Monday, March 5, 2012

365 Days of Twinipedia - Day 78

Day Seventy-eight of Twinipedia:

Fact #78
During World War II, many Jewish citizens of Europe were subjected to terrible treatment by the Nazi regime.  
One well known doctor, Josef Mengele was especially infamous for his cruel treatment of twin children brought to the concentration camp he worked at during the war.  Here is an article on some background information of Mengele and also on some of the twins he experimented on during his medical position at Auschwitz Concentration camp.  
This information fascinated, and horrified us and learning the stories of WWII always reminds us of the saying "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," (1905) by GEORGE SANTAYANA)
And let us hope our knowledge of this time of war helps us from repeating those atrocities again and again.

Renate and Rene Guttmann were subjected to injection and x-ray experiments by Josef Mengele.Courtesy of USHMM
The notorious doctor of Auschwitz, Josef Mengele, has become an enigma of the twentieth century. Mengele's handsome physical appearance, fastidious dress, and calm demeanor greatly contradicted his attraction to murder and gruesome experiments.

Mengele's seeming omnipresence at the ramp as well as his fascination with twins have incited images of a mad, evil monster. His ability to elude capture had increased his notoriety as well as given him a mystical and devious persona...  Go to Guide to read more about the history of twins during WWII

Here is more information on the twins pictured above in words of Irene Guttmann Hizme.  Both twins miraculously survived Mengele's experimentation. 

Irene Hizme, A Twin Remembers the Medical Experiments at Auschwitz  

Foreword - Irene and her twin brother Rene were born Renate and Rene Guttmann. The family moved to Prague shortly after the twins' birth, where they were living when the Germans occupied Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939. A few months later, uniformed Germans arrested their father. Decades later, Irene and Rene learned that he was killed at the Auschwitz camp in December 1941. Irene, Rene, and their mother were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, and later to the Auschwitz camp. At Auschwitz, the twins were separated and subjected to medical experiments. Irene and Rene remained separated for some time after their liberation from Auschwitz. The group Rescue Children brought Irene to the United States in 1947, where she was reunited with Rene in 1950.

Personal Account: “I, of course, have, um, unfortunately a lot of memories of, um, of the hospital and, um, the doctor's office. It, I seem to recall spending a great deal of time, um, there. And also being in the hospital and being very sick. And, um, I know one time, when I went to the doctor's office, that they took blood from me and, it was extremely painful because it was from the left side of my neck. That's a strange thing to remember. I also remember having blood taken out of my finger, but that wasn't quite so bad. And I also remember having to sit, um, very still for long periods to be measured and, or weighed, or in X rays. I rem...I remember X rays, X rays. Um...and injections. I remember injections. And then I'd be sick. Because then I, I'd be in this hospital. And I remember having a high fever, because I know they were taking my temperature, somebody was. Um, I really got to hate doctors. I, I got to be afraid. I used, I was terribly scared of doctors, I still am. They're a nightmare. Hospitals are out of the question and illness is unacceptable.”

Source: United States Holocaust Museum;

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