Dr Josef Mengele – Madman and Angel of Death

12 09 2007

I have 2 response papers and one essay to write this week which further goes on to affirm the rumour that the University Scholars Program (USP) is actually a writing course where you inevitably have to do TONS of writings for every module. I believe that by the time I graduate, I’d know the rules of academic writing and the various citation styles by the back of my hand.

Although I’m grumbling away, I inherently love the assignments because there’s lots of flexibility to pick what to write about and respond to. For example, one of my assignments is to write about a biomedical research using human subjects that is unethical while applying the principles and concepts of ethical theories. Having recently read the book Night by Elie Wiesel about the atrocities during the German holocaust, I decided to pick the case of the “Twins of Auschwitz” for my essay.

In Night, Wiesel detailed the horrors and extremes of human behaviour he experienced and witnessed at the Auschwitz concentration camp including the deadly “Selection process” conducted by Dr Josef Mengele. He wrote about how Dr Mengele would have everyone queue up in a line and direct them either to the right or left, one being death (aka the crematorium) and the other life (more suffering in the camp). What Wiesel didn’t know at that time was besides pointing people to death, Dr. Mengele was also selecting human subjects to be used for his brutal experiments.

I find this very interesting because I’ve come by 2 accounts of a story; one of a survivor who was asked to work in extreme conditions, and another of research subjects who survived the experiments. Both parties had encounters with the same, infamous Dr Josef Mengele. This prompted me to research further into why this madman who whistles Mozart, distributed candy and played with children like a father would succumb to conducting such murderous researches.

According to history, Nazi Germany had the belief the Aryan race was the superior race and for the future of mankind, all cancerous traits which were identified as Jews, Gypsies and the mentally ill should be eradicated. This led society to place these “cancers” as unimportant objects that could be exploited. Hence, the concentration camps were seen as a “gold mine” for many German researchers. Most of Dr. Mengele’s research subjects were obtained from these camps, with 3,000 twins from Auschwitz alone.

Obsessed with the idealogy of bettering the “superior race”, Dr. Mengele strived to find a way for Aryan women to assuringly give birth to blue-eyed, blond children. His crazed belief was that achieving this would save future of mankind. Hence, he conducted numerous researches on twins to discover the secret of heredity. Among some of the painful experiments were testing on factors that affected eye colour via eye drops and injections, organ removal surgeries without anesthesia and injection of mysterious diseases into bodies of children. Best part is, the craze does not stop there.

The reason why he used twins is also because they are so genetically alike, it’d be easy to make comparisons. Usually experiments would be conducted on one twin while the other was used as a control and very frequently, when one twin dies, the other is executed for analysis. According to records, only 200 out of 3,000 twins survived the research and until today, none of them knew what Dr Mengele had injected into their tiny bodies which left some suffering for 5 years after the war.

The treatment of research subjects showed how far Dr. Mengele was willing to go for the German ideal of the “superior race”. How was such an educated, civilized and cultured man capable of such deranged faculties, especially in pursuit of an equally deranged ideal? Furthermore, how was it that a whole country was convinced into believing such an ideal? The holocaust showed how people have the tendency to forsaken humanity at times of great depression, easily convinced into believing any outrageous ideal that may seem to bring a glimmer of hope and the extreme lengths they are willing to take in realizing it.

The uncertainties and extremes of human behaviour can sometimes be really dangerous when you think of it, especially when imagining yourself in such a situation. Although the horrors experienced by the victims of both Dr. Mengele and the holocaust can never be reproduced, people can definitely be reminded of the cause and effects to avoid such incidents that may push humans to forsaken humanity from happening again. In the words of a survivor, “It is not history who repeats itself. It is us who repeat history“.

For Twins of Auschwitz, Time to Unlock SecretsThe New York Times
Mengele’s Children: The Twins at AuschwitzAbout.com
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Holocaust, Crimes Heroes and Villains

Book to read:
Night by Elie Wiesel




8 responses

13 09 2007
Chern Jie

great article, very intriguing. very nice!

13 09 2007

Yay thanks! Glad you liked it!!

14 09 2007

woa… great job in ya assignment! really like it! =)

15 09 2007
Yee Hoong

Ehem.. this is the most nerdy Su Yuen side that I’ve seen.
But I like it.
Muahahaha =p
And ps, this took me about 5 minutes to read. No longer the 20 seconds that I used to do when reading your other blogs. Good job! =p
Good luck with your papers!
I’m sure the writing’s worth the chance of coming here one day!
Tkae care

15 09 2007

@Yee Hoong & Sharon:
Thanks! I took hours to do research on the experiment and Dr Josef Mengele. Glad you guys like it! Yee HOong, I can send you my assignment if you want, but its 3 pages long o_O…

18 09 2007

Hey, watch Schindler’s List if you’re interested to know more about the Holocaust. Very touching movie with a strong message.

24 03 2009

This was really good! Love the book NIGHT, by the way. Have you read CHILDREN OF THE FLAMES? It’s the accounts of the survivors of Megele’s experiments. Great book.

1 05 2013
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