Nederlands Woordenlijst


Dr. Josef Mengele studied medicine and anthropology in Germany and Austria. In 1935, he obtained a doctorate in Anthropology and three years later he concluded his medical studies. He became a member of the NSDAP (Nazi party) and joined the SS. In 1940 he was drafted into the Wehrmacht (the Nazi armed forces). Mengele volunteered for the Waffen SS (military force of the German Reich) where he worked for the SS Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt (Race and Settlement Main Office). He fought at the front for a short time and got wounded. After that he was declared unfit for military duty.

In May 1943, he was appointed camp doctor in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp and assigned the task of carrying out genetic research. Mengele became the head of several departments in the Birkenau extermination camp, the women's camp, and the gypsy family camp known as Zigeunerlager. He was also involved in the initial selection of newly arrived Jews. Upon arrival young children, elderly, pregnant women, and sick people were referred with a hand gesture to the row that was led directly to the gas chambers.

Others, who were selected for work, lived for a shorter or longer time under the most unbearable conditions.

Mengele was known for his cruel and unethical medical experiments, such as on twins. Most of the prisoners that were subjected to his experiments did not survive. His nickname, the angel of death, shows how much he was feared by the prisoners.

After the war he moved to Argentina. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal arrived from Israel to track him down. In 1958, he was arrested, but managed to buy his freedom. A year later an arrest warrant was issued. When things got too hot for him, Mengele fled to Paraguay. He died in Brazil in 1979.


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Municipal Police
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