‘Berlin University covers up discovery of Mengele’s victims’: Berliner Zeitung

The German daily “Berliner Zeitung” wrote that the Free University of Berlin (FU) knew that the 250 liters of bone fragments found on its grounds in 2014 came from victims of Dr Josef Mengele’s medical experiments in Auschwitz. Dr Mengele was one of the faculty members of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics (KWIA), which operated in the building before and during the Second World War.

On July 1, 2014, construction workers discovered a pit filled to the brim with human bones. Investigators from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Charité clinic quickly determined that the 250 liters of bone fragments were mostly of human origin, from both children and adults.

According to the investigators, the bones had been in the ground for several decades. Ten round plastic labels in different colors with handwritten numbers were found among the bones. Such plastic labels were often used by Mengele’s team on Auschwitz prisoners selected for medical experiments.

The daily wrote that it was previously known that Mengele had supplied the KWIA with countless human bodies stemming from medical experiments conducted at Auschwitz in the years of 1943 and 1944.

Mengele and his former superior, Professor Ottmar von Verschuer, who headed the KWIA, described the bones, eyes, blood samples and organs of the murdered as "scientific material”. Verschuer, Mengele and other German doctors were at the time engaged in research on "physical anomalies" among Auschwitz prisoners.

In his memoirs, Mengele's surviving assistant, the Hungarian-Jewish physician and Auschwitz prisoner Miklós Nyiszli described in great detail how the patients exposed to medical experiments were treated.

For example, in 1944, an approximately 50-year-old father and his 15-year-old son, who had deformed feet, were sent to Auschwitz from the Łódź ghetto. Dr. Mengele led them both to the autopsy room in Crematorium II and instructed Nyiszli: "Get the exact measurements of the father and son. Carefully fill out all clinical examination forms, paying special attention to possible causes for the development of the deformity." After the examination, father and son were immediately executed, and Mengele gave the order: "The skeletons must be prepared and sent to Berlin."

The daily writes that the university authorities are blocking further excavations and that the rector is doing everything he can to make sure the matter is quickly hushed up.

The Berliner Zeitung article states that the rector of the Free University of Berlin, Peter-André Alt, and his staff knew about where the bodies found in 2014 had come from but did not share their knowledge with the police and forensic experts.

"As I suspect, FU's quest for the title of 'excellent university' was more important than many other things at the time. Words like 'Mengele,' 'murdered Jews' or 'Auschwitz' were considered inappropriate in this context,'' wrote the article's author Götz Aly.

"The university should have conducted a further investigation," the article reads. Instead, "the bones lay out in the open for months until they were quietly destroyed at the crematorium in Ruhleben on December 12, 2014 and then buried 'anonymously' in the ground next to the crematorium's basement window.

The excavations in 2014 were led by two archaeology professors from the Freie Universitaet, Reinhard Bernbeck and Susan Pollock, together with their students and assistants. (...) "The current rector of the Freie Universitaet, mathematician Guenter M. Ziegler, however, is doing everything possible to ensure that this unpleasant affair is quickly hushed up. To this day he does not allow further excavations proposed by archaeologists from his university," the article’s author stated.

Pollock was also able to establish that "the pit was dug in great haste, filled with sacks full of bones, and then very quickly - presumably because of the approaching Red Army - buried."

Based on their observations, Pollock and Bernbeck concluded that the entire site of the former Kaiser Wilhelm Institute should be thoroughly investigated.