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Survivors Describe Nazi Doctor’s Experiments

February 4, 1985

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Survivors of the experiments of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz death camp told their tales of horror and cruelty on Monday at the opening of a three-day mock trial of the ″angel of death″

Mengele, who is accused of sending 400,000 people to their deaths, was last reported living in Paraguay. A warrant for his arrest and extradition has been outstanding in West Germany since 1959.

Survivors who underwent Mengele’s pseudo-medical experiments said they believed the Nazi doctor fled Auschwitz as early as August 1944, five months before the camp was liberated by the Soviet army.

Zerah Taub, 49, said Mengele greeted each arriving trainload of prisoners, sitting coolly on the platform with his palm on his chest. A flick of the thumb, to the right or the left, determined who lived and who was gassed, Taub said.

Another witness said Mengele whistled and joked as he made his selections.

The mock trial is part of a convention of Mengele’s victims, marking the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest of 21 Nazi concentration camps. More than 6 million men, women and children, most of them Jews and Poles, were killed in the camps.

Vera Kreigel’s first memory of Auschwitz was as a 5-year-old marching past a huge pit spitting flames. ″They were throwing in small children who they grabbed from their mothers and threw into the fire. They threw them in alive,″ she said, speaking in Hebrew.

″The SS (Nazi guards) with their rifle butts smashed the skulls of the smaller children as if they were chickens. I saw it,″ said Mrs. Kreigel, 46, now a grandmother living in Israel.

Mengele did experiments on twins and dwarfs.

Mrs. Kreigel said she, her twin sister Olga, her mother and another set of twins were kept for 10 days in a one-yard square cage where they were given daily injections.

They were later released, but the experiments continued. She said she was once taken to Mengele’s pathology laboratory where she saw rows of eyes mounted ″on a wall like a butterfly collection.″

Mengele’s experiments focused on twins and dwarfs in a search for the genetic secrets that he believed might enable him to produce racially pure Aryans, a hypothetical Germanic ethnic type, in larger numbers.

Vera Alexander, who is now 61, said she was a Jewish prisoner put in charge of a block of gypsy twins between the ages of three and five. After being experimented upon, she said, the children returned ill and infected with sores. One set of twins was stitched together like Siamese twins, she said.

The panel hearing the Auschwitz recollections included Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal of Vienna, and Telford Taylor, chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

The panel’s chairman was Gideon Hausner, who prosecuted Adolf Eichmann, architect of the Nazis’ ″Final Solution Plan.″ Eichmann was kidnapped in Argentina by Israeli agents, brought to Jerusalem for trial in 1961 and executed after his conviction.

The organizers said the testimony would be forwarded to any government willing to prosecute Mengele.

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