Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mengele’s vile ‘diary’

The sale of a so-called diary by the notorious Nazi death camp doctor Josef Mengele has been widely reported in the last few weeks. The manuscript appears to have surfaced through a family member, possibly Mengele’s son Rolf, and passed to Alexander Autographs in Connecticut for auction. To promote the sale, the auctioneers made available a substantial collection of translated extracts from the document. These extracts, however, are a collection of opinions - many of them extraordinarily vile - and not a diary by any definition.

Mengele was born in 1911 into a wealthy Bavarian family, and had a strict Catholic upbringing. After studying philosophy at Munich, he joined the Stahlhelm, one of the paramilitary organisations that rose up after the First World War, and then the Sturmtruppen in 1933. He went on to study medicine at Frankfurt, and then, in 1934, he joined the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene where he did research into physical anthropology and genetics.

A committed Nazi, Mengele joined the Waffen SS during World War Two, serving on the Eastern Front until wounded. Thereafter, in 1943, he was appointed a medical officer at Auschwitz, where Jews were selected either for labour, extermination or medical experimentation. During his 21-month stay at (what became known as) the most notorious of all the prison camps, Mengele was in charge of many bizarre and brutal medical experiments - said to have killed more than 400,000 prisoners.

After the war, Mengele famously escaped to South America, where he lived secretly in Argentina. But when, in 1960, Mossad captured Adolf Eichmann, another high-level Nazi that had managed to escape from Europe, Mengele fled to Paraguay, and later to Brazil, where he died in 1979. (His death was not, in fact, certified until some years later when DNA evidence was used to prove the corpse of a man buried as Wolfgang Gerhard was Mengele not Gerhard, a neo-Nazi whose name he’d taken). For more information on Mengele see Wikipedia, or the many websites with information on the Holocaust, such as the Jewish Virtual Library.

A notebook written by Mengele in 1960, while in hiding in Argentina, surfaced recently for the first time ( thanks to Mengele’s son Rolf, according to press reports) when the well-known American firm Alexander Autographs, based in Stamford, Connecticut, put it up for auction. Its website gives many details. The document is ‘a child’s bound 6 1/4” x 8 1/4” composition notebook ironically titled in Spanish print: ‘Illustrated Zoology’, and which occupy fully every one of the 180 pages contained therein. Only the very first page bears a date, that being June 10, 1960.’

Alexander Autographs explains that the notebook is a ‘political and personal manifesto, a stream-of-consciousness ramble offering an incredible view into the mind of an obviously unrepentant and quite insane murderer still on the run fifteen years after escaping his crimes in collapsing Nazi Germany’. Interspersed with his lengthy diatribes on eugenics, political theory and the superiority of the German race, the auction company adds, are routine references to his childhood, the local flora and fauna in the area, and other more mundane subjects.

The Mengele document was put up for sale at an auction on 20-21 January, but, apparently, failed to meet its reserves. Soon after, however, the company confirmed that it had secured a private sale to an anonomous buyer - an ‘East Coast Jewish philanthropist’ whose grandmother had once met Mengele. Many of these news reports - though not all - refer to Mengele’s notebook as a ‘diary’: Nazi doctor Josef Mengele’s diary up for sale (The Daily Telegraph); Grandson of Auschwitz survivor buys Mengele's diary (Haaretz); ‘Angel of Death’ Diary Shows No Regrets (Der Spiegel); Family of Auschwitz Survivor Buys Mengele Diary (US News).

However, it is clear that the Mengele notebook is not a diary at all but, as the auctioneers say, more of a manifesto. Here are some extracts as translated and made available by Alexander Autographs.

‘I arrived in this house exactly a year ago. However, this anniversary gave me no reason to celebrate. . . I was solely responsible for my decisions. I hope that people close to me show some patience, and I hope they don’t endanger things.’

‘Beauty is a primary force of selection.’

‘There’s no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in nature. There’s only ‘appropriate’ or ‘inappropriate’ . . . The ‘inappropriate’ elements are kept from reproducing.’

‘What is ‘good’ is built out of many different fundamentals, which are all elements of the immortal soul. Maybe these values aren’t limited to our ‘human existence.’ Think about loyalty! It’s a result of breeding, as for example in dogs, man’s oldest companion. But you cannot breed qualities that weren’t there all along!!’

‘The youth movement honored the traditions of our ancestors while remembering our primary cultural values. We had to remember our inner strength, and this was of utmost importance after World War I and the shameful peace that followed. This burden was designed to keep our people in a constant condition of decay. We had to find the deepest sources of German strength to make our restoration possible. We could not expect other people to help us, and we couldn’t rely on religion. . . What has the Catholic Church done to amend or get rid of the absurd Treaty of Versailles? They had a chance to influence the synods of the Protestant Churches, which make up two thirds of the German people. The new strength had to come from the Germans themselves, and this is exactly where it came from. The youth movement laid the spiritual foundation for the national uprising that was to follow World War I. Later on, the youth movement became part of the great political organization, the Hitlerjugend. . . We had to liberate Germanic history from Roman and Catholic influences. . . We were ready for another attempt to change the empire’s shameful history. In the end, this heroic way of life prevailed, and ten years later all of Germany embraced it.’

‘British rule in India wasn’t that bad. . . The casts are gone, and everything turns into a gooey mass. This new society can be ruled easily through Bolshevik doctrine and ideology. . . Brahmans are built nicely; some of them even have blue eyes. . . And this is because Brahmans used the highest cast to preserve their noble blood. They are the descendants of Nordic peoples who once conquered and ruled India . . . They have managed to protect their racial traits through thousands of years . . . This cannot be achieved by mixing the highest with the lowest class. It can only be done by selecting the best. I don’t think I’ll have to explain how incredibly difficult this will be . . . Books and education can foster existing qualities, but they cannot produce them.’

‘We will need an army of chemists, physics, biologists, doctors, mathematicians, engineers and administrators to master this giant energy problem that is coming.’

‘However, there’s no school on this planet that will turn a moron or some other simpleton into a gifted human being. You can promote natural tendencies that are already genetically present, but nobody can create intelligence or higher abilities.’

‘If we don’t want the physically or mentally disabled left to their natural fate, and if we want them to be a burden on society, we should at least be ethical enough to make sure that their inferior genes aren’t passed on . . . The real problem is to define when human life is worth living and when it has to be eradicated. The age of technology has created new conditions. (Idiots can get jobs in factories, and they can now make a living raising a family by moving sheet metal strips around and punching buttons.) They want a higher birthrate and to promote families with many children. They actually make sure that an idiot with many kids gets a continuous pay raise. . . The feeble minded person (‘village idiot’) was separated from farmers because of his social status and low income. This separation is no longer the case in the age of technology. He is now on the same level with the farmer’s son who went into the city.’

‘We have to prevent the rise of the idiot masses. This goal isn’t new at all, and some countries started implementing political measures to reach this goal. They were stopped for political and ideological reasons; even though they showed promising results.’

‘The law to prevent genetically deficient offspring has to be reinstated. However, the law will lose its edge if marriages with only one genetically sufficient partner are legal.’

‘Abandon feminist ideology; biology doesn’t support equal rights . . . Women shouldn’t be working in higher positions. Women’s work has to depend on fulfilling a biological quota.’

‘Birth control can be done by sterilizing those with deficient genes. Those with good genes will be sterilized when the number of 5 children has been reached.’

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