Ill-Famed Doctor of the Nazi Concentration Camps: Josef Mengele

Josef Mengele's experiments gained notoriety due to their severe harshness and lack of scientific merit
Mengele became a member of the Nazi Party in 1937 and the Schutzstaffel, one of Adolf Hitler's main paramilitary groups, in 1938. (Representational image: Pixabay)
Mengele became a member of the Nazi Party in 1937 and the Schutzstaffel, one of Adolf Hitler's main paramilitary groups, in 1938. (Representational image: Pixabay)

The "Angel of Death," Josef Mengele, is a haunting character best known for his crimes committed in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. As a result of his lethal experiments on inmates at the Nazi concentration camp, he became well-known.

On March 16, 1911, Walburga and Karl Mengele welcomed their firstborn son, Mengele, into a Catholic household in Günzburg, Bavaria. Karl Jr. and Alois were his two younger brothers. Their father established the agricultural machinery manufacturer Karl Mengele & Sons, which subsequently changed its name to Mengele Agrartechnik .Mengele excelled academically and became interested in skiing, music, and art.After graduating from high school in April 1930, he moved to Munich, the home of the Nazi Party headquarters, to pursue his studies in philosophy.

After being influenced by Alfred Rosenberg's racial theory while studying philosophy in Munich in the 1920s, Mengele went on to the University of Frankfurt am Main to pursue a medical degree. In 1933, he joined the Sturmabteilung (SA; "Assault Division"). An ardent Nazi, he began working as a research associate in 1934 at the newly established Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene. He was a medical officer in the Waffen-SS, the "armed" branch of the Nazi paramilitary group, serving in France and Russia during World War II. He was chosen by Heinrich Himmler to be the head physician at Birkenau, the additional Auschwitz death camp, in 1943.At Birkenau, the second Auschwitz extermination camp, he and his staff chose incoming Jews for labor or extermination and oversaw medical experiments on prisoners to find ways to increase fertility (to increase the German "race"). Heinrich Himmler appointed him chief doctor there in 1943. Nonetheless, twin research was his main area of interest. Many times, Mengele's tests ended with the subject's death.he pursued his doctorate in 1935 after studying medicine and anthropology at the University of Munich.

Mengele became a member of the Nazi Party in 1937 and the Schutzstaffel, one of Adolf Hitler's main paramilitary groups, in 1938.

Early Career- Mengele was drafted into the German army (Wehrmacht) in June 1940. A month later, he offered his services to the Waffen-SS, the SS's military wing, as a volunteer in their medical department. He began his career in German-occupied Poland as an employee of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA).

In June 1941, he witnessed extraordinarily violent fighting on the eastern front for almost eighteen months. Additionally, thousands of Jewish people were murdered by Mengele's division during the initial weeks of Germany's war on the Soviet Union. In addition to receiving the Iron Cross, Second and First Class, and a promotion to SS captain, Mengele served on the Eastern Front.

When he got to Auschwitz in May 1943, he was assigned to the position of camp doctor. His primary responsibility was to assign sentences to newly incoming inmates. He would decide who would be put to death in the gas chambers and who would work in inhumane conditions.

"Angel of Death": Picking Out Prisoners for Execution

The Auschwitz medical personnel carried out "selections" as part of their camp tasks. The selections were made in order to determine who was unable to work. The SS killed these people because they were seen as useless. Upon the arrival of Jewish transports at Birkenau, certain physically fit adults were chosen by the camp medical staff to engage in forced work within the concentration camp. The gas chambers were used to murder youngsters and elderly people who were not chosen for labor.

Periodically, camp physicians in the barracks and infirmaries of Auschwitz and other concentration camps performed selections. The purpose of these selections was to find inmates who were too sick or frail to labor, or who had suffered injuries. The SS executed these detainees by gassing and administering fatal injections, among other means. Mengele conducted such selections on a regular basis at Birkenau, earning him the nickname "angel of death" from some of the prisoners. Jewish gynaecologist Gisella Perl, a prisoner in Birkenau, later related how Mengele's arrival in the women's facility terrified the prisoners.

His severe harshness and lack of scientific merit made his medical experiments notorious. He concentrated especially on twins because he thought research on them could provide genetic information that the Nazis could utilize. Children and adults alike suffered through terrible operations, injections, and other procedures without any kind of pain medication, which frequently resulted in agonizing deaths. He even tried using injections to try and change the color of his eyes. The victims were not consulted before these experiments were carried out.

Mengele became a member of the Nazi Party in 1937 and the Schutzstaffel, one of Adolf Hitler's main paramilitary groups, in 1938. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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"The so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz used his understanding of how life functions to end it, a hideous perversion of the doctor's vocation. He chose who would be murdered in Auschwitz's gas chambers right away and who would be used as slave labor or for Nazi "science before being killed," according to a report from the US Justice Department.

Mengele is accused of intentionally infecting his subjects with diseases and removing the organs of prisoners without anesthesia for his studies. (Representational image: PIxabay)
Mengele is accused of intentionally infecting his subjects with diseases and removing the organs of prisoners without anesthesia for his studies. (Representational image: PIxabay)

He is accused of intentionally infecting his subjects with diseases and removing the organs of prisoners without anesthesia for his studies.

Mengele practically became a symbol of the Holocaust as a result of his prominent and noteworthy involvement in the murderous reign of terror carried out by the Hitler dictatorship; in particular, his name became synonymous with the atrocities of Auschwitz.

Mengele escaped Auschwitz as World War II was coming to an end, spending years avoiding arrest. He was able to avoid punishment by adopting various aliases in multiple countries, despite the efforts of international authorities and those looking for Nazi criminals.

Mengele had been living under a fictitious identity in Brazil, and by 1979 there was enough evidence to prove his death there. In 1985, forensic examinations definitively identified his bones, verifying that he had perished in a swimming accident.

At Auschwitz, where more than a million people—mostly Jews—were murdered, Mengele earned a reputation as the personification of evil. Viewed as a horrifying abuse of medical knowledge, his acts demonstrated the depths to which people might sink when living under restrictive governments.

(Input from various sources)

References-

1- https://www.britannica.com/topic/Nazi-Party/The-Nazi-Party-and-Hitlers-rise-to-power

2- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Mengele

3- https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/josef-meng

(Rehash/Priyanka Pandey/MSM)

Mengele became a member of the Nazi Party in 1937 and the Schutzstaffel, one of Adolf Hitler's main paramilitary groups, in 1938. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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