Monday, 26 January 2009

The Mystery of the ‘Land of the Twins’

by Kathryn Hadley

In a recent book entitled Mengele: the Angel of Death in South America, the Argentine historian Jorge Camarasa, a specialist in the Nazi post-war flight to South America, claimed that the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele may be responsible for the extraordinarily high proportion of twins in the Brazilian town of Candido Godoi (State of Rio do Sul, South Brazil). The average twin birthrate is one in 80 pregnancies; in Candido Godoi, however, one in five pregnancies typically results in twins, most of them with blond hair and blue eyes.

Camarasa’s book retraces the last years of Mengele’s life in South America, where he allegedly pursued his efforts to produce an Aryan master race. During the Second World War, Mengele was an SS physician in Auschwitz-Birkenau where he carried out genetic experiments for the production of twins in an attempt to create a master race for Hitler. He is believed to be responsible for 400,000 deaths in medical experiments in Auschwitz. In 1949, he fled to South America where he moved from Argentina, to Paraguay and finally to Brazil. He lived in Brazil for 18 years until his death by drowning in a swimming accident on February 7th, 1979. He was buried in Embu das Artes in the State of Sao Paolo under the name Wolfgang Gerhard.

Mengele allegedly visited the small town of Candido Godoi various times in the 1960s posing as a vet. Camarasa explained:

'I think Candido Godoi may have been Mengele's laboratory, where he finally managed to fulfill his dreams of creating a master race of blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryans […] There is testimony that he attended women, followed their pregnancies, treated them with new types of drugs and preparations, that he talked of artificial insemination in human beings, and that he continued working with animals, proclaiming that he was capable of getting cows to produce male twins […] Nobody knows for sure exactly what date Mengele arrived in Candido Godoi, but the first twins were born in 1963, the year in which we first hear reports of his presence’.

A former mayor of the town and local doctor, Anencia Flores da Silva, also carried out numerous interviews in an attempt to explain the exceptionally high proportion of twins and discovered that the name of Rudolph Weiss, an itinerant medic, was consistently cited. In the words of Dr da Silva:

‘[Mengele] attended women who had varicose veins and gave them a potion which he carried in a bottle, or tablets which he brought with him. Sometimes he carried out dental work, and everyone remembers he used to take blood’.

The town’s official crest shows two identical profiles and a sign welcoming visitors to a ‘Farming Community And Land Of The Twins’. The film The Boys from Brazil (1978) tells the story of Mengele’s life in South America, where he allegedly planned to found a fourth Reich with other Nazi sympathisers and sought to recreate the childhood of Hitler for the 95 boys he cloned from the Nazi leader. In the light of Camarasa’s recent statements, this fictional film rings worryingly closer to reality.

For more information on Mengele’s treatment of the Ovitz family in Auschwitz, read our article
Mengele and the Family of Dwarfs

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