Where will you be my darling? Where will you be when the dark is rising?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Eh... don't read this if you can't stomach grotesque and horrific descriptions.
It was during his 21-month stay at Auschwitz that Mengele achieved infamy and it is for this period that he gained the moniker "Angel of Death." Mengele took turns with the other SS physicians at Auschwitz in meeting incoming prisoners at the ramp, where it was determined who would be retained for work and who would be sent to the gas chambers immediately. The Angel of Death fed his legend by dramatizing murderous policies, such as his drawing a line on the wall of the children's block between 150 and 156 centimeters (about 5 feet or 5 feet 2 inches) from the floor, and then sending those whose heads could not reach the line to the gas chamber.
Josef Mengele was the chief provider for the gas chambers and their crematoria. "He had a look that said 'I am the power,'" said one survivor. When it was reported that one block was infected with lice, Mengele solved the problem by gassing all the 750 women assigned to it. Mengele was, at the time, only 32 years old.
Block 10 - Medical experimentation block in Auschwitz. Mengele used Auschwitz as an opportunity to continue his research on heredity, using inmates for human experimentation. He was particularly interested in twins; they would be selected and placed in special barracks. He also recruited Berthold Epstein, a Czech pediatrician. As a doctor, Epstein proposed to Mengele a study into treatments of the disease called Noma, this was noted for particularly affecting children from the camp.
While the cause of Noma remains relatively unknown, it is now known that it has a higher occurrence in children suffering from malnutrition and a lower immune system response. Many develop the disease shortly after contracting another illness such as measles or tuberculosis. Mengele tried to prove that Noma was caused by racial inferiority.
Mengele took an interest in physical abnormalities discovered among the arrivals at the concentration camp. These included dwarfs, notably the Ovitz family and a Jewish Romanian artist's family, seven of whose ten members were dwarfs.
Mengele occupied his time with other numerous acts of the most base cruelty, including the dissection of live infants; the castration of boys and men without the use of an anesthetic; and the administering of high-voltage electric shocks to women inmates under the auspices of testing their endurance. On one occasion Mengele even sterilized a group of Polish nuns with an X-ray machine, leaving the celibate women horribly burned.
Not all of Mengele's experiments were of scientific value, including attempts to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children's eyes, various amputations of limbs and other brutal surgeries. Rena Gelissen's account of her time in Auschwitz details certain experiments performed on female prisoners around October 1943. Mengele would experiment on the chosen girls, performing sterilization and shock treatments. Most of the victims died, either due to the experiments or later infections. 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 instantly. Mengele then began dissecting and meticulously noting each and every piece of the twins' bodies.
At Auschwitz Mengele did a number of twin studies, and these twins were usually murdered after the experiment was over and their bodies dissected. He supervised an operation by which two Gypsy children were sewn together to create Siamese twins; the hands of the children became badly infected where the veins had been resected.
The subjects of Mengele's research were better fed and housed than ordinary prisoners and were, for the time being, safe from the gas chambers. When visiting his child subjects, he introduced himself as "Uncle Mengele" and offered them sweets. Some survivors remember that despite his grim acts, he was also called "Mengele the protector." On several occasions he killed subjects simply to be able to dissect them afterwards. Mengele was almost fanatical about drawing blood from twins, mostly identical twins. He is reported to have bled some to death this way.
Auschwitz prisoner Alex Dekel has said "I have never accepted the fact that Mengele himself believed he was doing serious work — not from the slipshod way he went about it. He was only exercising his power. Mengele ran a butcher shop — major surgeries were performed without anesthesia. Once, I witnessed a stomach operation — Mengele was removing pieces from the stomach, but without any anesthetic. Another time, it was a heart that was removed, again, without anesthesia. It was horrifying.
I've heard of his name somewhere before, but I never really thought anything about it. I was going through Wikipedia, looking at Japan's Unit 731 when I checked out a link leading to Josef Mengele's page. After reading 2 pages of gory details, I think I have a little more perspective on why the atrocities committed were called inhumane. Bombings, invasions, war, all that is bad, but I never really considered them atrocious. Now that I've read what the people did, I can appreciate the view of atrocities.
I really wonder how people with a conscience can do this kind of stuff. People who knew Mengele said he was a normal person, except for what he did. Really makes you wonder what people are capable of. Aye... things of this magnitude; I've only got one description for this kinda thing: Satanic slaughter.