Sunday, 1 February 2009

Mengele’s Twin Experiments: An Aryan Master Race in Brazil?

Arbeit macht frei? The gate of no return at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Image from Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

There are over ten times more twins in a small Brazilian town than elsewhere on average. An Argentinian historian claims that this is the result of Josef Mengele’s genetic experiments.

Josef Mengele (1911-1979) was known as the Angel of Death. The Nazi doctor was notorious for performing medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau from 1943 to 1945. He was also responsible for sending thousands of hapless Jews, Gypsies and other inmates to a certain death in gas chambers.

After World War II Mengele escaped to South America. Historian Jorge Camarasa interviewed people living in the small Brazilian town of Candido Godoi. He believes that Mengele continued his experiments there with the aim of creating a master race of blue-eyed Aryans. In this farming community, one in five pregnancies resulted in twins. Most of them were blond, blue-eyed “Aryans”.

The twin boom began in 1963, which roughly corresponds to the time when an itinerant medic now thought to be none other than Mengele was first seen in the area.

In his new book Mengele: the Angel of Death in South America Camarasa recounts the post-war odyssey of the chief Nazi eugenicist. He says that Mengele probably found refuge in one of the German enclaves in South America and continued his experiments even after Israeli agents seized his compatriot and fellow war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

The Nazi race ideology owes much to the writings of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). A professor of zoology who was the chief spokesman for Darwinian evolution in continental Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century, Haeckel is still remembered for his fraudulent embryo drawings. Less well known are his views on the inferiority of the black “races”. Like Charles Darwin, he thought they were less evolved than the white “races”.

While genetic studies have indicated that the entire concept of race is artificial, the Nazis sought to help natural selection in weeding out the less fit individuals and, probably reflecting the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), building a new Aryan super race.

The inhabitants of Candido Godoi remember Mengele as a friendly veterinarian and itinerant medic, who used the name Rudolph Weiss.

At Auschwitz, Mengele was known as the White Angel (der weisse Engel. His adopted surname Weiss is the German word for white. While this might be a mere coincidence, it could also be evidence for his deep-seated acceptance of the Nazi race ideology.


Evans, Nick. 2009. Nazi angel of death Josef Mengele 'created twin town in Brazil'. Telegraph. 23 January.