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Is there a Doctor in the Haus? (“Paging Dr. Mengele”)

Josef Men­gele

COMMENT: With the recent pub­li­ca­tion by Peter Lev­en­da of a book about Hitler’s appar­ent escape from Ger­many at the end of World War II, it is use­ful to con­tem­plate the huge gap in schol­ar­ship and under­stand­ing between the mass-medi­at­ed “pop” ver­sion of Nazism and the real, insti­tu­tion­al con­text of the ter­ri­ble events of the World War II peri­od and their after­math.

With the dis­cov­ery of his pur­port­ed “grave” in 1985, the file on Josef Men­gele–the “Angel of Death” of Auschwitz was  offi­cial­ly closed, with sev­er­al vol­umes writ­ten to seal the offi­cial record, includ­ing one by Ger­ald Pos­ner, whose efforts include mud­dy­ing the inves­tiga­tive waters with regard to the assas­si­na­tions of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, Mar­tin Luther King and Mar­tin Bor­mann.

Men­gele’s infa­mous career exist­ed in a social and his­tor­i­cal con­text that has more than a lit­tle rel­e­vance for us today. His pres­ence at the Auschwitz con­cen­tra­tion camp and his grue­some exper­i­ments on twins stemmed from the eugen­ics research that inspired the Nazi hor­rors and that occu­pied a promi­nent place in West­ern social sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ry.

His work on twins was car­ried out in tan­dem with the Rock­e­feller-fund­ed Kaiser Wil­helm Insti­tute.

There is evi­dence that he may well have con­tin­ued his work on twins after his flight to Latin Amer­i­ca.

In fact, Men­gele’s rel­a­tive secu­ri­ty in Latin Amer­i­ca stemmed from his pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ships with the Paraguayan gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary and, through them, with ele­ments of the Amer­i­can nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment.

By the same token, the pres­ence and pros­per­i­ty of fig­ures like Mar­tin Bor­mann and oth­er, less­er Nazis can only be under­stood by ana­lyz­ing the pow­er­ful corporate/economic and polit­i­cal forces that gave rise to Nazism and fas­cism and that have per­pet­u­at­ed it in the post­war peri­od.

It is inter­est­ing to note that Pres­i­dent Stroess­ner gives the pros­per­ous careers of 1,500 Jews liv­ing in Paraguay as an excuse for not extra­dit­ing Men­gele. (The Jews, of course, were not want­ed for war crimes.) Might some or all of them have been in the employ of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work“Bor­mann Jews”?

EXCERPT: . . . . An atti­tude of benev­o­lence toward Bor­mann, the Ger­man who cre­at­ed so much com­mer­cial activ­i­ty for them, is main­tained by Brazil, Argenti­na, Bolivia, Uruguyay and Paraguay.

In the last named coun­try, the son of a Bavar­i­an cav­al­ry offi­cer, Pres­i­dent Stroess­ner, coop­er­ates with the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary author­i­ties and the CIA, as he does with Bor­mann and his rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Dur­ing the Viet­nam war, Pres­i­dent Stroess­ner per­mit­ted the U.S. Army Chem­i­cal Corps and the CIA to send in teams of 2,500 men to car­ry out field tests, in the Mat­to Grosso jun­gle, of chem­i­cals for use in Viet­nam.

In one instance, sev­er­al Amer­i­can sol­diers became casu­al­ties when they acci­den­tal­ly were sprayed with the gas. They were tak­en to a Paraguayan mil­i­tary field hos­pi­tal; the doc­tor who treat­ed them was Josef Men­gele, now a Paraguayan cit­i­zen and an offi­cer in the Paraguayan Army Med­ical Corps. Under Men­gele’s treat­ment, all sol­diers recov­ered. None, of course, knew the true iden­ti­ty of their med­ical bene­fac­tor.

The Israelis have tried repeat­ed­ly to extra­dite Men­gele, who was the noto­ri­ous doc­tor of the Auschwitz con­cen­tra­tion camp. But when Pres­i­dent Stroess­ner is approached through diplo­mat­ic chan­nels for such a pur­pose, he responds: “Shall I also extra­dite the 1,500 Jews who have made a good life for them­selves and who have con­tributed so much to our eco­nom­ic growth?”

Despite the assis­tance Mar­tin Bor­mann has received from var­i­ous lead­ers in Latin Amer­i­ca since his arrival, includ­ing help from mem­bers of U.S. embassies and con­sulates and sev­er­al CIA sta­tion chiefs, Hein­rich Mueller con­tin­ues to exer­cise extreme cau­tion in pro­tect­ing Bor­mann. . . .

(Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Lyle Stu­art [HC]; Copy­right 1981 by Paul Man­ning; p. 213.)

Discussion

2 comments for “Is there a Doctor in the Haus? (“Paging Dr. Mengele”)”

  1. Iatro­genic dis­eases, any­one?

    Posted by David | June 17, 2012, 3:56 pm
  2. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/142242/hanns-and-rudolf-harding?all=1
    The True Sto­ry of the Ger­man Jew Who Tracked Down the Kom­man­dant of Auschwitz

    In an excerpt from Thomas Harding’s thrilling ‘Hanns and Rudolf,’ Rudolf Höss is tak­en pris­on­er, and beat­en
    By Thomas Harding|August 26, 2013 12:00 AM

    It is May 1945. In the after­math of the Word War II, the first British War Crimes Inves­ti­ga­tion Team is assem­bled to hunt down the senior Nazi offi­cials respon­si­ble for the great­est atroc­i­ties the world has ever seen. One of the lead inves­ti­ga­tors is Lieu­tenant Hanns Alexan­der, a Ger­man Jew who is now serv­ing in the British Army. Rudolf Höss is his most elu­sive tar­get.

    As Kom­man­dant of Auschwitz, Höss not only over­saw the mur­der of more than one mil­lion men, women, and chil­dren; he was the man who per­fect­ed Hitler’s pro­gram of mass exter­mi­na­tion.

    Höss has fled Berlin and is hid­ing in a barn near the Dan­ish bor­der. He is the one man whose tes­ti­mo­ny can ensure jus­tice at Nurem­berg. Höss wants to escape to South Amer­i­ca before the inves­ti­ga­tor can catch up with him. Fol­low­ing a bruis­ing inter­ro­ga­tion of Höss’ wife, Hed­wig, Hanns Alexan­der has dis­cov­ered the Kommandant’s iden­ti­ty and where he is hid­ing.

    The chase is on.

    ***

    Got­tru­pel, Ger­many, 1946. As soon as Hanns had heard Hed­wig Höss’s con­fes­sion, he rushed over to Cap­tain Cross, and the two quick­ly agreed on a plan. They should car­ry out the arrest under the cov­er of dark­ness, and as soon as pos­si­ble. And they would need seri­ous fire­pow­er. It was unclear if Rudolf was alone, and there was every chance that he would resist arrest.

    Over the next hour the men of Field Secu­ri­ty Sec­tion 92 were assem­bled and briefed on the oper­a­tion. Many of them were Ger­man Jews like Hanns, from the Pio­neer Corps—men who had been dri­ven out of their coun­try and who had lost fam­i­ly mem­bers in Auschwitz. Some had kept their orig­i­nal names, such as Kuditsch and Wiener. Oth­ers had tak­en on British-sound­ing names, like Roberts, Cress­well and Shif­fers. There were also Eng­lish-born sol­diers from Jew­ish fam­i­lies, sim­i­lar­ly enraged, men such as Bernard Clarke, from the south coast, and Karl “Blitz” Abra­hams, from Liv­er­pool.

    Rifles were checked and sup­plies loaded into the trucks: blan­kets, a field radio, car­tons of extra ammu­ni­tion. A box of axe han­dles was stashed into the back of one of the vehi­cles. Hanns, mean­while, put a call in to the com­man­der of Field Secu­ri­ty Sec­tion 318, explain­ing the mis­sion and request­ing addi­tion­al back­up. He also arranged for a doc­tor from the 5th Roy­al Horse Artillery reg­i­ment to join them.

    Two hours lat­er, the small con­voy of trucks and jeeps hur­ried along the nar­row roads towards Got­tru­pel. Dark­ness had descend­ed on the Ger­man coun­try­side. Inside the vehi­cles twen­ty-five men sat ner­vous­ly on bench­es, fid­get­ing with their gear. Hanns knew that they all want­ed to be “in on the kill.”

    It was pitch black and utter­ly qui­et when the con­voy rolled into the farm­yard in Got­tru­pel at eleven o’clock on March 11, 1946. Get­ting out of his jeep, and accom­pa­nied by the med­ical offi­cer and the dri­ver, Hanns ordered the oth­ers to hold back. He walked towards the barn and knocked loud­ly.

    Rudolf was “wok­en with a start” by the com­mo­tion out­side. At first, he was uncon­cerned, assum­ing “that it was one of the rob­beries which were very fre­quent at this time in the area.” Then he heard a stern voice order­ing him to open up. Real­iz­ing that he had no alter- native, Rudolf opened the door. Two men in British uni­form stood fac­ing him. Rudolf could tell by their insignia that one was a cap­tain, the oth­er a doc­tor. Behind them stood at least twen­ty sol­diers, their guns drawn. He was con­fused by the lights and the pres­ence of all these men.

    With­out warn­ing the tall, hand­some, fierce-look­ing cap­tain thrust a pis­tol in his mouth. He was then searched for cyanide pills. “Go and see that he is clean,” Hanns said to the doc­tor, hold­ing Rudolf while his mouth was searched for vials of poi­son. After a few sec­onds the doc­tor gave the all-clear.

    The cap­tain began talk­ing in per­fect Ger­man. It was imme­di­ate­ly obvi­ous to Rudolf that the man was a native speak­er. He intro­duced him­self as Cap­tain Alexan­der of the British War Crimes Inves­ti­ga­tion Team, and demand­ed to see Rudolf ’s papers. The Kom­man­dant hand­ed over his iden­ti­ty documents—Franz Lang, tem­po­rary card num­ber B22595. Hanns had seen this name on the plate next to the barn door, but knew it to be untrue. The man looked too sim­i­lar to the fig­ure in the pho­to­graph that he car­ried with him. Old­er, sick­er, thin­ner, to be sure, but sim­i­lar.

    Hanns flashed the pho­to­graph and told Rudolf that he believed him to be the Kom­man­dant of Auschwitz. Again Rudolf denied the claim, point­ing once more at his iden­ti­ty papers. Per­haps he would be able to wrig­gle out of this: after all, the British had let him slip through their fin­gers in the past.

    How­ev­er, Hanns remained con­vinced. He rolled back the man’s shirt­sleeves to see if there was a blood group tat­tooed on his arm, but there was noth­ing. The con­ver­sa­tion went around in cir­cles. Yet Hanns wasn’t going to give up. His eyes roved about the barn entrance search­ing for a way to prove the man’s iden­ti­ty.

    At last Hanns looked down and noticed his wed­ding ring. “Give it to me,” he said.

    “I can’t, it has been stuck for years,” Rudolf answered. “No prob­lem,” Hanns said, “I’ll just cut off your fin­ger.”

    Hanns asked one of the mem­bers of Field Secu­ri­ty Sec­tion 92 to fetch a kitchen knife from inside the barn. When this man returned, he hand­ed the knife to Hanns, who stepped for­ward, clear­ly intent on car­ry­ing out his threat. Real­iz­ing he would lose the ring either way, Rudolf reluc­tant­ly removed the wed­ding band from his fin­ger. Then, star­ing furi­ous­ly at Hanns, he hand­ed it over. Hanns held the ring up to the light and looked inside the band, where he saw the names “Rudolf ” and “Hed­wig” inscribed. Hanns thanked him and put the ring in his pock­et.

    Hav­ing iden­ti­fied his man, Hanns was ready to make the arrest. But he sensed that his col­leagues want­ed to vent their hatred. Indeed, he want­ed to join in. He had to make a quick deci­sion: should he allow them free rein, or should he pro­tect Rudolf ? Turn­ing to his men, Hanns said, “In ten min­utes I want to have Höss in my car—undamaged” and walked off. He knew that this made him respon­si­ble for what was about to hap­pen, but he was pre­pared to face the con­se­quences.

