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, 110 (6), 486-8

A Milestone in Medical History. German Medical Association Finally Apologizes for Atrocities Committed by German Physicians Under the Nazis

A Milestone in Medical History. German Medical Association Finally Apologizes for Atrocities Committed by German Physicians Under the Nazis

Arthur Gale. Mo Med.

Erratum in

  • Mo Med. 2014 Jan-Feb;111(1):19
  • Errata.
    Mo Med. 2014 Jan-Feb;111(1):19. Mo Med. 2014. PMID: 30323504 Free PMC article.

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Born in 1911, Josef Mengele was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. He qualified for scientific doctorates in Anthropology from Munich University and in Medicine from Frankfurt University. He became one of the more notorious characters to emerge from the Third Reich in World War II as an SS medical officer who supervised the selection of victims of the Holocaust, determining who was to be killed and who was to temporarily become a forced laborer, and for performing bizarre and murderous human experiments on prisoners. Surviving the war, after a period of living incognito in Germany he fled to South America, where he evaded capture for the rest of his life, despite being hunted as a Nazi war criminal. He drowned in 1979.
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Mengele used Auschwitz as an opportunity to continue his research on heredity, using inmates for human experimentation. He was particularly interested in identical twins; Mengele’s experiments also included attempts to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children’s eyes, various amputations of limbs, and other surgeries such as kidney removal, without anaesthesia.
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The words “Arbeit Macht Frei” were above the main entrance gate at Auschwitz I gate meaning, “Work will set you free.” The Auschwitz concentration camp was a network of concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It consisted of Auschwitz I (the base camp); Auschwitz II–Birkenau (the extermination camp); Auschwitz III–Monowitz (a labor camp to staff a factory), and 45 satellite camps.
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