|Dr. Auschwitz: Josef
] gele (One could not have a better
impression) who showed himself to be cultivated, pleasant, and
knowledgeable in discussions not only on medical subjects but about literary
questions, even Flaubert. He forgot who I was, so that when the two
men were together, it was just one doctor confiding in another. Dr.
O. thought he had made a friend, but then he disappointed me. When
Mengele questioned him about his family, Dr. O. said that his wife had come to
Auschwitz with him (which Mengele undoubtedly understood to mean that she had
been killed) but that his small children were still in France. Mengele then
sprang to his feet and asked, Why [did] they not come here as well?
O. looked at me gravely arid added, Do you know what that means?
That means, why did they not come here to be gassed? Mengele expressed
even greater anger on learning that the children had been hidden by French
priests, and at that point, as O. said, he disappointed me forever.
Eva C., the artist, characterized her relationship to Mengele by
saying, I was a pet! by which she meant someone useful to
him and also pleasant (as a charming, intelligent young woman) to have around.
Mengele was also to discover that his pet had her own pet, a puppy
given her by an influential male prisoner. Upon discovering the creature,
Mengele first expressed anger: What is the meaning of this! But
when told it was hers, he softened and said that it resembled a shepherd,
like a puppy from Germany; he even petted it, and left without
saying anything more. Mengele also made pets of two babies born in Auschwitz,
and his appearing every morning to play with them was a highlight
of his day though everyone knew the babies would have to be killed. C.
carried the metaphor further, likening the situation to an inspector (Mengele)
visiting a city dog pound to check up on the keepers (prisoner professionals)
and the other prisoners (the dogs):
And he [the inspector] would point out maybe a
pile of dirt or something in the cages
and admonished the keeper [to]
wash up that excrement there
to keep it clean, to keep the dogs healthy,
to keep them well fed. Look, this one doesnt have water, youd
better give them some food .
And he inspects
these chambers where
they [the dogs] are killed, you know, and sees that they are working well, and
says, How many are you? Well, it's too crowded. You better put in two
more [chambers] today.
| Eva C. went on to explain that most people consider that
what is going on in the city pound is sane and normal and cant be
done in any other way, which is the way that the SS, and especially
Mengele, felt about Auschwitz. For Mengele, above all, everything has to
to the point of killing, and everything
thats out of control is wrong. She was saying that Mengele was not
only the medical keeper in Auschwitz but the keeper of the
Auschwitz norm. He liked to be amused by pleasant and useful pets,
but they and everything else had