Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Dr. Auschwitz: Josef Mengele 
[Men…] 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 doesn’t have water, you’d 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 can’t 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 be controlled … to the point of killing,” and “everything that’s 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  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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