Mengele was always immaculately prepared for the long-drawn-out rituals of death, the hellish selections which the young SS doctor so regularly attended during his twenty-one months at Auschwitz.

In one case in which a mother did not want to be separated from her thirteen-year-old daughter, and bit and scratched the face of the SS man who tried to force her to her assigned line, Mengele drew his gun and shot both the woman and the child. As a blanket punishment, he then sent to the gas chamber all people from that transport who had previously been selected for work, with the comment: "Away with this shit!" (Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors.)

There were moments when his death mask gave way to a more animated expression, when Mengele came alive. There was excitement in his eyes, a tender touch in his hands. This was the moment when Josef Mengele, the geneticist, found a pair of twins.

Mengele was almost fanatical about drawing blood from twins, mostly identical twins. He is reported to have bled some to death this way.

Once Mengele's assistant rounded up 14 pairs of Gypsy twins during the night. Mengele placed them on his polished marble dissection table and put them to sleep. He then proceeded to inject chloroform into their hearts, killing them instantaneously. He then began dissecting and meticulously noting each and every piece of the twins' bodies.