Joseph Mengele (1911-1979) became notorious by the crimes he committed as a physician in concentration camp Auschwitz. He conducted ghastly medical experiments on inmates and during selections on the platfom of Auschwitz-Birkenau, he sent numerous Jews and Gypsies to the gas chambers. He paid special attention to twins and to people with a conspicuous physical abnormality such as dwarfism. With his research, he aimed to make a contribution to the nationalsocialist racial ideology that assumed superiority of the Arian race and the inferiority of groups of the population such as Jews and Gypsies.
In the 30s, Mengele studied medicine and anthropology. In the course of time, he was introduced to eugenetics, the science aimed at improving the race. The notion that one race was superior to the other and that the physically and mentally disabled posed a threat to the well being of the race, did not originate from Hitlerís mind but was common knowledge within the scientific community in Nazi Germany. During his lessons in racial science, the foundation was laid for the crimes Mengele would later committ in Auschwitz.
Prior to Mengele being posted in Auschwitz in the spring of 1943, he served as an SS physician on the Eastern front. The camp doctor who would be feared so much later on, returned a highly decorated war veteran who had risked his life for others. It was in Auschwitz where he abandoned medical ethics and took lives instead of saving them. In this, he was not alone though, as in Auschwitz as well as in other concentration camps and elsewhere, German physicians conducted experiments on inmates during the war, contributing to the mass murder of the disabled, Gypsies and Jews.
Much more than any other Nazi doctor, Mengele became the symbol of perversity of the medical science in Nazi Germany. Nicknamed the Doctor of Death, he typified the cruel camp doctor who conducted all kinds of bizarre experiments on inmates. His notoriety only increased as he managed to remain hidden in South-America for more than 30 years and was never tracked down during his lifetime. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal kept surprising the world with new "facts" on Mengeleís whereabouts, even when the Nazi doctor had long since passed away without having stood trial for his crimes.