The Angel of Death, Josef MengeleJosef Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor, is called the angel of death for a reason.
He was perhaps one of the most brutal killers of the holocaust, however, he did not kill Jews in the way other Nazi’s did. He dissected them, poisoned them, froze them, and tortured them to death, worst of all, he specialized in twins, and most of them were children. Josef Mengele lacks the horrific or abusive backstory to support his crimes in later life, in fact, Josef was a very normal, almost excellent kid. His family was very wealthy and he got extremely good grades. His social life was almost enviable, he was very popular with his peers and was also reported to be very funny and handsome. His father wanted Josef to work with him in farming tool manufacturing, which had already proved to be very profitable to the family.
Instead, Josef decided to study medicine and earned his Ph.D. in physical anthropology when he graduated. He decided to assist Dr. Otmar Verschuer (who specialized in twins) in the “Institute for hereditary biology and racial hygiene.” In 1937 he joined the Nazi party and the next year he got his medical degree and joined the SS. He was eventually was drafted into the army and served voluntarily and enthusiastically. After being wounded while on a campaign, he was sent home to Germany.
After being home for a while, he received a wound badge and went to Auschwitz as a medical officer. It is easy to say that he loved his job. He happily took shifts from other officers doing the selection, especially because it gave him the chance to personally choose his victims. Although he committed many murders via shooting and gassing, that wasn’t what gave him his nickname. Josef specialized in experiments. Human experiments.
He performed experiments that pushed the human body beyond its limits, often resulting in death. Some included high altitude, freezing, and seawater experiments along with various disease injections to see what treatment proved most effective. His most famous and arguably the most horrific ones he did were the ones he performed on twins. Mengele was most likely interested in twins because Dr. Otmar Verschuer, the man he assisted, specialized in them. During the selection, Josef would pick sets of twins, some identical and some not, and brought them to his lab.
The twins would receive extra food and he treated them with care, in fact, some may call them lucky because they lived much more luxurious than the other prisoners, that is until he started his experiments. First, Josef would make them undress and lay next to each other. He preceded to carefully measure them and take notes on every single difference. Sometimes he would inject a twin, or put dye in their eyes in an attempt to make them a different color. The twins were injected with illnesses and got closer to death every day.
The twins had to stay strong and help the other twin stay strong because if one twin died, the other was always killed. When both twins were killed, he would dissect them to see if they were the exact same inside, any differences, he figured, were due to environmental factors. At one point, he tried to create a Siamese twin by connecting the blood vessels from one twin to another, and the other victims watched as the two bodies were slowly stripped from life. Josef was one of the few Nazis that ran away and survived. In order to escape capture, he left his notes and specimens to a very trusted friend and headed west.
At one point he was captured by Americans but was released because the official war criminal list hadn’t been released officially yet. He worked on a farm for a while and eventually wound up heading out of the country. Even though he was on the run and one wrong step could end his life, he still got arrested for performing illegal abortions but got out of the trial using the power of money. In 1979 he went for a swim, got a stroke in the water, and drowned, but his legacy as one of the worst holocaust killers remains to this day.