Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz

Lucette Matalon Lagnado, Author, Sheila Dekel, Author, Shelia Dekel, With William Morrow & Company $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-688-09695-3
Mengele was in charge of the ``selection process'' at the death camp Auschwitz, but he was also a genetic scientist with a special interest in twins. During the war he subjected some 3000 twins, mostly young, to experiments of unspeakable horror. Only 160 of them were alive when the Russians liberated Auschwitz in 1945. The authors have interviewed several of the surviving twins and here present their stories, including details of their postwar lives. One especially disturbing aspect of the book is the fact that some of the victims remember Mengele as a charming father-substitute in whom they yearned to place their trust. There are glimpses of Mengele joking with the children, taking them on outings, hugging them. One survivor insists he was gentle; another flatly states that he ``loved little children.'' Woven skillfully into the narrative is a formal and engrossing biography of Mengele himself, his family background, his wartime career, his escape to South America, his years in hiding. None of the surviving twins believes that the remains found in Brazil in 1985 are those of the death-camp doctor; according to the authors, they are certain that Mengele has succeeded in ``tricking the world yet another time.'' An important addition to the literature of the Holocaust. Lagnado is a freelance writer, Dekel is the widow of an Auschwitz twin. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-016931-7
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