Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Dr. Auschwitz: Josef Mengele 
Mengele could also explode with condemnation and rage. His form of blaming the victim was usually, a matter of blaming the inmate “colleague.” In his agitation about the annihilation of the Gypsy camp, Mengele called together a group of prisoner doctors and berated them for wrong diagnoses, threatening, “You'll pay for it!” should autopsies reveal further mistakes. As one prisoner doctor commented, “That is when he ceased to be a colleague, since he called us dogs and pigs.” At that time Dr. Marek P. remembered Mengele saying specifically that “it was our fault” that he had to liquidate the Gypsies. P. believed that Mengele was upset because he had taken such pains with work on Gypsy twins and “suddenly it was all liquidated,” creating a need in him to “find a group on whom he could release [project] his feelings of being responsible for it.”
Similarly, Dr. Lengyel told how, just before the camp’s liberation, Mengele came to the women's medical block and “declared that because of our negligence, the typhus epidemic had reached such proportions that the entire region of Auschwitz was menaced.” In the subsequent rush to prepare serum and vaccinations, Mengele “accused us of sabotaging the vaccinations,” and “in fact discontinued them.” He would sometimes accuse prisoner doctors of “not seeing enough patients” and at other times of “giving the sick too much care and wasting scarce medicines.”54 While the pattern of blaming the victim was present in many SS doctors, with Mengele both the accusation and the anger were especially required for his way of interpreting and experiencing.

Thus, Dr. Gerda N. told how Mengele, in a sudden rage, “nearly wanted to choke this lady doctor — actually put his fingers around her neck, accusing her of treating patients poorly and shouting: ‘They will die. Then we Germans will be responsible!’ ” Dr. N. added, “He wanted to give us a show … [so] that we should believe that the Germans are really caring … for the people here” — and also, I would add, so that his imagery of Nazi virtue could be sustained.

Dr. N. also spoke of Mengele’s brandishing a pistol as he entered a room to talk to the chief prisoner physician of a women’s medical block, demanding that she select a large number of typhus patients for the gas chamber. She added that, even, without a drawn gun, whenever Mengele went into her room with a prisoner doctor, he was metaphorically holding a gun to that person’s head. He could make his threats, direct or indirect, while mostly maintaining the illusion of colleagueship by behaving considerately toward prisoner doctors.

Another prisoner doctor expressed the anguish of being manipulated by Mengele in a series of cruel deceptions. He asked her to make a list of pregnant women so that he could “feed them milk” and get them to a better camp so they could have “healthy babies”; after she had acceded to the request despite a certain skepticism, they were transferred to the “H-block,” or “Heaven block” (Himmeblock), from which they inevitably went either to the crematorium or to a research block. An example of
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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