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Josef Mengele, Pediatric Transition Pioneer
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Josef Mengele “liked the smell of the crematoria.” To him, it was the scent of progress. In her memoir Echoes from Auschwitz, Eva Mozes Kor tells the story of her incredible survival, along with a twin sister Miriam, at the hands of the infamous camp doctor. “Even today, none of us really knows what was done to us,” Kor wrote in 1995. Her allegations include grisly experimental sex changes on children.
The older girls told of being taken to a lab where blood from some boys was transfused into their bodies and their blood was transfused into the bodies of the young boys. Some of the doctors who were working on this project told the young girls that they were going to make them into young men. One twin had his sex organs removed in an attempt to turn him into a girl.
A eugenicist, Mengele was in fact determined to “resolve the secret of the reproduction of the race,” according to Gerald L. Posner and John Ware in Mengele: The Complete Story, published in 2000. Surviving inmates understood that he “wanted to find the cause of multiple pregnancies in order to be able to repopulate Germany,” and say that Mengele “spoke of it very freely,” according to psychologist Robert Jay Lifton. Conversely, Mengele was an advocate of ‘racial hygiene’ and he definitely took part in untold thousands of experimental sterilization procedures that were conducted on prisoners at Auschwitz, many of whom died afterward from complications and lack of care. Survivors were often left scarred and in pain, suffering lifelong health consequences.
In his 1986 study The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide, Lifton notes that the more bizarre reports surrounding sterilization experiments can be garbled, and it is not always clear which camp doctor did the operation. Nevertheless, after first doubting such accounts, only to spend many years hearing them from survivors and witnesses, Lifton was “not so sure” anymore. “My belief is that each of these reports stems from some form of actual abuse,” he wrote, “usually experimental, even if there was confusion in details, including the question of which Nazi doctor was involved.” Dr. Mengele “exemplified the Nazi biological revolutionary” in Lifton’s words. Based on primary sources, Mengele was clearly a pioneer of pediatric sterilizations, including possible experimental sex change surgeries.
Of course, no perfect picture of the infamous infirmaries of Auschwitz could possibly be reconstructed. Not only are the survivors mortal, but so much evidence of what happened was destroyed in the fires of German defeat. “Isn’t it a pity?” Mengele said of his own records, lost to the Red Army when it liberated the camp. Gone were his collections of eyeballs, “pinned up like butterflies,” carefully curated by color.
Human aesthetics obsessed him. Every test subject was examined in detail by a trained staff of camp nurses who took careful measurements of every physical feature (anthropometry) and remarked on every blemish. German pseudoscience had produced an entire body of theory around racial attributes and this was all supposed to be empirical data which would prove it.
As Posner and Ware explain, despite being considered handsome Mengele did not fit the preferred racial stereotypes of Nazi “hygiene,” and was very conscious of his supposed shortcomings.
Mengele's own racial classification by the SS had put him in the Dynarisch-Ostisch category, which meant that his predominant features were of "Eastern" origin. Since childhood he had been self-conscious about his slightly tawny skin, his penetrating brown-green eyes, and his dark brown hair. At school he had endured mild taunts from his classmates about his Gypsy looks. And in Bavaria, where Mengele grew up, the word for "Gypsy" had a derogatory meaning denoting an unstable and unsettled person. His home town of Günzburg, especially, was full of folklore about Gypsies coming to kidnap children who misbehaved.
Beauty standards had always shaped the proto-science of anthropology in the German academy. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, the German naturalist who stamped the term “Caucasian” into our racial discourse in 1795, chose the “most beautiful” skull from his collection to be the ancestor of white Europeans. A full-blown pseudoscience in 1933, when Nazis took power in Germany, “racial hygiene” conceived of itself as a progressive movement, even an ethical one.
