Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Dr. Auschwitz: Josef Mengele 
who worked still more closely with Mengele, said similarly, “To advance one step in the search to unlock the secret of multiplying the race of superior beings destined to rule was [for Mengele] a ‘noble goal.’”37

Teresa W. was aware of that view, and expressed skepticism about it because she “did not hear anything from Mengele” that suggested this goal. But I had the impression that she was no longer quite certain about Mengele’s goals. There was still another rumor, that Mengele “wanted to pair up female twins with male twins, and … they should have sexual relations … to see if twins would be born of twins.” A related rumor was that twins’ sperm would be used to impregnate “German ladies,” so that they could have twins in turn; or that twins’ blood would be injected into the veins of German women, ostensibly for the same purpose.

Over all, most prisoner doctors were more skeptical than Teresa W. about the quality of Mengele’s work with twins. Dr. Jan W. thought him very “superficial” as a researcher and, after looking at fragments of notes from the research kept in the Auschwitz Museum, said that “no scientist would take [them] seriously.” (The notes consist only of a few columns of figures, and it would be difficult to draw from them conclusions of any kind.) One prisoner doctor put the matter simply and absolutely: “He wanted to be God — to create a new race.”

In evaluating these various views, there is no doubt about the truth of the first position: namely, that Mengele was continuing work with twins initiated by others and possibly, himself in the Frankfurt and Berlin institutes, stressing genetic determinism. Earlier in my work I thought that this perspective, along with Mengele’s scientific and academic ambition, accounted for his twin research, and that the vision of learning the secret of multiple births was the fantasy of others. Now I am not so sure. The evidence seems to me consistent with at least the possibility that Mengele had the ambition of extending his genetic determinism toward some form of racial application: the use of knowledge of genetic factors that influence the formation of twins to stimulate that formation in particular situations.

He also might have wished to use what he learned from twins for the genetic cultivation of superior individuals, not necessarily twins themselves. While these purposes fall far short of the grand vision of “repopulating Germany,” they would be consistent with German national goals at the time and certainly with Nazi ideology. They would also be consistent with something else his friend Dr. B. told me: that Mengele’s work had bearing on selecting national leaders “not [on a] political basis but [on a] biological basis.” In other words, Mengele might have wished to use genetic insights derived from twin research both for “breeding” desirable leaders (Teresa W. saw him as “like a stud owner”) and for selecting them from among existing contenders.

But we cannot be certain about Mengele’s precise motivations. W., who worked so closely with him, said to me at one point: “To hear his confession — his answers to different questions people might put to him — would  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
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