March 1, 2024
Book Reviews Polish/Jewish Relations

Holocaust Survivor Testimony Unreliable: Do Not Automatically Believe Accusations Against Poles

Mengele: Unmasking the “Angel of Death”, by David G. Marwell. 2020

Reviewed by Jan Peczkis

This book traces the life, the crimes, and the escape of Joseph Mengele. However, it sheds insights on other matters. Most Jewish accusations against Poles are uncorroborated claims that come from Holocaust survivors. The information in this book casts doubt on the reliability of such claims, and even more so on the Holocaust establishment repeating such accusations as facts.


One salient feature of this work is the large number of Jewish survivors who “remember” encountering Mengele even though it is unlikely or impossible that they had actually done so! Several cited researchers have noted this.

David Marwell writes, “The vast majority of people who encountered Mengele on the ramp shortly after arriving at Auschwitz did not survive…Historian Zdenek Zofka notes that many survivors recall Mengele speaking to them in Hungarian, a language he did not speak…Hermann Langbein, a former Auschwitz inmate and author of the authoritative People in Auschwitz, wrote of this phenomenon, which he deemed the ‘Mengele Effect’, a particular form of ‘memory displacement’…’More than once I heard survivors say that Mengele did this or that to them, even though Mengele had not yet arrived in Auschwitz at the time.’” (p. 77).

Marwell continues, “Doris Bergren, describing the work of Israeli historian Na’ama Shik, wrote about the ‘so-called Mengele Effect,’ noting that survivors’ accounts decades after the fact could be shaped by what ‘they have read and heard in the meantime’. Geoffrey Hartmann, who wrote extensively on survivor testimony, observed that ‘every Auschwitz survivor seems to have gone through a selection by Mengele, as if he manned his post 24 hours a day.’” (p. 78). This further confirms the fact that Holocaust survivors often graft-in, into their memory, things that they have heard from others, but had not experienced themselves. How many anti-Polish “memories”, of Holocaust survivors, are actually calumnies that they had heard from other Jews, and subsequently mistook for their own experiences? For more on all this, see:


Author Marwell takes this further. He comments, “Similarly, historian Christopher Browning [Remembering Survival, p. 236], in describing witness testimony about a selection by Mengele that was proved never to have occurred, called such an encounter with the Angel of Death on the ramp in Auschwitz ‘one of the most broadly recognized archetypical episodes of the Holocaust, widely disseminated in both books and films.’” (p. 78).

This can be compared with the Holocaust archetype of the fugitive Jew who overhears a Pole or Poles plotting the denunciation or death of such Jews. See:


Heinz Alexander, a full-blooded Jew (though raised Christian by parents who practiced Christianity) was, in 1937, accused of rassenschande (racial shame) for having relations with an Aryan woman. (p. 35). His defense was that he was a mischlinge, and not a full-blooded Jew, because his biological father had been a goy and not a Jew. Mengele was assigned to the case, and he compared photos of Alexander with that of his legal Jewish father and that of the alleged non-Jewish biological father. Mengele concluded that Alexander was a full-blooded Jew, but also that there was only a “probability” that Alexander’s biological father was his Jewish legal father.

The Nazi court, based partly on Mengele’s equivocation, ruled that Alexander was a mischlinge, not a Jew, and therefore not guilty of rassenschande. (p. 36). This case shows that even Nazi courts were at least sometimes willing to give an accused Jew the benefit of the doubt, thereby sparing them the full force of consequences that faced the Jews. For more on this, see:


Marwell comments, “The most extensive series of experiments at Auschwitz involved perfecting a method for reliable and efficient mass sterilization, which the Nazis planned to use on Slavs, so-called Mischlinge, and others.” (p. 69).


Actions speak louder than words. Marwell comments, “There are indeed legitimate grounds to question the willingness of the Germans to mount a sustained and effective search for Mengele and to advocate for his arrest and extradition. Germany’s record in pursuing Nazi war criminals, although often underestimated, fell far short of what was possible and of what the victims of Nazi crimes were entitled to expect.” (p. 207).

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Censored Questioning of the Anne Frank Holocaust Icon. Calls Unwelcome Attention to Jews Betraying Other Jews


The Neo-Marxist Mentality In Its Attacks on Poland: An Example


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The Guerrilla Zamosc Uprising. And High Mortality of Poles in “Ordinary” German Concentration Camps.


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