Mengele personified this mindset. He was clinical, dispassionate, and at the same time “on occasion he even examined and treated prisoner patients, rare for SS doctors,” according to Lifton, because it was his professional calling to do so. Mengele really believed he was making the world a better place, and his benchmark of success in “improving the human race” was a totalitarian imposition of highly-refined stereotypes. Among his most famous experiments were attempts to alter the eye color of living patients. Painful, blinding, these procedures were done without anesthetic.
Witnesses describe Mengele as “particularly cold and cynical” when he took part in the selection process, which he did as often as he could. Mengele was the rare selector who worked extra shifts in this role, which most SS officers found exhausting and demoralizing. Dr. Ella Lingens, a camp survivor, noted that unlike his peers, Mengele “performed the selections without stimulants of any kind,” except perhaps breakfast coffee. As unfortunates emptied from the cattle cars and came down the ramp, Mengele “had the air of a man who took great satisfaction in his work and was pleased with his calling,” according to one witness. He would carry a riding crop. While he examined the nude selections, Lifton records another survivor saying, he occasionally struck someone with his little horse whip, “not at all excited but … casual … just playing around as though it were a little funny.”
Stereotypical sex behaviors were another Mengele obsession. One camp doctor told Lifton he “recalled Mengele being much more concerned than the other SS doctors about lesbianism in the women’s camp as well as about homosexuality in the men’s camp.” Mengele lived his own stereotypes as well. On one occasion, he mistook a topless lesbian for a man. When she turned around to face him and answer his rebuke with disrespect, Mengele was so embarrassed that he fled the scene rather than punish her. Even his anti-Semitism had a stereotypical, and sexual, origin: a Jew had seduced his fiancée, once. He never mentioned the birth of a son to staff in 1944, so detached was his life in Auschwitz. The camp was “a paradise of delusions,” Lifton says.
Every so often, during the selections, Mengele would spot a pair of twins. “Zwillinge!” He would shout, sometimes running to them in joy: Twins! Mengele bargained with other selectors to save pairs of twins from the gas chambers for his strange research project. Lifton thinks that Mengele “probably came to Auschwitz for that purpose” of studying twins. As a student of Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a professor at the University of Münster, Mengele had been trained in the use of twins for so-called genetic studies. Posner and Ware conclude that at least 200 pairs of twins were selected for Mengele’s project, which Lifton describes as “a caricature of an academic research institute.” Dr. Lengyel, a prisoner doctor, rubbished Mengele as a “charlatan.”
Yet “whatever their hubris, and whatever the elements of pseudoscience and scientism in what they actually did, they identified themselves with the science of their time,” Lifton writes in his 2019 volume Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry. The science was settled, Mengele thought, and only the great experiment to understand it completely remained.
Death was the purpose of Auschwitz and Mengele ultimately expected the twins he selected to die. Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, another prisoner-doctor who performed dissections on dead twins for Mengele, explained why Auschwitz suited Mengele so well. “Where under normal circumstances can one find twins who die at the same place and at the same time?”
For twins like everyone else are separated by life's varying circumstances. One may die at ten, the other at fifty. In the Auschwitz camp, however, there were several hundred sets of twins and therefore as many possibilities.
Eva Mozes Kor only survived because her sister, the weaker twin, recovered from illness. Her memoir includes the harrowing details of how she procured food for Miriam, and then decades later, donated a kidney. If one twin died in Mengele’s care, so did the other. For science. Usually this was done with a bullet, but often enough it was done with chloroform injection. Mengele would have any prisoner dissected for any reason, for example over a disputed diagnosis. Surviving twins simply did not survive his experiments.
“Crude surgery and other painful tests were performed, often without anesthetics,” Posner and Ware write, reading from the Nuremberg trials.
There were needless amputations, lumbar punctures, typhus injections, and wounds deliberately infected to compare how each twin reacted. In the view of the West German indictment, all were devoid of "any recognizable knowledge being gained from them." Scores of Mengele's guinea pigs died at this stage, many of them from a particularly bizarre experiment in which the blood supplies of different pairs of twins were interchanged.
