Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link Weider History Group RSS feed Weider Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Did the Nazis' 'Angel of Death' Leave a Lasting Legacy in Brazil?

By Justin Ewers 
Originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online: March 24, 2009 
Print Friendly
2 comments FONT +  FONT -

MAY 2009 — The horrifying medical experiments conducted on concentration camp victims by Josef Mengele, the chief doctor of Auschwitz from 1943 to 1945, may not have been his only legacy. A new book asserts the Nazi war criminal known as the "Angel of Death" may also be responsible for the unnaturally high number of Aryan-looking twins in a small Brazilian town he frequently visited after fleeing to South America after the war.

In the early 1960s, at the same time Mengele began to make regular visits to the Brazilian town of Cândido Godói, the number of twins there began to skyrocket, says Argentine historian Jorge Camarasa in Mengele: The Angel of Death in South America. Ever since, as many as one in five pregnancies in the predominantly German hamlet have resulted in twins—many of them with blond hair and blue eyes.

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to World War II magazine

"I think Cândido Godói 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," Camarasa told the London Daily Telegraph. "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 said] he was capable of getting cows to produce male twins."

Some experts believe, though, that there is a scientific explanation for the phenomenon—one unrelated to Mengele. Ursula Matte, a researcher in the medical genetics unit at Porto Alegre Hospital in Brazil, told New Scientist magazine that she and her colleagues had been invited in 1994 to Linha São Pedro, a township owned by Cândido Godói, to investigate the twin birthrates. Matte said she found that 10 percent of the town's births from 1990 to 1994 were twins, compared to only 1.8 percent in the surrounding area—an admittedly high rate.

But after interviewing more than a dozen pairs of the twins and conducting blood tests, Matte says she believes the researchers have found an explanation. Not only does the town have a high recurrence of multiple births, she says, it also has a high level of inbreeding.

"Even though we could not find a definitive explanation for this higher incidence, the existence of other 'twin towns' around the world—most of them in remote isolated areas with high levels of inbreeding just as Linha São Pedro—shows that external influence is not needed for this to happen," Matte says. Because the town's families tend to have twins only every other generation, she believes this suggests a recessive genetic trait.

The high number of Aryan twins, meanwhile, probably has more to do with the town's German ancestry than with any genetic manipulation on Mengele's part. "I don't think Mengele would have the knowledge, not to mention the means, to engender the rise in twin births in this community," Matte says. "It's noteworthy that twin births occurred there in almost every time period, even in the 1990s, so what kind of long-lasting manipulation could he have perpetrated?"

Mengele died in 1979, 16 years after the "twin town" boom began.


2 Responses to “Did the Nazis' 'Angel of Death' Leave a Lasting Legacy in Brazil?”


  1. 1
    massimo says:

    sono un appasionato queste cose

    TRANSLATION FROM BING:

    I am a passionate about these things

  2. 2
    lauren says:

    i think this is very interesting



Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Related Articles


History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer
HISTORYNET READERS' POLL

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
STAY CONNECTED WITH US
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet?

The HistoryNet.com is brought to you by the Weider History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
Weider History Group

Weider History Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer! | StreamHistory.com
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2013 Weider History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy