Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Chapter 17

Dr. Auschwitz:
Josef Mengele 
  The SS man from Mein Kampf — very righteous and puritanical.    
  — Auschwitz prisoner doctor   
  He was capable of being so kind to the children, to have them become fond of him, to bring them sugar, to think of small details in their daily lives, and to do things we would genuinely admire .... And then, next to that, ... the crematoria smoke, and these children, tomorrow or in a half-hour, he is going to send them there. Well, that is where the anomaly lay.   
  — Auschwitz prisoner doctor     
My work on the Nazi doctors began and ended with Josef Mengele. It was initiated by legal documents on him and was completed in the summer of 1985, just at the time a team of scientists declared bones discovered in a Brazilian grave to be his.

Although I had originally considered focusing my study on Mengele, I soon realized that such a focus could further the cult of demonic personality already surrounding him and thereby neglect the more general Nazi phenomenon of medicalized killing. Not that I aim to debunk this exemplar of Nazi evil: while he is obscured by his demonic mythology, he has in many ways earned it. Rather, my task is to try to understand how his individual psychological traits fed, and fed upon, the Nazi biomedical vision, and to learn what he has to tell us about medicalized killing and corrupted medical science. For the fact that Mengele seemed to thrive in Auschwitz says much not only about the man, but even more about the psychology of the institution.  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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