Twins allegedly had blood and sperm taken for injection into German women, to see if they had twins. Other “weird sexual experiments” involved forced sex of twin pairs to see if they also had twins, according to Nazi Doctors. Just as Mengele wanted to “resolve the secret of the reproduction of the race,” however, he saw his work as taking control over nature, a rejection of evolutionary progress. “Racial leadership” not only required the “cleansing” of Jews, it made killing out to be therapeutic, a way to heal humanity.
Thus “mysticism was given a biological and medical face” in Nazism, Lifton writes. One Nazi doctor told Lifton that he joined the party after hearing a speaker declare that “National Socialism is nothing but applied biology.” Jews and Gypsies and other undesirables were a sickness. Even Bolsheviks were a pathogen to be cured. “If you are curing sickness, anything is permissible,” Lifton observes. “Genocide itself can be understood as the purification of the world by means of eliminating a racial, ethnic, or political contaminant.”
Thus the experimental sterilizations. Altogether, historians think some 200-250,000 people were sterilized by the Nazis. It was as high a priority as war production. “Establishing widespread compulsory sterilization became a sacred mission,” Lifton says. To that end, there were attempts to industrialize the process, for example through bombardment of the gonads with X-rays. In order to determine the efficiency and efficacy of this procedure, the sex organs of the subjects could be biopsied. According to witnesses Lifton interviewed, Mengele was in the middle of it all. Emphasis added:
One survivor told me that Mengele “cut the balls” of a very young twin, and that he (this witness), in fact saw the testicles “lying on our table.” A Greek survivor, one of whose testicles had been removed, appeared in court against Schumann but held Mengele equally responsible and told of the latter’s supervising the crude method of collecting sperm from males involved in sterilization experiments.
One twin without his testicles, the other left with them intact to see what will happen, is very much like John Money’s experiment with the Reimer twins. Mengele was playing god, and in fact many camp survivors revered him as God upon their liberation, Lifton reports, for his sinister form of care offered privileges and a perceived chance of survival. Posner and Ware write of the “chocolate and special clothes” that Mengele distributed to his victims. Some survivors confessed to Lifton that their sense of receiving “genuine” affection from Mengele lingered for years afterward, that his crimes had to be “constantly described to me” before a numb acceptance could begin.
If the people who knew his crimes best could still not see his criminality, surely we cannot be certain of all specific crimes Dr. Mengele committed in Auschwitz. However, we know enough.
We have a basis of comparison to the death of a “healthy” 18-year-old boy who, having undergone puberty blockade, received “gender-affirming” surgery to construct a “neo-vagina” out of his micropenis and a part of his colon. Described in a 2016 paper, “Lethal Necrotizing Cellulitis Caused by ESBL-Producing E. Coli after Laparoscopic Intestinal Vaginoplasty,” published in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, this death was a direct result of the very same “Dutch protocol” child sex change experiment which has justified the entire project of early pediatric “transition” in the 21st century.
Avoiding that connection seems to have been a priority for the authors. Dr. Michael Biggs explains in a recent podcast that although the paper acknowledges that the deceased was one of the 70 patients in the study, the authors failed to note that the surgery was the result of the puberty blockade. “It wasn’t like a random hospital infection,” Biggs says. “It was actually due to the consequences of puberty suppression.”
“Instead of using the penile tissue, they will have to use some of your colon” to construct a neo-vagina out of a micropenis, Biggs told the Wider Lens podcast. “Now of course, that means opening up your intestines, and that's obviously much much much riskier because then you have a different site and of course, intestines are also messy.” An infection took over rapidly, killing the patient in 24 hours.
Of the Dutch study, Biggs says that “the intellectual foundations were much shakier” than advertised. “It wasn’t particularly well-grounded in the literature” on gender dysphoric children. Full data was only kept on 32 of the children in the study, “which is a relatively small number to kind of base a massive medical procedure on,” and then one of the 70 original patients was ultimately killed by the study — “a big deal,” Biggs says, that “would close down any other treatment that had that fatality rate among healthy kids.”
