|AUSCHWITZ: THE RACIAL CURE
| as the cause of death. He preserved the eyes of the six
heterochromic twins and prepared them for shipment to Berlin.39
A bizarre story told to me by Dr.
Alexander O. made clear that aspects of the project could be less than
scientific. After Mengele had demonstrated heterochromia in a few members of a
Gypsy family, he instructed Dr. O. that, when things have taken their
course, he was to extract the eyes and put them in containers with
preservative to be sent to Berlin Mengele adding ominously,
All of them, do you understand? Dr. O. understood perfectly;
and as one by one the family members died of their extreme debilitation
(Mengele apparently did not think phenol injections were required), he would be
notified and would excise the eyes from the corpse, prepare them for shipment,
and hand them over to the block scribe. One day the scribe called him angrily
and said that Mengele had a record of eight family members and,
Youve given me only seven pairs of eyes. We are missing two
eyes! When Dr. O. began to protest that he had been notified only about
the seven, the scribe said that the eyes of the last family member have
to be sent today! You know what that means they have to go today!
O. understood that as a signal to plunder substitute eyes from random Gypsy
corpses, and after stumbling about among a group of them, did succeed in
finding the correct colors, a blue eye from one corpse and a black eye from
another; he then excised and packed them in the usual manner.
had an added project: that of actually changing eye color in an Aryan
direction. Dr. Abraham C. wondered why Mengele was devoting so much attention
to a few seven-year-old boys who seemed unremarkable and then realized that
those children had one odd characteristic: they were blond and had brown
eyes, so Mengele was trying to find a way to color their eyes blue.
Mengele actually injected methylene blue into their eyes, causing severe pain
and inflammation, but their, eyes of course did not change. Dr. C.
had the impression these children were gassed, but he may have been wrong: a
former block elder told of thirty-six such children who apparently survived.
There is a record, however, of a little girl named Dagmar, born in Auschwitz in
1944, who died after Mengeles eye injections.40 Of the children subjected to the eye-color
experiment, at least one child became almost blind; the eyes of most of the
others, after considerable pain and infection, gradually returned to normal.
Concerning the study of heterochromia, Hermann Langbein reported having
an opportunity after the war to meet with Professor Verschuer, who told him
about the enormously interesting specimens of different-colored
eyes Mengele had sent him, and seemed surprised and upset when
Langbein told him they had come from Gypsies Mengele had ordered killed because
of this abnormality. In Verschuers attitude we encounter a hypocritical
academic accessory to Mengeles characteristic pattern of killing for
science. But the methylene blue injections are of a different order, not in