Angel Of Death Essay Research Paper THE

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Angel Of Death Essay, Research Paper THE ANGEL OF DEATH Some of the most enduring images of Auschwitz are the terrible scenes of the arrival of a transport of Jews to that concentration camp. Amid the chaos and despair stood a lone figure in immaculate uniform and spotless white gloves inspecting the inmates and waving each in turn to one side or the other with his riding crop. To one side lay starvation, brutality, and deprivation but a chance for survival. To the other side, instant death in the gas chambers. The frightening figure making this decision was, frequently, Josef Mengele, one of the doctors assigned to Auschwitz. He has come to symbolize the manner in which medicine became a tool for genocide. Mengele was born in Bavaria shortly before World War I to an upper

middle class family, which ran a machine, tools business. A promising student, he was sent to Munich in the 1920’s where he was attracted to the racial theories of Alfred Rosenberg, the “philosopher” of National Socialism. As Mengele became an adherent of National Socialist ideology, he moved to Frankfurt-am-Main where he received his medical degree studying under Otmar von Verschuer, the director of the Institute for Racial Hygiene at the University of Frankfurt. The main emphasis of his research was the importance of heredity within the context of Nazi “race science.” By the time his education had finished Mengele was a member of both the National Socialist Party and the SS. He was a fanatic anti-Semite and hated the Roma and Sinta (Gypsies) even more than he hated

Jews. At the beginning of World War II, Mengele was activated for service with the Waffen-SS. He served as a medical officer with several units in the invasion of the Soviet Union, receiving four medals for his action. After being wounded and declared unfit for active service, Mengele was appointed to serve as a physician at Auschwitz in May, 1943. Mengele was not the chief physician at Auschwitz - that was Eduard Wirths – but Mengele had his own laboratory block, independent financing and a staff of inmate physicians whom he supervised. More than any other SS doctor assigned to Auschwitz, Mengele seemed comfortable with the harsh regime and murderous proceeding at the camp. Mengele was assigned – as were other doctors at Auschwitz – to supervise the “selections” of

incoming transports. These selections determined which would be sent immediately to the gas chamber, and which would become prisoners in the camp. Unlike several of the other physicians, however, he seemed to glory in the power it gave him. Mengele carried a riding crop with which he indicated life or death to the arriving prisoners. He often used the crop on the prisoners and there are reports of his using his pistol to kill recalcitrant prisoners. Unlike the other physicians, Mengele was often present at the arrival ramps when he was not scheduled be there to make sure that his orders that twins be sent to his “laboratory” were carried out. Mengele, according to other doctors who served at Auschwitz, was in total agreement with the brutal administration of Auschwitz. He

clearly believed that the prisoners were less than human and acted upon that belief. There are several known cases where Mengele personally murdered inmates either with his pistol or with fatal injections of phenol. The extent to which he deviated from the ethical standards of medicine is illustrated by his treatment of the 600 sick women he found in the “hospital” on his arrival at Auschwitz. He ordered all of them immediately sent to the gas chambers. But it was not just his administration of the medical department of Auschwitz that merited his inclusion as one of the worst criminals at Auschwitz. It was the experiments that he performed on helpless, hapless inmates. The passion which drew Mengele to the arrival ramps was his “collection” of twins. Like his mentor, Dr.