The paper nevertheless insists that "vaginal reconstruction” has a “positive influence” on quality of life.
Dr. Marci Bowers, who conducted the same experimental surgery on Jazz Jennings — and argued with her fellow surgeon during the procedure — has since gone on the record admitting that boys will never experience orgasm if they undergo an early puberty blockade (Tanner stage II). Confessing this reality in a talk delivered at Duke University, Bowers was not at all deterred from further experimentation.
These are to be answered questions: So can we avoid puberty and get good adult results? And secondly, how do we? How do we assure someone that they're going to be able to be sexually responsive? Do we remove the blockers during the course of their adolescence? And let a little bit of puberty come back? Do we delay it a little bit? Maybe into tanners three or four? Maybe before they have their first orgasms? Maybe? Or? Or do we add testosterone later in their adolescence or early adulthood? Or at or around the time of surgery, enough not to cause a secondary sex characteristics they were trying to avoid, but maybe beneficial to enhance this ability. So these are these are questions that I of course, I'm very interested in.
Rather than slam the brakes on pseudoscientific reification of gendered stereotypes leading to profitable plastic surgery, Dr. Bowers wants to try everything. “The science is settled,” according to transgender advocacy, so the only thing left to do is experiment until we find the perfect way to do the impossible.
Homophobia is an undeniable force in this sick social experiment. Susie Green, former head of Mermaids, plainly admitted in a 2015 TED Talk that her son’s toy choices disturbed her husband, leading to the puberty intervention, leading to the micropenis, so that “he didn’t have much to work with,” Green joked. At 12, she flew him to the US for the blocker. At 16, she flew him to Thailand for the procedure, which has since been banned for minors in that country.
Recently, after resisting efforts at transparency, the Tavistock clinic in the UK was forced to produce records showing that Green wielded undue activist influence over clinicians. As a result, the GIDS clinic became “institutionally homophobic” according to former staff who spoke with journalist Hannah Barnes. According to former staff who are themselves homosexual, heterosexual colleagues at Tavistock did not understand that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth often display extreme gender nonconformity. Discussions of sexuality were actively discouraged.
According to the same sources, things are worse in the United States. Missouri clinic whistleblower Jamie Reed, a lesbian married to a “trans man,” flatly told the Triggernometry podcast that her former employer is “transing away the gay.” Reed says that “part of the trans epidemic is that kids do not feel like it is okay to be gay.” Because sexuality is snuffed out by the sex change, it is impossible to know which specific children would have been gay or lesbian if left alone and not “affirmed.” Jazz Jennings was four years old when he wanted to wear a sequined swimsuit. His punishment is to never know what it would have been like to be a whole adult human being.
“Playing God” is an obvious problem with pediatric transition advocacy, and in turn it explains this casual dismissal of concerns about homosexuality, autism, abuse, mental illness, and other risk factors that keep showing up in survivor accounts — that is, the accounts of detransitioners, transition regretters, and their families. “Diagnostic overshadowing,” the tendency of clinicians to ascribe every symptom of distress to a “gender identity” that is hurting to be released from the body-cage, leads to amazing mental gymnastics. “Gender-affirming therapists” will even help someone claiming to have multiple personalities form a consensus on what sort of body the supposed personalities want to share.
“The science is settled,” after all, so all that remains is experimentation to figure out the perfect alchemical formula for each individual “gender journey.” Some kids will suffer agonizing, gruesome deaths along the way, but that is just the price of progress. The doctors and surgeons who do this consider themselves to be good people and professional healers focused on helping patients.
Everything that follows — totalitarian language policing, major media gaslighting, and increasingly violent agitation to silence all dissent on pediatric transition — is justified as respect for their professional judgment. We are all supposed to live in this self-contained reality, on pain of cancellation.
