Josef Mengele's Experiments

Section by Jake Lakin

Josef Mengele background

Josef was born on March 16, 1911 in Günzburg Germany. He earned his Ph.D. in physical anthropology in 1937 from the University of Munich. He became the assistant of Dr. Otmar von Verschuer, who was widely known for his research with twins. In 1937 Mengele joined the Nazi party.1

In June of 1940 Mengele was drafted into the army; he then volunteered to help in medical service. In 1943 Mengele was wounded on campaign and was transferred back to Germany, and once there he started work at Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics.1

In April of 1943 he received a promotion and became SS Captain, and shortly after he was transferred to work at Auschwitz.1 This is where he started his infamous experiments.

Work at Auschwitz

When Mengele was assigned to Auschwitz he was assigned to run and operate the gas chambers and the crematorium. One survivor said that Mengele "...had a look that said 'I am the power,'". At one point an entire block of prisoners had lice, Mengele was asked what to do, he then sent the 750 women with lice to the crematorium to "solve the problem".2

Experiments with children

Mengele was fascinated with twins, witch he picked up from his former mentor Dr. Otmar von Verschuer.

Mengele had preformed physical and mental experiments on children, some experiments include, surgeries performed without anesthesia, transfusions of blood, isolation endurance, reaction to stimulants, injections with lethal germs, sex changes, the removal of organs and limbs, and impregnations.2

Many younger children looked up to Mengele as a father figure, because of the separation from their parents. Mengele would give these children chocolate and spoke calmly to these children. Older twins figured out Mengele's deception, and played along because of the fear of Mengele killing them for discovering his secret.2

First hand account

Eva Mozes Kor and her twin Miriam Mozes were one of the few twins who made it out of Auschwitz alive.3

Eva recalls her first steps into Auchwitz-

"When the doors to our cattle car opened, I heard SS soldiers yelling, "Schnell! Schnell!", and ordering everybody out. My mother grabbed Miriam and me by the hand. She was always trying to protect us because we were the youngest. Everything was moving very fast, and as I looked around, I noticed my father and my two older sisters were gone. 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. "Are they twins?" he asked my mother. "Is that good?" she replied. He nodded yes. "They are twins," she said."3

Eva and Miriam had endured many life threatening tests while in the hands of Mengele-

"I was given five injections. That evening I developed extremely high fever. I was trembling. My arms and my legs were swollen, huge size. Mengele and Dr. Konig and three other doctors came in the next morning. They looked at my fever chart, and Dr. Mengele said, laughingly, 'Too bad, she is so young. She has only two weeks to live .."3

Eva and Miriam witnessed horrific experiments while at Auchwitz-

"...a set of Gypsy twins was brought back from Mengele's lab after they were sewn back to back. Mengele had attempted to create a Siamese twin by connecting blood vessels and organs. The twins screamed day and night until gangrene set in, and after three days, they died ..."3


Out of the thousands of children who were sent to Mengele to be experimented on, only a select few survived into adulthood.3 Mengele was a major contributor to Hitler's final solution, even trying to change darker eye colors to more of a blue color of people who were racially "un-pure".4 Mengele was the only major contributor of the Final Solution who lived a "normal" life, he had fled to South America to avoid persecution.2