Josef Mengele, the Doctor from Auschwitz

By Ulrich Völklein

If anyone embodies the shadows of evil cast in and upon Auschwitz, it was surely Josef Mengele. In this, the eponymous ‘Josef Mengele, the Doctor from Auschwitz’, Völklein comes quite quickly to a chilling and sombre conclusion. Dubbed by the inmates and survivors as the “Angel of Death”, Mengele was not affected by others’ opinions, put upon a path, or influenced politically in his work. Rather, he was completely himself at all times: before Auschwitz, in Auschwitz and afterwards. Völklein decides this is the case after examining the interrogation accounts of survivors and accomplices, their letters and their diaries. It’s a short biography, one that pulls back the veil but doesn’t dig deeply into the man’s younger years. There are other books with much more detail, but if you would like to understand a little bit about Mengele’s psyche, this is a practical starting point.

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