One of my primary reading subjects is history. I find the history of conflict very compelling. My main area of interest is the Second World War, with a specific focus on the Third Reich.
I’ve read a lot about the National Socialists (NSDAP), the Wehrmacht, Abwehr, Luftwaffe, Schutzstaffel (SS). I’ve read about the Nazi war strategy and it’s failures. I’ve read about the Concentration Camps, the Einsatzgruppen (travelling murder squads).
I’ve read about such notables as Himmler, Hitler, Goebbels, Goring and so on. I knew these men were an abomination. I knew the Third Reich is a horrible stain in the history of humanity. I did not fully comprehend how completely disgusting these people were. I still don’t fully appreciate it.
However, my recent reading concerning doctors, medicine and science in the Third Reich has made me realize how much more I need to learn, how much more disgust I need to cultivate.
The Nazis, without a doubt, are the worst collection of people to have ever united on this planet. Last night, I became a little more intimate with the story of Josef Mengele. He was supposed to have been the camp physician at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but he did nothing to help anyone. He considered himself both a doctor & a geneticist…he was neither.
His every action was contrary to the Hippocratic Oath. His every experiment was a slap in the face of scientific method (empiricism). He experimented on twins. If you want to use twins for genetic experimentation, they need to be identical twins. Fraternal twins are no more twins than you and one of your older/younger siblings, insofar as you do not share ‘identical’ DNA. This was known in the late 30s (before Mengele’s experiments). Mengele did not always use identical twins. In fact, he didn’t even always use fraternal twins. There was at least one occurrence of brothers (9 month age difference) being experimented on.
The specifics of some of his experiments are so disgusting that I do not want to relate them here. In general, he would treat one of the twins poorly & leave the other one alone. Then, he’d have them both killed and dissected in order to discover if there were any differences in their bodies, organs, etc.
In one extreme example, he wanted to see if he could manufacture Siamese twins and had two children stitched together. They died during the procedure. Did Mengele contribute anything to the advancement of science? Unequivocally NO. Most of his notes and records were destroyed for fear that they were a death sentence.
Mengele fled Germany and the Allies at the conclusion of the war. He was able to live out his natural life without any punishment for his crimes against humanity. In the end, he was unrepentant. He claimed to have “never personally harmed anyone in his life.”
Mengele had concentration camp prisoners with medical training perform all his ‘surgeries’, which they would not have done without the threat of death from Mengele. Personal responsibility (liability) is clear-cut everywhere but in his sick mind.
Where is the justice in this world?