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THE ANGEL OF DEATH Some of the most enduring images of Auschwitz are the terrible scenes of the arrival of a transport of Jews to that concentration camp Amid the chaos and despair stood a lone figure in immaculate uniform and spotless white gloves inspecting the inmates and waving each in turn to one side or the other with his riding crop To one side lay starvation brutality and deprivation but a chance for survival To the other side instant death in the gas chambers The frightening figure making this decision was frequently Josef Mengele one of the doctors assigned to Auschwitz He has come to symbolize the manner in which medicine became a tool for genocide Mengele was born in Bavaria shortly before World War I to an upper middle class family which ran a machine tools business A promising student he was sent to Munich in the 1920s where he was attracted to the racial theories of Alfred Rosenberg the philosopher of National Socialism As Mengele became an adherent of National Socialist ideology he moved to Frankfurt-am-Main where he received his medical degree studying under Otmar von Verschuer the director of the Institute for Racial Hygiene at the University
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