The haunting words of George
Santayana reminds us that the lessons of history are invaluable in
determining the course of the future: "Those who forget the
past are condemned to repeat it."
The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million
Jews by the Nazis during World War 2. In 1933 nine million Jews
lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be military
occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three
European Jews had been killed. 1.5 million children
were murdered. This figure includes more than 1.2 million Jewish
children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands of
Mengele, The Angel Of Death, and other Nazi
doctors tortured men, women and children
and did medical experiments of unspeakable horror during the Holocaust.
Victims were put into pressure chambers, tested with drugs,
castrated, frozen to death. Children were exposed to experimental
surgeries performed without anesthesia, transfusions of blood from
one to another, isolation endurance, reaction to various stimuli.
The Nazi doctors made injections with lethal germs, sex change
operations, removal of organs and limbs.
At Auschwitz Josef Mengele did a number of medical experiments,
using twins. These twins as young as five years of age were
usually murdered after the experiment was over and their bodies
dissected. Mengele injected chemicals into the eyes of the
children in an attempt to change their eye color. He carried out
twin-to-twin transfusions, stitched twins together, castrated or
sterilized twins. Many twins had limbs and organs removed in
macabre surgical procedures, performed without using an
Robert Jay Lifton tells in his great book The Nazi Doctors:
Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide how one
twin recalls the death of his brother:
Mengele had always been more interested in Tibi. I am not sure why
- perhaps because he was the older twin. Mengele made several
operations on Tibi. One surgery on his spine left my brother
paralyzed. He could not walk anymore. Then they took out his
sexual organs. After the fourth operation, I did not see Tibi
anymore. I cannot tell you how I felt. It is impossible to put
into words how I felt. They had taken away my father, my mother,
my two older brothers - and now, my twin .."
Only a few of the children survived Auschwitz. They later recalled
how they were visited by a smiling Uncle Mengele who brought them
candy and clothes. Then he had them delivered to his medical
laboratory either in trucks painted with the Red Cross emblem or
in his own personal car.
The memory of this slightly built man, scarcely a hair out of
place, his dark green tunic neatly pressed, his face well
scrubbed, his Death's Head SS cap tilted rakishly to one side,
remains vivid for those who survived his scrutiny when they
arrived at the Auschwitz railhead. Polished boots slightly apart,
his thumb resting on his pistol belt, he surveyed his prey with
those dead gimlet eyes. Death to the left, life to the right.
Josef Mengele and the Nazi doctors - masterminds of the horrors of
Holocaust - were found to be psychologically normal. They were men
of fine standing, cultured, husbands who morning and night kissed
their wives, fathers who tucked their children into bed ...
After the war many Nazi war
criminals escaped to Argentina using false identities supplied by
the Red Cross. The International Committee of the Red Cross has
said it unwittingly provided travel papers to at least 10 top
Nazis, including Adolf Eichmann, Klaus Barbie, Erich
Priebke and Josef Mengele ... A statement issued by
the ICRC, from its Geneva headquarters, said they were among
thousands of people found in refugee camps who were given Red
Cross travel documents.
Mengele fled to South America, but moved from country to country
afraid of being caught There were many warrants, rewards, and
bounties offered, but he was lucky.
divorced Irene Mengele and in 1958, Mengele married his brother
Karl's widow, Martha. Later she and her son moved to Argentina to
join him. His life had now established itself into the comfortable
and secure routine of a family man in a 9-to-5 job with good
Despite international efforts to track him down, Josef Mengele was
never apprehended and lived for 35 years hiding under various
aliases. He lived in Paraguay and Brazil until his death in 1979.
One afternoon, living in Brazil, he went for a swim. While in the
ocean he suffered a massive stroke and began to drown. By the time
he was dragged to shore, he was dead.
- Louis Bülow ©2011-13 Sources,