Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Dr. Auschwitz: Josef Mengele 
Mengele as Scientist
In exploring with me Mengele’s attitude toward his research and toward science in general, Teresa W. said: “In his scientific research he was honest … and fanatic. He was a strange man.” The word “honest” expressed her sense of the legitimacy of his method and of his having been a man with a genuine “scientific background” who was “absolutely capable of doing serious and appropriate scientific work.” His fanaticism was evident to her in his behavior not only at the ramp but when attempting to preserve his “research findings” at the time the camp was about to be liberated. He became “completely mad-looking,” went desperately to his equipment and papers, and "put everything — instruments, all [there] was, in this trunk … paper, stationery, everything — pack, pack, terrific speed, not a word spoken to us — nothing, no expression, … just shuffling everything.” His assistant remembered him looking “like the man who is flying under fear of something happening,” his face distorted and seeming to have changed color, so that it was now “a very dark color, like brown.”

As she probed the matter she became increasingly aware of his potential for research distortion, and we have noted her sense that he might “twist [results] a little bit to his aims.” Although she insisted upon distinguishing him from a completely antiscientific racist like Hans F.K. Günther — because Mengele “wanted to be . . . [and] was” a scientist who “loved” scientific work — she realized that he was “a little bit … limited” by his fanaticism. That “little bit" turned out to be a great deal: 
If you think that [the] German race, or any race, is absolutely superior, and that means it has the right to destroy a weaker race, that is already a limitation. … He [did]n’t like to think [about or] … go deeply in[to a] problem [that] contradicts his own. [He was like] a religious man … absolutely so committed that he will only consider the people going to church as the right people — or [those who] have the same face as he has.
Struggling with the idea of such scientific distortion in an intelligent anthropologist and “educated man,” Teresa W. could only attribute it to Mengele’s conviction “that Hitler [was] doing something absolutely incredibly good.”

Mengele saw himself as a scientific investigator at large, ever on the alert for “interesting” or “important” medical or anthropological material. Gisella Perl tells of his strong interest in obtaining dead fetuses for study. On one occasion, when she and a few friends were surprised by him while eating illegally obtained food, she handled what she knew to be a situation of grave danger by immediately calling his attention to an unusually, intact preserved fetus: “Herr Hauptsturmführer may be inter- [… ested]  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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