Talk:Josef Mengele

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

omeone usually starts comparing a figure like Kayat to Mengele – but ‘Mengele’ is more trope than reality.

Tbc I’m not writing to this to argue Mengele was a good guy or the Nazis were right (the mistake some on the US right make). The info here comes from David Marwell’s book on Mengele – Marwell was director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage so he isn’t exactly going to be pre-disposed to give Mengele a free pass.

Mengele was not the shorthand for “medical evil” he is now for at least a decade after WW2. This is why he was able to hide and then escape. Mengele’s name came to prominence in the controversy in the 1950s about whether the Anne Frank diaries were genuine and really took off during the Nazi-hunting coverage around Eichmann.

Some lesser known details about Mengele: 1) Mengele didn’t join the Nazi Party until 1938 – his family’s and his own background don’t suggest a fanatical Nazi. 2) A study of Mengele’s ruling when he had a role assessing people of mixed race in the 1930s doesn’t reveal that he took a consistently hard line. 3) Mengele was buried alive during the invasion of the USSR. Robert Jay Lifton suggests he has PTSD. Curiously Lifton was involved in the US military’s parallel research on mind control i.e. their version of MKUltra. 4) The Israelis had a term ‘Mengele syndrome’ for how every Auschwitz survivor seemed to have a Mengele encounter. They concluded he must have lived on the ramp and nobody else ever made a selection or gave medical treatment because it always seemed to be him. He was often described as “tall and blond” when he was neither. Some alleged to have encountered him when they couldn’t possibly have done so (e.g. they arrived at Auschwitz before he was sent there). Even people who were there seem to have had their memory and interpretation of events they experienced shaped by subsequent media coverage. 5) The most gruesome tales of Mengele’s experiments are fictions. Mengele did put adrenaline in people’s eyes but he did not inject eyes with blue dye as is sometimes claimed. Think about it – Mengele and the Nazis would not want to create “fake”Aryans. He did not stitch twins together to create siamese twins. Mengele’s Polish assistant at Auschwitz (who’d been plucked from the prisoners when it was discovered she had a science background) testified there was nothing about his research with twins that was unusual in the field at the time. Mengele wasn’t interested in twins to breed more Aryans but to research the different impacts of genes and environment, a common idea at the time that was not at all unique to the Nazis. Other Nazis at Auschwitz expressed frustration at Mengele’s twins because it protected these people from slave labour. The awful experiments in human tolerance to hypothermia were conducted at Dachau and not at Auschwitz. 6) Mengele was aged 33 when he was making his selections on the ramp – and his one meeting with his son was when the latter was aged 33. That’s two curious coincidences….

Mengele admitted that he conducted selections on the ramp at Auschwitz so that makes him a war criminal. He seems more a cold-blooded functionary than the drooling psychopathic sadist of media imagining, more another Eichmann than Ilsa or even Klaus Barbie. Mengele thought he was doing good for humanity within the paradigm of understanding within which he operated – and that’s much creepier than some lone sadist.