The remains of the notorious Joseph Mengele, also known as the ‘Angel of Death’ are now being used as teaching material for medical students studying forensics at the University of Sao Paulo. After the end of the Second World War, Mengele fled Europe and sought refuge in South America, where he died in 1979. Researchers believe that this is History’s idea of poetic justice for the Nazi doctor’s countless abhorring experiments.
The University of Sao Paulo, Brazil has new teaching aids for medical students. Instead of practicing forensic techniques on regular bones, the students will now be able to study on the earthly remains of Joseph Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor from Auschwitz, who conducted dozens of medical experiments on children and pregnant women.
The idea of using the Nazi doctor’s remains as teaching aids for medical students came from Daniel Romero Munoz, a pathologist, and a lecturer at the University of Sao Paulo, who helped exhume the skeletal remains of Joseph Mengele in 1985.
Mengele’s identification was a lengthy process. Although the remains were partially identified in 1985 when Munoz discovered them, the confirmation came seven years later, in 1992. The effort to track down and apprehend the Nazi doctor was one of the largest manhunts ever to be staged, involving several international agencies.
Historically speaking, after the Second World War ended with Germany’s and Japan’s capitulation, the Allies began a systematic and worldwide search for all those involved in Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ masterplan. Although many were convicted of crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg trial, others vanished without a trace.
Some of the war criminals who managed to flee Germany after the Second World War were Adolf Eichmann (a key figure in Nazi Germany’s effort to exterminate inferior races), Klaus Barbie (also known as the Butcher of Lyon), Walter Rauff (main contributor in the gas chamber project), and, of course Joseph Mengele, the sadistic Auschwitz doctor, who performed mind-boggling experiments on children, pregnant women, and war prisoners.
After the war, Joseph Mengele fled to South America, where he vanished without a trace. The man died in exile in 1979, but his remains were not repatriated due to family’s refusal. However, the researchers managed to track down and identify the location of the doctor’s remains in 1985.
And not, the remains to the doctor who performed unspeakable experiments in Hitler’s concentration camps are now being used to teach medical students how to apply forensic techniques on human remains.
Romero Munoz, the pathologist who came up with the idea of using Mengele as a teaching aid said that this is a good opportunity to teach medical students how to confirm a person’s identity, by comparing biological characteristics with historical documents.
For example, a fracture discovered on Mengele’s pelvis will lead to confirmation, since it is consistent with Mengele’s injury sustained during a motorcycle ride in Auschwitz. Moreover, a small hole found in the cheekbone suggest that the patient might have struggled with chronic inflammatory sinusitis, which is consistent with Mengele’s profile.
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