Josef Mengele was born the eldest of three children on 16 March 1911 to Karl and Walburga (Hupfauer) Mengele in Günzburg, Bavaria, Germany. His younger brothers were Karl Jr and Alois. Mengele’s father was founder of the Karl Mengele & Sons company, producers of farm machinery. Mengele did well in school and developed an interest in music, art, and skiing. He completed high school in April 1930 and went on to study medicine at Goethe University Frankfurt and philosophy at the University of Munich. Munich was the headquarters of the Nazi Party. In 1931 Mengele joined the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, a paramilitary organization that was in 1934 absorbed into the Nazi Sturmabteilung (Storm Detachment; SA). In 1935, Mengele earned a PhD in anthropology from the University of Munich. In January 1937, at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt, he became the assistant to Dr. Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a scientist conducting genetics research, with a particular interest in twins. As an assistant to von Verschuer, Mengele focused on the genetic factors resulting in a cleft lip and palate or cleft chin. His thesis on the subject earned him a cum laude doctorate in medicine in 1938. Both of his degrees were later rescinded by the issuing universities. In a letter of recommendation, von Verschuer praised Mengele’s reliability and his ability to verbally present complex material in a clear manner. The American author Robert Jay Lifton notes that Mengele’s published works did not deviate much from the scientific mainstream of the time, and would probably have been viewed as valid scientific efforts even outside the borders of Nazi Germany.
US Department of Justice, Criminal Division
In the Matter of Josef Mengele
Report to the Attorney General
United States of America
Exhibits Prepared by : Office of Special Investigations Criminal Division, Neal M. Sher Director, Eli M. Rosenbaum Principal Deputy Director
Josef Mengele was an SS physician, infamous for his inhumane medical experimentation upon concentration camp prisoners at Auschwitz. Born on March 16, 1911, in Günzburg, near Ulm, he was the eldest son of Karl Mengele, a prosperous manufacturer of farming implements. In 1935, Mengele earned a Ph.D. in physical anthropology from the University of Munich. In January 1937, at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt, he became the assistant of Dr. Otmar von Verschuer, a leading scientific figure widely known for his research with twins. In 1937 Mengele joined the Nazi Party. The following year, the same year in which he received his medical degree, he joined the SS. In June 1940, Mengele was drafted into the army, and thereafter volunteered into the medical service of the Combat Waffen-SS. Although documentation is scant and often contradictory regarding Mengele’s activities between this time and early 1943, it is clear that he first functioned as a medical expert for the Race and Settlement Main Office [Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt, or RuSHA] in summer 1940 at the Central Immigration Office [Einwandererstelle] North-East in Posen (today Poznan) and thereafter served as a medical officer with the SS Division Wiking (SS Pioneer Battalion V), with which he saw action on the Eastern Front. Wounded while on campaign, Mengele returned to Germany in January 1943, and began work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (KWI) for Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics, directed by his former mentor von Verschuer. In April of 1943, he received a promotion to the rank of SS captain; this advancement shortly preceded Mengele’s transfer to Auschwitz, on May 30, 1943.
In 1933, approximately 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe, comprising 1.7% of the total European population. This number represented more than 60 percent of the world’s Jewish population at that time, estimated at 15.3 million. The majority of Jews in prewar Europe resided in eastern Europe.
During this period, the largest Jewish communities in this area were in :
Soviet Union, 2.525.000
Great Britain, 300.000
Before the Nazis seized power in 1933, Europe had a richly diverse set of Jewish cultures, many of which were dynamic and highly developed, that drew from hundreds and, in some areas, a thousand or more years of Jewish life on the continent. The diverse nature of individual Jewish communities in occupations, religious practices, involvement and integration in regional and national life, and other areas made for fruitful and multifarious Jewish life across Europe. In many countries, Jews stood as cultural and political luminaries, and had marched alongside non-Jews in World War I. In little more than a decade, most of Europe would be conquered, occupied, or annexed by Nazi Germany and its Axis partners, and the majority of European Jews – two out of every three – would be dead.
Two Sherman M-4A1 of the 2nd Armored Division, July 26 1944, St Jean de Daye, France (US Army)
When the German offensive struck the Ardennes on December 16, 1944, the 2nd Armored Division was 70 miles away to the north near Baesweiller, Germany, as part of the Ninth Army. It had engaged in several weeks of heavy offensive fighting to reach the Roer River. Then, during the four weeks prior to Dec 16, the division had a dual mission. It held a defensive sector of the XIX Corps sector with a small force while the remainder of the command was held in Corps reserve. During this month of reserve status, 17 replacement officers and 464 enlisted men were integrated into the fighting teams. All units had conducted maintenance and training along with rest and rehabilitation. Current thought among commanders had resulted in the reorganization of one regiment (86th Armored) on Dec 15. This regiment kept the three battalion organization but made one into a reconnaissance and security battalion composed of a reconnaissance company and a light tank company. The two assault battalions each contained one light tank company and three medium tank companies. The organization of the 67th Armored Regiment remained unchanged with its light tank battalion and two medium tank battalions. Thus the status of the division is viewed as the German attack began.
Official File – Brig Gen R. MCCLure, Chief PWD SHAEF (Main) (For Mr. C. D. Jackson)
From : Brigadier A. C. Neville, BGS (P&W), Main HQ, 21st Army Group
Report on Atrocities committed by the Germans against the Civilian Population in Belgium
This report was originally published in December 1944 by Headquarters 21st Army Group under the tittle of “Report on German Atrocities”. It has now been decided to publish that part of the original report which deal with atrocities committed by the Germans against the civilian population in Belgium. Since the original report was published certain additional information regarding German atrocities against the civilian population has become available and has been included in this edition.
The following abbreviations occur in the report :
SS – Schutz Staffel (Originally mean bodyguards, now signifies Nazi Party troops)
SD – Sicherheitsdienst (German Security Service)
SP – Sicherheitspolizei (German Security Police)
GFP – Geheime Feldpolizei (German Field Police)
VNV – Vlaamish Nationaal Verbond (Belgian (Vlaamishe) pro-German movement)
MNB – Mouvement National Belge (Belgian Resistance Movement)