Humanities › History & Culture A Brief Biography of Josef Mengele The Notorious Auschwitz Doctor Share Flipboard Email Print From left to right they are: Richard Baer (Commandant of Auschwitz), Dr. Josef Mengele and Rudolf Hoess (the former Auschwitz Commandant). (July 1944). (Photo courtesy the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) History & Culture The 20th Century People & Events Fads & Fashions Early 20th Century The 20s The 30s The 40s The 50s The 60s The 80s The 90s American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History Women's History View More By Jennifer Rosenberg History Expert B.A., History, University of California at Davis Jennifer Rosenberg is a historian and writer who specializes in 20th-century history. our editorial process Jennifer Rosenberg Updated February 24, 2019 Josef Mengele (March 16, 1911 - February 7, 1979) was a Nazi SS doctor who experimented on twins, dwarves, and others at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp during the Holocaust. Although Mengele looked kind and handsome, his heinous, pseudoscientific medical experiments, often performed on young children, has placed Mengele as one of the most villainous and notorious Nazis. At the end of World War II, Mengele escaped capture and is believed to have died in Brazil 34 years later. Early Life Born March 16, 1911, in Günzburg, GermanyParents were Karl (1881-1959) and Walburga (d. 1946), MengeleTwo younger brothers: Karl (1912-1949) and Alois (1914-1974)Nickname was "Beppo"1926 diagnosed with osteomyelitis Education and Beginning of WWII 1930 graduated from the GymnasiumMarch 1931 joined the Steel Helmuts (Stahlhelm)January 1934 SA absorbed StahlhelmOctober 1934 left SA because of kidney trouble1935 awarded Ph.D. from the University of MunichJanuary 1, 1937, appointed a research assistant at the Third Reich Institute for Heredity, Biology, and Racial Purity at the University of Frankfurt; worked with Professor Otmar Freiherr von VershuerMay 1937 joined the NSDAP (member #5574974)May 1938 admitted to the SSJuly 1938 awarded medical degree by University of FrankfurtOctober 1938 began basic training with the Wehrmacht (lasted three months)July 1939 married Irene SchoenbeinJune 1940 joined the medical corps (Sanitätsinspektion) of the Waffen SSAugust 1940 appointed an UntersturmführerAttached to Genealogical Section of the Race and Resettlement Office in occupied PolandJune 1941, sent to Ukraine as part of the Waffen SS; received the Iron Cross, Second ClassJanuary 1942 joined the Waffen SS's Viking Division medical corps; earned the Iron Cross, First Class by pulling two soldiers out of a burning tank while under enemy fire; also awarded the Black Badge for the Wounded and the Medal for the Care of the German People; woundedEnd of 1942 reposted to the Race and Resettlement Office, this time in its headquarters in Berlinappointed to Haupsturmführer (captain) Auschwitz May 30, 1943, arrived at AuschwitzConducted medical experiments on twins, dwarfs, giants, and many othersSeemingly constant presence and participation in the selections at the rampResponsible for selections in the women's campcalled "Angele of Death"March 11, 1944, his son, Rolf, was bornSometime middle of January 1945, he fled Auschwitz On the Run Arrived at Gross-Rosen camp; then left before Russians liberated it on February 11, 1945Spotted at MauthausenCaptured as a prisoner of war and held in a POW camp near MunichReceived papers from fellow prisoner, Dr. Fritz Ulmann; for vanity reasons had not gotten blood type tattooed beneath arm, American Army did not realize he was a member of the SS and released himAliases include: Fritz Ullmann, Fritz Hollmann, Helmut Gregor, G. Helmuth, Jose Mengele, Ludwig Gregor, Wolfgang GerhardRemained on George Fischer's farm for three years1949 escaped to Argentina1954 his father came to visit him1954 divorced from Irene1956 had his name officially changed to Josef Mengele1958 married his brother, Karl's, widow - Martha MengeleJune 7, 1959, West Germany issued its first arrest warrant for Mengele1959 moved to Paraguay1964 the Universities of Frankfurt and Munich withdrew his academic degreesAssumed that his remains were buried in Embu, Brazil in a grave marked "Wolfgang Gerhard"Believed to have died on February 7, 1979, on the beach at Bertioga in Embu, Brazil while suffering a stroke while swimming in the ocean.February 1985 a public trial, in absentia, was held at Yad VashemIn June 1985, the body in the grave was exhumed for forensic identification.