Holocaust survivors recall how Nazi officers would trick children

Holocaust survivor sisters tell how their cousin was led to his death on his seventh birthday after Josef Mengele tricked him into ‘volunteering’ for a monstrous experiment by saying he would be taken to visit his mother

  • Sisters Andrea and Tatiana Bucci came face to face with Dr Death Josef Mengele
  • Were sent to Auschwitz with their family in 1944 and were mistaken for triplets 
  • Their cousin Sergio was selected for experiments in camp on seven

Holocaust survivors have recalled how Nazi officers would select which children to experiment on by asking which one of them wanted to visit their mothers and choosing whoever stepped forward. 

Italian-born Andrea and Tatiana Bucci were deported with their family in 1944, they were incarcerated Risiera di San Sabba, an Italian transit camp for Jews before being sent Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Appearing in Netflix documentary ‘Anne Frank – Parallel Stories’, the sisters told how after being mistakenly labelled as triplets with their cousin Sergio, they were approached by a man who they thought was Josef Mengele, also known as ‘Dr Death’. 

Mengele was responsible for the camp’s children, often carrying out experiments on twins, and Andrea told how he would trick children into volunteering to take part in trials on ‘tuberculosis and lymph glands’. 

Italian-born Andrea Bucci was incarcerated Risiera di San Sabba, an Italian transit camp for Jews before being sent Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland

She and sister Tatiana were mistakenly labelled as triplets with their cousin Sergio (all pictured as children) 

HORRIFIC EXPERIMENTS OF THE NAZI ‘ANGEL OF DEATH’

Dr. Josef Mengele, an SS physician from 1943 to 1945, was known as the ‘Angel of Death’ for overseeing gruesome experiments at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland

Immaculately dressed, it was Josef Mengele who greeted doomed arrivals at the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, in occupied Poland.

With a flick of his gloved hands, the supreme arbiter of life and death would consign terrified prisoners either to work or to death in the gas chambers.

But many were condemned to an altogether more diabolical fate; they became guinea pigs upon his operating table as he pursued his berserk quest to clone blue-eyed Aryan supermen. Most of his victims died in terrible pain without anaesthetic.

Captivated by oddities, victims of Mengele’s medical experiments were chosen based on different eye colors, growth anomalies such as a clubfoot or a hunchback, giantism or dwarfism, twins and gypsies. 

A choice ‘specimen’ he sent to his lab for study was the head of a 12-year-old boy he was going to dissect.

Twins held a particular fascination for him and it’s estimated that he examined around 3,000 – but only 100 pairs survived. 

Mengele once impregnated one twin with the sperm from a different twin to see if she would produce twins.

When there was only one baby, one survivor claimed he tore the baby out of the mother’s uterus and threw the child into an oven and walked away.

Mengele had a doctorate in medicine from Frankfurt University, but used his knowledge in a sickening manner at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he performed experiments as an SS physician from 1943 to 1945.

The so-called Angel of Death was on the Allied commanders’ most-wanted list from 1944, but he escaped to South America and was never found

Although prisoners transferred to his wing to be studied escaped the gas chambers and were well fed, they often ultimately met an even more painful death.

Mengele regularly performed surgery without anaesthetic and would obtain bodies to work on simply by injecting chloroform into inmates’ hearts while they slept, which would kill them in seconds.

He was most interested in heredity and once tried to change the colour of children’s eyes by injecting chemicals directly into them.

Pregnant women were also singled out. He was known to have performed vivisections on them before consigning them to the death chambers.

Prisoners suffering from schizophrenia and depression were subjected to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

The goal was to treat incapacitated prisoners so that they could return to the work force.

Most of the experiments were unsuccessful and led to the death of the prisoners.

The so-called Angel of Death was on the Allied commanders’ most-wanted list from 1944, but he escaped to South America and was never found, despite the best efforts of private investigators and the Israeli secret service, Mossad.

He died in 1979 after suffering a stroke while swimming and thirteen years later, DNA tests proved his identity beyond doubt. 

She told: ‘I remember that this one person came, he might have been Menegle and he asked us if we wanted to go see mother. 

‘A hack doctor from Neuengamme, who had carried out some experiments on tuberculosis and lymph glands on some adults, thought to experiment on children too and asked Mengele for these children.’ 

The pair had been warned by a camp guardian who had grown fond of them not to step forward if he asked, however their cousin Sergio did not listen to their warning.  

Andrea went on: ‘We warned Sergio not to step forward, but he did not listen to us and ten males and ten females stepped forward.’ 