Solipsism — a self-contained reality — is the hallmark of “gender identity.” Self-imagined, self-described, self-defined, constructed as self-image: the “lived experience” becomes a tyranny of atomized reality. Every unique and wonderful “trans child” is entitled to their own paradise of delusions.
In Losing Reality, Lifton writes of Nazism as a cult, noting that “much of the fuel for the cultist engine is provided by a strong emotional commitment to apocalyptic world purification.” A convinced Nazi could be “infused with transcendence, the sense of being someone entering a religious order.”
In recent years, the term “extremism” has been abused to mean whatever the speaker finds extreme; Lifton writes that “cultism” is a better word for totalitarian ideologies. “Movements that kill great numbers of people are likely to do so with the claim to virtue — and that their virtue tends to be, as it was, here, one of purification and healing.”
Psychologists have used the term “splitting” to describe the cognitive process of dividing the world into good and evil that takes place in Cluster B personalities. Lifton uses the word “doubling” synonymously to analyze the psychology of a violent cult such as Nazism. “Doubling is an active psychological process, a means of adaptation to extremity,” he writes. He is at pains to “stress the enormous significance of what I call historical or psychohistorical dislocation in contemporary life.”
Such dislocation derives from the weakening of the institutions that organize the life cycle and its belief systems — whether involving religion, authority, governance, marriage, family, or death. Many of these institutions, having lost their internal coherence, become burdensome. Cults can provide substitute structures that have intensity and meaning for many young (and not so young) people. When one talks about totalism or cultism, one can never step out of history.
Cults do not succeed solely by stripping their victims of agency, but through the complementary act of giving them a sense of agency. Mengele was convinced that he could make a better, healthier world by sterilizing children, and some of the experiments that took place in his madhouse probably resembled the awful fate of that unnamed patient in the Dutch study in practical terms, if not in spirit. It is not enough to say that Josef Mengele did not have his heart in the right place, therefore what he did was bad, while this was good. Both are the results of clinicians playing God with a captive patient, captured by an ideology.
Responsive to the horrors they found in the defeated Nazi empire, the Allies held trials for crimes against humanity and promulgated a Nuremberg Code which became the gold standard of medical ethics in the postwar world. Its very first, and longest, principle is “informed consent,” meaning that
the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.
These conditions are clearly not being met by the cult of the “trans child.” Children cannot consent to puberty blockers. Parents cannot consent to emotional blackmail with falsified suicide statistics. Ulterior motives abound in pediatric transition: the Munchausenesque mothers, such as Jeanette Jennings, mother of Jazz; the homophobic families like that of Susie Green; the disturbing participation of the Eunuch Archives, a group of adult men with a fetish for castrated children, in formulating standards of care for youth with supposed “eunuch identities” at WPATH; the absurdly high rate of Tavistock “patients” living in homes with convicted pedophiles. The nature of the child sex change experiment is harm. The duration is a lifetime, the purposes entirely cosmetic. No person can possibly enter into medical transition with “all inconveniences and hazards” to their future adult selves explained to their complete understanding as children.
Doctors and surgeons involved in the pediatric transition craze depend on the concept of informed consent as a legal fig leaf. But it is just a fig leaf. Always a powerful lobby, the American medical profession saw an opportunity for enormous profits, then constructed a framework of laws, regulations, and standards of care to maintain the plausibility of the fig leaf.
The science was “settled.” The experimentation to perfect that so-called science could begin.
Josef Mengele skipped out of Germany on the Ratlines, a Vatican resettlement program for Nazis. He ended up in South America, dying in a boating accident on the coast of Brazil in 1979. His mentor von Verschuer, who had admired Hitler for “being the first statesman to recognize hereditary biological and race hygiene,” burned all the wartime correspondence from his student and continued as a respected academic. Defeat in detail was necessary to destroy the Nazi regime and uncover its crimes. One wonders what sort of defeat will be necessary to shut down the abattoirs busy de-sexing the “trans kids,” and whether anyone will ever be held responsible for these atrocities.
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