With nothing better to do, I got to thinking about the color of Dr. Josef Mengele’s eyes. Why was Dr. Mengele obsessed with changing brown eyes to blue? Was it because he had blue eyes and he wanted everyone to have the opportunity to have blue eyes? Or was he sad because he had brown eyes and he wanted to learn how to change the color of his own eyes?
To find out Dr. Mengele’s eye color, I started my search by re-reading the book entitled Mengele, The Complete Story by Gerald Posner and John Ware. I had to re-read the whole book because the index does not include the words “eyes” or “blue.”
I found the following quote in Mengele, the Complete Story:
The memory of this slightly built man, scarcely a hair out of place, his dark green tunic neatly pressed, his face well scrubbed, his Death’s Head SS cap tilted rakishly to one side, remains vivid for those who survived his scrutiny when they arrived at the Auschwitz railhead. Polished boots slightly apart, his thumb resting on his pistol belt, he surveyed his prey with those dead gimlet eyes, Death to the left, life to the right. Four hundred thousands souls — babies, small children, young girls, mothers, fathers, and grandparents — are said to have been casually waved to the lefthand side with a flick of the cane clasped in a gloved hand. Mengele was the chief provider for the gas chambers and their crematoria. He had a look that said ‘I am the power,’ said one survivor. At the time, Mengele was only 32 years old.
What are dead gimlet eyes? I had to look this up on Dictionary.com which gives this meaning for the term “gimlet eye”:
“an eye that appears to give a sharp or piercing look”
It seems to me that the words “dead” and “gimlet” combined into one description does not make any sense. Dr. Mengele had sharp, piercing eyes, yet his eyes appeared dead?
Ruth Elias, a survivor of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, who wrote a book entitled Triumph of Hope, described Dr. Mengele as follows:
Mengele was an attractive man. A perennial little smile showed the gap between his front teeth. Immaculately dressed in jodhpurs, he wore a cap bearing the SS insignia and carried the obligatory riding crop, constantly slapping it against his gleaming black boots. Whenever he spoke to me, he was very polite, giving the impression that he was interested in me. It was hard to believe that his little smile and courteous behavior were just a facade behind which he devised the most horrific murderous schemes.
From this description, it seems that Dr. Mengele was “an attractive man” because, as the old saying goes: “Handsome is as handsome does.” All of the survivors of Auschwitz agree that Dr. Mengele was very charming and polite. The photo below shows that Dr. Mengele had a pleasant demeanor.
As far as I am concerned, Rudolf Hoess, the man on the right was better looking than Dr. Mengele, who is shown in the middle of the photo. But to get back to the color of Dr. Mengele’s eyes, the color photo below shows that his eyes were brown.
Posner and Ware did not mention in their 325 page book that Dr. Mengele had brown eyes. Why not? Was Dr. Mengele “pure German”? He had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes, which indicates that he might have had a trace of Jewish blood in his bloodline. Was this why he was obsessed with eye color?
This quote is from page 15 in the book by Posner and Ware:
In July 1939 Mengele married Irene, then almost twenty-two years old, at Obersdorf. The wedding took place after a hitch that at one stage threatened to damage his career. In Mengele’s submission to the Rasse-und Siedlungshauptampt, the Central Office of Race and Resettlement, to satisfy the SS that there was no trace of Jewish blood in Irene’s family, doubts were raised about her grandfather, Harry Lyons Dumler, an American diplomat, could not be found. In the absence of proof that Dumler was the father of his wife’s son, the suspicion remained that the real father might be Jewish. Thus Irene might have inherited Jewish blood. A search by the German consul in the United States failed to resolve the crisis. But photographs of Irene and her ancestors and glowing testimonials from friends of her “very Nordic ways” finally won the day and the marriage was allowed. Yet since Mengele was unable to provide clinching proof that Irene had “pure Aryan blood,” much to his chagrin, he failed to qualify for the ultimate accolade of racial purity — a place in the hollowed Sippenbuch, or Kinship Book, for those who had been able to prove, chapter and verse, that their ancestors were pure Aryan at least since 1750. Thus was the arch disciple of racial “hygiene” himself deprived of a certificate that his wife and future children would be racially “clean.”
Posner and Ware do not say in their book whether or not Dr. Mengele could prove that his ancestors, back to 1750, had no Jewish blood, but it is implied in the book that Dr. Mengele himself was racially “clean.”
Why is all this important? Dr. Mengele was doing experiments at Auschwitz, trying to find out how physical defects are inherited. He wanted to find out how hereditary diseases, such as Tay-Sach’s Disease, are passed on. This was a terrible insult to the Jews and that is why Dr. Mengele is the number one “war criminal” as far as the Jews are concerned. The results of his experiments at Auschwitz are kept in a vault at Yad Vashem in Israel, never to see the light of day.
But what about changing brown eyes to blue? I don’t think that Dr. Mengele was trying to CHANGE eye color. In my opinion, he was trying to find out how eye color is inherited, but more importantly, how physical defects are inherited. Tay-Sach’s disease is caused by recessive genes, and blue eyes are also recessive. People with Tay-Sach’s disease don’t live long, making it hard to find subjects for experiments, so Dr. Mengele was studying eye color instead.
This quote is from the website about Tay-Sach’s disease:
How do people inherit Tay-Sachs disease?
This condition [Tay-Sach's] is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Dr. Mengele had a Ph.D. in Anthropology as well as a degree in medicine, which he received in July 1938 from the University of Frankfurt. He earned his Ph.D. in 1935 with a thesis on “Racial Morphological Research on the Lower Jaw Section of Four Racial Groups.” In January 1937, Dr. Mengele was appointed a research assistant at the Institute for Heredity, Biology and Racial Purity at the University of Frankfurt. He worked under Professor Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a geneticist who was doing research on twins. As the war-time director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Hereditary Teaching Genetics, located in Berlin, von Verschuer secured the funds for Dr. Mengele’s experiments at Auschwitz. The results of Dr. Mengele’s research on twins was sent to this Institute. The grant for Dr. Mengele’s genetic research was authorized by the German Research Council in August 1943.
You can read here about how Dr. Mengele pulled a family of dwarves out of the gas chamber at Auschwitz, and saved their lives.