Tatiana Bucci went on to express the ‘indescribable burden on her heart’ she feels knowing their cousin went to his death on his seventh birthday,

Another survivor, Arianna Szorenyi who was deported from Italy in 1944 before being deported to Auschwitz and then Bergen Belson. Pictured, Arianna’s identification number tattoo 

Tatiana Bucci went on to express the ‘indescribable burden on her heart’ she feels knowing their cousin went to his death on his seventh birthday, while he believed he would be visiting his mother. 

She said: ‘To think that he was left believing that he was going to met his mum and instead, going to meet his death on his seventh birthday, still feels like such a burden on my heart it’s indescribable.’

Reflecting on her time in the camp Andrea later said: ‘I remember that we used to play with snowballs. But we were always surrounded by death. 

The documentary sees the story of Anne Frank, (pictured) retold alongside those of five Holocaust survivors. On August 4, 1944, Anne Frank and her family were betrayed, arrested by the Gestapo, taken from the Amsterdam annexe where they had hidden for two years

‘Because in the camps and among the barracks, there are heaps of corpses. To see these corpses that they tried to push inside this barrack had become normal to us.’ 

The documentary sees the story of Anne Frank, retold alongside those of five Holocaust survivors, in a poignant documentary narrated by Oscar winner Helen Mirren.  

On August 4, 1944, Anne Frank and her family were betrayed, arrested by the Gestapo, taken from the Amsterdam annexe where they had hidden for two years and despatched to concentration camps.

The poignant diary Anne had been keeping for the two years, she and her family endured in the annexe, and had nicknamed Kitty, stopped that day.

Anne was just 15-years-old at the time of her death, and the end of the war her father Otto, the sole survivor of the concentration camps, returned home to Amsterdam and published her famous diary. 

Irma Grese (pictured) was nicknamed the ‘Hyena of Auschwitz’ before becoming head of Bergen-Belsen’s women section

At 22 she was the youngest woman to be sentenced to death for war crimes after the camps were liberated

Who was Irma Grese, the Hyena of Auschwitz?

Irma Grese worked as an assistant nurse for the SS after leaving school at the age of 15 before volunteering at Ravensbrück concentration camp, exclusively for women.

There she found herself as a supervisor by the age of 19 and in 1943 Irma was sent to Auschwitz, to act as a guard.

Known as the Hyena of Auschwitz, Irma Grese, was one of the most feared guards at the infamous concentration camp.

A sadistic nymphomaniac who slept with SS guards, she participated in selecting prisoners for the gas chamber as well as exacting horrific punishment beatings.

She was rounded up when concentration camp Bergen-Belsen was liberated by the British army in 1945.

She was hanged for war crimes in 1945 and many survivors testified against her, claiming she’d hand-selected prisoners for the gas chambers, trained half-starved dogs to savage prisoners, gave brutal beatings and arbitrarily shot prisoners. 

Another survivor, Arianna Szorenyi who was deported from Italy in 1944 before being deported to Auschwitz and then Bergen Belson, told of her meeting with one of the most notorious female SS guards in history. 

Irma Grese was nicknamed the ‘Hyena of Auschwitz’ before becoming head of Bergen-Belsen’s women section, and at 22 she was the youngest woman to be sentenced to death for war crimes after the camps were liberated.

The survivor told that while in the camp, she had noticed the guard, who she says other officers were ‘in love with’ behind her, and didn’t realise until she had turned around that she had her gun pointed at the back of her head. 

Arianna Szorenyi (pictured) told of her meeting with one of the most notorious female SS guards in history

The poignant documentary which launched on Netflix in the UK yesterday was narrated byOscar winner Helen Mirren 

She recalled: ‘I sort of ran for a short distance and then, almost in the front of my block I slowed down. 

‘Because I saw coming towards me maybe three of four well dressed Nazi’s Irma Grees was behind me, they were all In love with her. 

‘Like children I suddenly turned around because I was curious. and Irma Grese had her gun pointed at me, that was the only time I realised I could die.’ 

WHAT WAS THE AUSCHWITZ CONCENTRATION CAMP?

Auschwitz was a concentration and extermination camp used by the Nazis during World War Two.

The camp, which was located in Nazi-occupied Poland, was made up of three main sites. 

Auschwitz I, the original concentration camp, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a combined concentration and extermination camp and Auschwitz III–Monowitz, a labour camp, with a further 45 satellite sites.

Auschwitz was an extermination camp used by the Nazis in Poland to murder more than 1.1 million Jews

Birkenau became a major part of the Nazis’ ‘Final Solution’, where they sought to rid Europe of Jews.  

An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to the camp, of whom at least 1.1 million died – around 90 percent of which were Jews. 

Since 1947, it has operated as Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which in 1979 was named a World Heritage Site by Unesco. 

Since 1947, it has operated as Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which in 1979 was named a World Heritage Site by Unesco

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