Mengele, Josef


Mengele, Josef

biographical name

(born March 16, 1911, Günzburg, Ger.—died Feb. 7, 1979, Enseada da Bertioga, near São Paulo, Braz.) German Nazi doctor. Influenced by the racial ideology of Alfred Rosenberg, in 1934 Mengele joined the research staff of the newly founded Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene. An ardent Nazi, he served in World War II as medical officer with the SS. In 1943 he was appointed chief doctor at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he selected incoming Jews for labour or extermination, becoming known as the “Angel of Death,” and conducted medical experiments on inmates in pseudoscientific racial studies. After the war he escaped to South America, where he died in 1979 under the name of Wolfgang Gerhard, a Nazi he befriended in Brazil and whose identity he assumed.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Mengele, Josef, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Mengele, Josef? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.