Dr. Mengele Essay

This essay has a total of 1496 words and 6 pages.

Dr. Mengele


The life story of Josef Mengele is one that is filled many twists and turns that play out
like a suspense story with an ending that does not seem to fit what one would expect. The
authors of the book Mengele: The Complete Story, Gerald L. Posner and John Ware, wrote
this book largely with information taken from diaries and letters of Mengele's, and
interviews with those who knew him. It is a look into the life and times of a man whose
nickname was 'The Angel of Death.'; Josef's life and post-mortem fate could be divided
into three different chapters. His pre-war life and life during World War II was one of
privilege and freedom to satisfy his perverse desire to perform bizarre and mostly useless
medical experiments on unwilling participants in Nazi death camps. His post-war life
consisted of being constantly on the run; a lonely and depressed fugitive wanted by
countries worldwide for the atrocities he committed against Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and
others during World War II. His lonely death by drowning, in Brazil, and humiliating
post-mortem fate suited the man well. Although this report might seem to follow a
chronological order, it is not simply a telling of a life story. It is a look into who
Josef Mengele was, and how he changed over the years.

The authors underlying main theme, throughout the book, seemed to be to show that Josef
Mengele was not who his infamous legend would dictate. It is true that he was a cold and
ruthless killer who murdered thousands of innocent people. He earned the nickname 'The
Angel of Death'; for the way he would remain calm and composed while performing such
torturous an act as a live dissection of a human being. He had a sick fascination with
twins. He believed that twins held the secret to discovering how to perfect a master race.
The following is a description by Vera Alexander, a witness of Mengele's horrors, of a
common experiment Mengele would perform on twins:

'One day SS men came and took two children away. They were two of my pets, Tito and Nino.
One of them was a hunchback. Two or three days later, an SS man brought them back in a
terrible state. They had been cut. The hunchback was sewn to the other child, back to
back, their wrists back to back too. There was a terrible smell of gangrene. The cuts were
dirty and the children cried every night.';(P.37 par.4)


Forced childbirth, by jumping on a woman's stomach until the fetus was expelled from the
womb, needless amputations, and sterilization of thousands were just a few of the things
Mengele did that has earned him his reputation. However, this man who exhibited a sense of
strength and fierceness to his victims was neither physically or emotionally strong. He
was very insecure about his physical appearance, and constantly thought people were out to
get him. He felt he had to belittle others accomplishments in order to make himself feel
more confident. Mengele especially hated gypsies, and viewed them as more of a subspecies
than other groups he killed. The following passage, which comes from Mengele's arrest
warrant, which detailed his heinous crimes, illustrates his disregard for their lives:

'..On May 25th, 1943, Mengele sent 1035 gypsies suspected of typhus to the gas chamber,
and on May 25th and 26th he spared those Gypsies who were German while he sent
approximately 600 others to be gassed.';(p. 25 par.1)


What is ironic about this hatred is that Mengele himself was far from being considered
physically superior to anyone. In fact, 'since childhood, he had been self-conscious of
his slightly tawny skin, his penetrating brown-green eyes, and his dark hair. At school he
endured taunts from his classmates about his Gypsy looks.';(p. 25 par. 2) It could be seen
that his contempt for Gypsies might have arisen due to trauma he endured during childhood
from others, as well as a self-imposed trauma he brought upon himself, due to his unstable
personality. Mengele was plagued with sickness and disease his whole life, and tried
desperately to hide this fact. He was a vain man, who liked to preen himself in front of a
mirror. In fact, he refused to have his blood type tattooed on his chest, which was a Nazi
tradition, because he loved his smooth skin so much. This act of vanity was probably what
helped him evade capture initially. The blood type tattoo was the first thing the allies
checked for on suspected Nazi's when they liberated the death camps.

Josef Mengele's life on the run from the law was not how the movie 'The Boys from Brazil';
portrayed it. In the movie, Josef Mengele was shown living in South America in luxury,
wielding power over the still-existent Nazi party, with cloned Adolf Hitler's ready to
take over the world. This was far from the true lonely life of isolation he ended up
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