Dr. Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor who performed medical experiments at the Auschwitz death camps, dies of a stroke while swimming in Brazil. In college, Mengele first studied philosophy and then took a medical degree at the University of Frankfurt. Soon thereafter he enlisted in the SA, the paramilitary force of the Nazi Party. Mengele was so enthusiastic about Nazism that in 1934 he joined the research staff of the Nazi Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene. When war erupted, Mengele was a medical officer with the SS. In 1943, Mengele was called to a position that would earn him his well-deserved infamy. Auschwitz’ incoming prisoners were shouted at either “Right!” or “Left!” to direct them to their fate of tortured labor or extermination by Mengele. Eager to advance his medical career by publishing “groundbreaking” work, he then began experimenting on live Jewish prisoners. In the guise of medical “treatment,” Mengele injected, or ordered others to inject, thousands of inmates with everything from petrol to chloroform to study the chemicals’ effects. Among other atrocities, he plucked out the eyes of Gypsy corpses to study eye pigmentation, and conducted numerous gruesome studies of twins.
Mengele managed to escape imprisonment after the war by moving to South America. He became a citizen of Paraguay in 1959 and then moved to Brazil. where he met up with another former Nazi party member, Wolfgang Gerhard. In 1985, a multinational team of forensic experts traveled to Brazil in search of Mengele. They determined that a man named Gerhard had died of a stroke while swimming in 1979. Dental records later revealed that Mengele had, at some point, assumed Gerhard’s identity and was the stroke victim