three or four lower ranking enlisted men, as well as several local Germans (Unfortunately, Eugene Greenstein, who was interviewed by OSI on December 4, 1985, can recall very little about his experience at Helmbrechts). Kirk believes that if an individual had no papers, he would have been interrogated by one of the officers. Kirk believes, although he is not certain, that wanted lists were relied upon during the discharge process (The role of wanted lists in discharging POWs is discussed in more detail in Section C1, below).
According to Kirk, although the population of the camp never exceeded 1000 POWs, there was a great deal of turnover. Indeed, a monthly report for the 302nd Field Artillery Battalion reveals that 2000 POWs were processed and discharged from the camp during July (Hqs, 302nd Field Artillery Battalion, History : 1 July 1945 to 31 July 1945; RG94, World War II Operations Reports 1940 to 1948, 76th Infantry Division, Box 11518) As prisoners were discharged, they were transported by truck to designated drop-off points within the US zone. According to Ulmann, he and Mengele were discharged at the same time. Although Ulmann’s discharge paper is not dated, it is signed by a Capt Claudius J. Walker, who was with the 400th AFAB. Walker arrived in the Helmbrechts area on July 31 and was transferred out on August 8. Thus, we can date Ulmann’s, and therefore Mengele’s, discharge to the first week of August 1945. Ulmann also asserted that Mengele was discharged under his own name, a claim supported by Kahler, who told OSI that he is fairly certain on this point (OSI interview of Dr Otto-Hans Kahler, September 22, 1985).
The credibility of this claim is discussed infra. In any event, OSI’s investigation has concluded that Mengele also received a copy of a discharge certificate belonging to a fellow internee at the camp, whom OSI has identified as Ulmann, and that he later used this as his own and as the basis for his alias during the postwar period (see discussion infra). When they were discharged, Ulmann and Mengele were taken by truck to Munich. Ulmann recalls that Mengele got off in or near the city of Ingolstadt, north of Munich and east of Guenzburg, Mengele’s hometown.
D. The Release of POWs
Mengele’s discharge from the American camp at Helmbrechts can be explained, in part, by the chaotic conditions in the summer of 1945, the procedures employed to discharge POWs, and the safeguards used to attempt to prevent the release of war criminals and suspects. On May 16, 1945, Gen Omar N. Bradley informed Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower that the German army supplies that the Seventh Army had been using to feed the disarmed enemy troops would run out that day. He added that within four days, all of the supplies that could be obtained from civilian sources in the area would also be depleted, concluding that these disarmed forces will either have to be fed or released (Cable, Hq., 12th Army Group, to SHAEF Forward, 16 May 1945, in SHAEF SGS 370.01. Quoted in Earl F. Ziemke. The US Army in the Occupation of Germany, 1944-1946)
Bradley asked for immediate authority to discharge German POWs. Although Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) could not authorize a blanket release, it did issue directives to expedite the discharge of prisoners. Some discharge directives had already been issued, including Disbandment
Directive No. 1, issued May 15, 1945, which authorized the release of Agricultural workers, coal miners, transport workers and such other key personnel as are urgently needed
Directive No. 2, also issued May 15, 1945, which authorized the discharge of women who were not members of the SS, concentration camp guards, or German)
Directive No. 3, issued on May 16, 1945, authorized the discharge of men over 50 years of age
Directive No. 4, issued on June 3, 1945, authorized the release, to their respective governments, of nationals of Belgium, France, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg who had served in the Wehrmacht (Ziemke, &, p 293. See appendix, p. 63, for Discharge Directives).
A report by SHAEF G-1 [Personnel], dated June 14, 1945, revealed anxiety that the present rate of discharge is not sufficiently rapid to enable disposal of prisoners of war and Disarmed German Forces to be completed before the water and before the food situation becomes acute. By early June, G-1’s attitude towards discharge, as reflected in an inspection report, was to discharge as many as possible as fast as possible without a great deal of attention to categories. This attitude was reflected in the 12th Army Group’s release rate, which averaged 30000 prisoners a day.
The 21st Army Group hoped to increase its discharge rate from 13000 to 20000 POWs a days (SHAEF G-1 Division, subject : Disbandment Directive No. 5, NARA 387.4/12, June 14, 1945). The Third Army alone had released over a half million disarmed enemy troops by June 8.
The US Army found itself in a very difficult situation. With over three million German POWs in custody, dwindling food supplies, and with a significant and growing displaced person population with its own pressing needs and problems, the US needed to discharge German POWs as quickly as possible. On June 29, 1945, SHAEF issued Disbandment Directive No. 5 which, in effect, authorized what had been going on for some time : a general discharge of German nationals held as prisoners of war, except those in automatic arrest categories, SS men, and war criminals (Ibid, page 294. The categories of those who were to be detailed is discussed in the next section of this Report) From that date, the Army discharged German POWs at an even faster rate. On July 5, 1945, SHAEF issued Disbandment No. 6, which authorized the release of non-German nationals not covered by earlier directives. By the middle of August, the rush appeared to be over.
For all purposes :
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
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Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be
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(NB : Published for Good – March 2019)