The Truth About Josef Mengele's Death

The Guardian reports that in 2016, Brazil's University of São Paulo Medical School secured permission to use the bones of Nazi Germany's dreaded "angel of death," Josef Mengele, in forensic medicine courses. Mengele's skeletal remains became a tool to teach students how to study bones and match their physical condition with documented information about the person. It was a strangely antiseptic epilogue to a story whose horror defies description. Mengele was a breed of monster all his own, a doctor who opted not to heal the sick but instead conducted torturous and often fatal experiments on Jews at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

At just three years old Lidia Maksymowicz found herself surrounded by squalor at Auschwitz. Mengele made her one of his guinea pigs. "I can't remember his face, just his polished boots," Maksymowicz told Deutsche Welle. She tried to hide, but found her. He tested vaccines on her, leaving her almost lifeless after "countless injections." Mengele performed surgeries on children without using anesthesia, infected twins with tuberculosis and spotted fever, and injected dye into kids' eyes. Many died and Mengele murdered others. Yet this nightmare made flesh eluded justice and ultimately died a free man.

The Reaper claims the angel of death

Born in 1911, Josef Mengele was the son of business owner and future mayor Karl Mengele, who manufactured farming machinery and avidly supported the Nazi Party, via Deutsche Welle. In 1932, Karl offered to host a campaign event for Hitler at his factory and joined the Nazi Party the following year. Josef joined the party in 1937, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He would later join the SS as a medic on the Eastern Front during WWII, but a wound forced him to return to the home front.

A medical geneticist by training, Mengele went to work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics and ascended to the ranks of SS captain after returning to Germany in 1943. Later that year, he was reassigned to Auschwitz, where he tormented, traumatized, and murdered captive Jews. In 1945, the advancing Soviet Army prompted Mengele to flee Auschwitz. U.S. forces briefly detained the angel of death but failed to identify him as a wanted war criminal. So they let him leave.

The doctor assumed a false identity and worked as a farmhand in Germany for about four years before absconding to Argentina. Mengele remained on the run, relocating to Paraguay and Brazil. In 1979 he suffered a stroke while swimming near a Brazilian vacation resort and drowned.