    Rudolf was imme­di­ate­ly sur­round­ed by the remain­ing sol­diers, who dragged him to one of the barn’s slaugh­ter tables, tore the paja­mas from his body and beat him with axe han­dles. Rudolf screamed, but the blows kept com­ing. After a short peri­od, the doc­tor spoke to Hanns: “Call them off,” he said, “unless you want to take back a corpse.”

    Just as sud­den­ly as it had start­ed, the beat­ing stopped. A rough woolen blan­ket was wrapped around Rudolf’s shoul­ders, and he was car­ried out of the barn.

    ***

    At around mid­night the pris­on­er was loaded into the truck. Hanns and three sergeants climbed in after. Hanns told the dri­ver to make for Hei­de, where they would deliv­er Rudolf to the local jail. Hanns sat on one of the bench­es next to Rudolf in the back of the truck. As the vehi­cle rum­bled along the nar­row roads, Hanns asked the pris­on­er a series of ques­tions: What is your name? What was your rank in the SS? What role did you play dur­ing the war? Did you work at Auschwitz? At last, after repeat­ed ques­tion­ing, Rudolf con­firmed to Hanns that he had worked as the Kom­man­dant of Auschwitz, and that he had been “per­son­al­ly respon­si­ble for the deaths of 10,000 peo­ple.” Hanns real­ized with ris­ing excite­ment that not only had he cap­tured his man, but he was will­ing to talk.
    Quote

    When they arrived in Hei­de two hours lat­er, the trucks pulled up at a bar in the cen­ter of town, where Paul was wait­ing for them. With Rudolf left in the truck, under guard, Hanns and the oth­er men, around twen­ty-five in all, piled into the bar. Extra­or­di­nar­i­ly, Hanns had inter­rupt­ed the safe deliv­ery of the most want­ed war crim­i­nal into cus­tody, in order to cel­e­brate.

    Paul described this scene to his par­ents in a let­ter he penned the next day:

    13 March 1946

    Hanns had a very suc­cess­ful time here, though very busy. But he is not leav­ing emp­ty hand­ed. He caught the bas­tard from Auschwitz. I have nev­er seen such a shit in all my life. After all was over I found the par­ty for cel­e­bra­tion while Rudolf ’s feet got cold in the car under escort. We drank to the suc­cess with cham­pagne and whiskey. Just right for the job. But will have to leave the details of the descrip­tion to Hanns. He is a good bloke but don’t tell him oth­er­wise he gets einge­bildet [smug].

    After they were fin­ished cel­e­brat­ing, Hanns walked back to the truck, pulled Rudolf out of the vehi­cle, removed the blan­ket from his shoul­ders, and made him walk naked to the prison on the oth­er side of the snow-cov­ered main square. Once inside the prison Hanns, along with a sergeant from the Field Secu­ri­ty Sec­tion, began Rudolf ’s first for­mal inter­ro­ga­tion. Alco­hol was forced down the prisoner’s throat and they beat him with his own whip, con­fis­cat­ed from the barn in Got­tru­pel. A pair of hand­cuffs were on his wrists at all times, and with the tem­per­a­ture in the cell well below freez­ing, Rudolf ’s uncov­ered feet quick­ly devel­oped frost­bite.

    ***

    Three days lat­er, on March 15, 1946, Hanns deliv­ered Rudolf to Camp Toma­to, a British-run prison near the town of Min­den. There, Colonel Ger­ald Draper—the War Crimes Group’s lawyer—began a fur­ther round of inten­sive ques­tion­ing. A few hours after­wards, Rudolf’s state­ment was typed up into an eight-page con­fes­sion and a one-para­graph sum­ma­ry. It was the first time that a con­cen­tra­tion camp Kom­man­dant had pro­vid­ed details of the Final Solu­tion. Rudolf had con­fessed to coor­di­nat­ing the killing of two mil­lion peo­ple.

    ***

    From Hanns and Rudolf: The True Sto­ry of the Ger­man Jew Who Tracked Down and Caught the Kom­man­dant of Auschwitz, by Thomas Hard­ing. Copy­right © 2013 by Cack­ler Hard­ing Ltd. Reprint­ed by per­mis­sion of Simon & Schus­ter, Inc.

    Posted by Vanfield | August 28, 2013, 8:37 am

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