How Josef Mengele became a wanted man
When it comes to being a heinous person, Josef Mengele is certainly near the top of the list. The physician was responsible for the deaths of countless Jewish people in Nazi Germany. Trying to capture him for these crimes would be a tall task for everyone.
From innocent child to horrendous monster
Growing up, Mengele had a normal life as the oldest child out of three. His father Karl was a successful businessman as the founder of Karl Mengele & Sons company. In high school, Mengele was infatuated with art and music. While he was into the arts, his heart lied in philosophy. After graduating high school, he went to Munich, Germany to begin his higher education.
While stationed in Munich, the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten was making a name for itself. The organization was created to assist wounded soldiers during World War I. By the time Mengele was in college, the organization had a half-million members. Mengele saw what they were doing and decided to join the revolution in 1931.
Three years after joining the group, the Nazi Party decided to cast a dark shadow. They took control of the group and absorbed it in their Sturmabteilung force. Under the Nazi party, Mengele started believing most of the garbage they were spewing at him. In 1937, he officially joined the bad guys. After earning several awards on the battlefield, he was stationed at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
No regard for human life
During his first few months, Mengele’s job was to simply order people to gas chambers. Over time, he wanted to conduct medical experiments on several prisoners. He didn’t just grab anyone to deal more emotional damage to them. Mengele was attracted to using young identical twins for these studies. He gathered up a slew of twin children and kept them separate from the pack. He called himself Uncle Mengele and told lies to keep them from a harsh truth. “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,” one unnamed doctor said.
Many of Mengele’s experiments were completely sickening. To see if eyes can change color, he placed chemicals in his victims’ eyeballs. One experiment saw him sewing two twins together to make a conjoined twin. He didn’t show any mercy if one twin died during these experiments. He just simply killed the other one and continued as if nothing happened.
The jig is up
Unfortunately for Mengele, the Soviet’s Red Army liberated Auschwitz and were looking for his head. With his experiment records in hand, Mengele made a quick dash out of the region. In June 1945, things took a turn when he was captured by the Americans. One thing that kept him from severe trouble was the lack of a SS blood group tattoo. After his release, he started using the fake names “Fritz Hollmann” and “Fritz Ullman.”
Mengele found a brand new life in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During his time, he hooked up with his father’s business as a salesman. Mengele wasn’t done with the name changes, though. After opening up a pharmaceutical company, many people were concerned if he actually had a medical license. He switched to José Mengele to prevent folks from possibly finding out about his Auschwitz activities. With another name, Mengele thought he was in the clear. Unfortunately, the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, was on the hunt for him.
Everyone’s looking for him
Mossad attempted to find him in a Nazi refugee house in Buenos Aires, but they left with nothing. Before they decided to hang it up, Germany offered a reward for Mengele’s arrest. Inspired by the dollar signs, Mossad sent a massive unit to discover Mengele’s location. Mengele heard this news, too, and raced to Brazil with the help of Nazi supporter Wolfgang Gerhard. While in São Paulo, he owned a farm with Géza and Gitta Stammer. While Mengele used another fake name to trick them, they eventually discovered the truth. The Stammers couldn’t do anything since they could be in trouble for harboring a fugitive.
While Mengele was busy with the farm, Mossad had members searching through Paraguay and São Paulo. During their trip through São Paulo, they saw someone that looked like Mengele. Unfortunately, they ceased the search in 1962 before they could strike. The reason for its abrupt end involved its low budget. That’s like Steven Spielberg seeing his empty bank account and canceling Jurassic Park on day one of production.
All things must come to an end
Unbeknownst to Mengele, he was no longer being hunted by one of the world’s biggest agencies. Seven years after the search ended, he bought a farmhouse with the Stammers in Caieiras. Unfortunately, the relationship between him and The Stammers deteriorated at a rapid rate. When the Stammers returned to São Paulo with a new house, they prevented Mengele from joining them. Instead, they bought a smaller place nearby and rented it out to him.
In 1976, Mengele suffered a stroke. Like anyone else, he did what he could to prevent this from happening again. Unfortunately, he suffered another stroke while swimming three years later. This time around, he officially met his maker. On February 7, 1979, he died at the age of 67. Unsurprisingly enough, Mengele didn’t get buried with his real name. He was buried under the name Wolfgang Gerhard. The real Gerhard allowed Mengele to use his name to protect his identity. This insane tale couldn’t have ended any other way.