Throughout the Holocaust Years, and shortly afterwards, there was a man that struck fear in the people imprisoned in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp – “the Angel of Death”. He was a man who showed up for selections with a demeanor that made one think he was handsome and debonair yet, one could not possibly think of the monstrosities that he committed during World War II. Even more disturbing is that “wherever he sprang up, Death spread its shadow.” (Wiesel xix)
In 1911, Karl and Walburga delivered a baby boy, Josef Mengele, in Gunzburg, Germany. While studying medicine and anthropology, he developed an interest in genetics. His experimental ideas sprouted from these interests. Mengele made his presence known at the camps he inhabited with experiments consisting of sterilization, attempting to change the color of the eye, gangrene and “obsessive efforts to explore the mysteries of twins.” (Friedrich 56) In addition to twins, Mengele used test subjects such as dwarfs, gypsies, and people with handicaps. The Angel of Death had absolutely no problem blaming the victim for dying or becoming ill and killed for science without a second notion since he was simply trying to make a name for himself in the world of medicine.
Clearly, Mengele received his wishes as he continued to experiment on twins, with what would have been groundbreaking had he succeeded. He experimented with trying to change boys into girls, and injected twins with different diseases in order to observe them side by side on the autopsy table when they died within hours of each other; if the sick one were to die, he would kill the otherwise healthy twin in order to perform his autopsies.
“In those days we didn’t know what the experiments were for or what we were injected with. Later we found out that Dr. Mengele purposely gave some twins dangerous, life-threatening diseases such as Scarlet fever, then followed them with shots of something else to see if it cured the disease.” (Kor 45-46)
With experiments that still sicken the world today, Mengele made a name for himself, a name he would forever run from. Luckily for Eva Kor and Dr. Mengele, not only did the twin girl survive, but she forgave Mengele – perhaps it is people like these who truly frighten Mengele back into hiding. Among other experiments, Mengele also decided to do some research on a disease called Noma that was rare, but usually occurred in gypsies. “At one point, Mengele had two of the Gypsy children killed so that he could examine their detached heads.” (Cefrey 87) It is important to note that Mengele preferred children as patients or guinea pigs; while the reason is mysterious it could be assumed due to children being naïve or easier to obtain than adults (especially twins) and could be easily ripped away from parents.
It is said that Mengele “knew exactly why they were there and how killing Jews could advance their careers.” (Wistrich 229) With this being said, there is no doubt as to why survivors...