Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Dr. Auschwitz: Josef Mengele 
larger plan in which “one day he will have a big research station … [probably there at Auschwitz], and he will have human material [there] … prepared, measured … ready [for] further investigation.”
Toward his research subjects, Mengele’s detachment could border on the schizoid. Dr. Lottie M. described him as “the coldest cynic 'I have ever seen,” and his attitude toward inmates as “the same as [toward] mice and rabbits.” Similarly, Nyiszli told how, after one of the crematoria had been blown up in the rebellion of the Sonderkommando, and he suggested a possible transfer of the dissecting room because “this environment is highly unsuitable for scientific research,” Mengele answered coldly, “What's wrong? Getting sentimental?”48

In addition to Mengele’s frequently mentioned “German mentality,” Eva C., the artist who worked with him, saw him as an imperialistic researcher concerned not about people but about their disease: among the Gypsies, “he was like a white doctor in a jungle situation with natives, unconcerned about the individual but concerned about eradicating tropical disease, … where natives mean nothing because … a lion [will] eat … them anyway.” In addition, he seemed to her “not aware of worldly things” and “very strange, … a stranger to the world.” The same schizoid quality may have been responsible for a prisoner doctor's observation that "he was a very difficult man to trace … [and] would disappear and reappear, … would be gone and reappear, again.” There was the suggestion that much of his activity could have been false motion, partly in the service of creating his aura of omnipotence — the man who could appear from nowhere, be in control of everything.

Mengele did experience awe, perhaps even something like love, for “science,” but his way of being a scientist was to seek absolute control over his research environment. As with those whose “dedication” was so obsessive, small interferences could unnerve him — as in the case of his outburst toward Nyiszli for getting some grease on records of his dissection: “How can you be so careless with these files, which I have compiled with so much love!"49 Here we recall Dr. B.’s recollection of Mengele saying that not to utilize the possibilities Auschwitz offered would be “a sin, a crime” and “totally irresponsible” toward science. Dr. Marek P. could say to me, with some sadness, “He seemed to combine so much caring with so much killing.”
We know of the variation in evaluations of Mengele as scientist. For Ernst B., Mengele was a gifted, even prophetic scientist, to be commended for his ability to adapt as a scientist to the special conditions of Auschwitz. Among inmates, that judgment was essentially reversed. Even Teresa W., who alone spoke of authentic scientific work with twins, had her qualifications about Mengele’s interpretation of it. Most inmates went further: Dr. Jan W. thought Mengele only “pretended to be a scientist,” flamboyantly collecting and labeling materials while lacking the intellec- [… tual]  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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