The Angel Of Death
While Dr. Mengele performed some of the most wicked and cruel human experiments, almost none of his experiments even could be used as actual research and were mostly just cruel torture.
Who was he?
Born Josef Mengele on March 16th, 1911 in Gunzburg, Germany, he was an officer and physician in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. Mengele was famous for "experimenting" on Jewish, Gypsy, and other children in the death camp. The full extent of his work is not quite known because most of his documents were destroyed or never recovered but there was enough incriminating evidence for him to have to flee to South America and live his life on the run. He died the 7th of February, 1979 outside of Sao Paulo when he suffered a stroke while going for a swim (Bulow).
Mengele wanted to experiment on twins. Mengele would take a shift as a selector when a new group of Jews would arrive at camp. He told all his men to keep an eye out for twins and to bring them to him if they were spotted. He also told them to bring them anyone with a unique hereditary trait such as dwarfs, giants, or someone with heterochromia (two different eye colors). When twins were found, they were separated from all the other prisoners. Approximately 3,000 twins were pulled like this and only 200 survived. Besides the experimentation, in some ways the twins were treated better than the regular prisoners. Twins got to keep their own clothes and hair. Mengele would arrive at the twin barrack every morning, the children, especially the younger ones did not associate him with fear as much as one would think. He was often referred to as "Uncle Mengele" and was known to give the kids candy and play with them. When the truck came for expirementation, this is when things took a turn for the worse. Blood was often drawn from the twins daily. Mengele would do different things to the twins, from simply measuring and comparing differences in their body to trying to create blue eyes by putting chemicals into the twins eyes. Mengele would perform surgeries without anaesthesia on the twins. These surgeries were often extremely painful and crippling. Mengele would purposely kill some of the children via injecting chloroform or phenol with needles pierced through to the heart in order to study them after death (Dekel, Lagnado)
Mengele and the 7 dwarves
Near midnight May 19th, 1944, 7 Jews were all lifted off a train. They wern't just ordinary Jews, they were all dwarves and related at that, they were the Ovitz family. The guards on duty knew of Mengele's interest in collecting people with hereditary differences so they roused him from his sleep. The dwarves were initially afraid of death because of what another Jewish prisoner told them but Mengele helped sooth these fears. He came along and saved them all from the gas chambers along with any other person associated with them. This is monumental considering that 3,100 of the 3,500 who had showed up that night had been killed immediately. They five women of the Ovitz family constantly tried to look their best in order to please Mengele. On the first day they were taken to his lab, they simply got their blood drawn. However, as the weeks progressed and they were getting weaker these blood drawings got tougher and tougher. Perla Ovitz said that they often fainted, only to have the blood drawing continue when they awoke. They underwent tests and also experiments such as having boiling water followed immediately by freezing water down their ears. Mengele asked the dwarves all sorts of questions about their background, he even asked questions about the dwarves sex lives and other lewd questions. Perla described Mengele as "a movie star, only more good looking" she stated that"anyone could easily fall in love with him. But no one who ever saw him could imagine that behind his beautiful face a beast was hiding. One day, he came to the dwarves barracks and stated that they would be going on a special trip and that they needed to look their very best, he gave them beauty and hygiene supplies in order for them to look good. The dwarves were taken to a large new building and put on stage in front of man high ranking SS officers. When they arrived on stage they were ordered to undress and then were humiliated as they were poked and prodded by Mengele to show that "Jews have been reduced to cripples and dwarves". All seven dwarves later made it home when Auschwitz was freed, a remarkable survivor story indeed. They performed as a troupe in Israel after the Holocaust (Negev).
The Ovitz Family
The gate at the camp read "Arbeit Macht Frei" meaning "work is freedom" which is ironic because most of the Jews were actually worked to death.
The Ovitz Family
Mengele's Human Experimentation | Nazi Hunters
Many of Josef's experiments were for the purpose of trying to change somebodies genetics to Aryan, however, many of experiments were also to try and benefit the German military with informations about wounds and treatments. Some of these experiments included the high altitude experiment. This involved a twin being locked into a low pressure, airtight chamber that would mimic a German pilot's descent out of a plan with no parachute or oxygen. Many people died due to the extreme air pressure changes. Another experiment was the freezing water experiment. This was used to try and find the best way to rewarm a soldier who had crashed their plane into freezing cold water or a soldier who got frozen fighting in snow. Subjects were forced into sitting in ice water for an amount of time, either clothed or unclothed and then brought out and attempted to be warmed up (Savage).
Every inch of the twins was measured and recorded, sometimes immediately after this they would be killed so that Mengele could dissect their bodies and measure and record information about their internal organs. The process of two twins procedure was a s follows. They had lots of body hair and were allowed to keep it for the first few weeks. The twins were showered and returned nude to the examination room. The examination started at the head . All parts of their heads were examined. The head examination took almost days. They were then completely X-rayed. The next part of the examination consisted of tubes being forced through their noses and into their lungs. They were then ventilated with a gas which caused them to cough so severely they had to be restrained. The sputum from the lungs was collected for examination (Rosenburg). Two boys also received two liters enemas. They were strapped to the table and gagged and then had a lower gastrointestinal examination. Another cruel thing he did was make twins sit in hot vats of water until they were ready to pass out. Then several hairs were plucked from the body, trying to save the hair roots. This process was repeated several times until enough hair was collected. Twins underwent castration or mutilation and many other forms of torture. It was almost better to die in a gas chamber rather than be subject to the horrors the survivors faced (Douglas).
Eva Mozes Kor: Her Story
Eva Mozes Kor and her twin sister, Miriam were just ten years of age when they first stepped foot in Auschwitz. Eva and Miriam quickly realized the things they would be exposed to as twins. One twin would be subject to a series of experiments while the other twin was used as the control. Eva was told after one series of injections that she only had two weeks left to live. She stated "I refused to accept this verdict". She knew that if she died, her sister would have been rushed to Mengele's lab and killed as well. Eva fought extremely hard to make sure she survived and ruined their experiments. They were both liberated nine months later by Russian troops. They had done it, they had both survived (Broder).