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The Search for Mengele

3.9 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

THE STORY OF THE WORLD'S MOST NOTORIOUS NAZI FUGITIVE

The most notorious of 24 SS doctors at Auschwitz concentration camp, Josef Mengele, "The Angel of Death," sent hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths and performed appalling experiments on living children. For forty years after the Second World War, he was one of the world's most wanted war criminals - yet he was never brought to Justice. The Search for Mengele Examines his life through the eyes of those who knew him and traces his escape through Germany to Italy, then to Argentina, Paraguay and ultimately, Brazil, where he drowned in 1984.

Those who protected him talk of the infamous Nazi doctor living out his last years in poverty, cut off from his wealthy family back home - and subject to perhaps the final irony, hiding out amongst a multi-racial society. But is it too easy to simply dismiss Mengele as a monster? Was he alone responsible, or was he the product of a warped system of values? If so, could the whole gruesome episode of history be repeated in the future? And why was he never caught? "The Search for Mengele" seeks the answers to these questions.

Filmed in ten countries including Germany, Israel, Poland and Brazil and featuring numerous interviews The picture which emerges of Mengele from the interviewees in the film is often quite different from the standard view. They describe his years as a "likeable" and "outstanding" student in Germany, as a highly qualified young doctor, a "strikingly handsome" SS officer on the Eastern front and, later in life, as an embittered and paranoiac fugitive. Interviewees include Rolf Mengele, who visited his father in Paraguay in 1977 and pressed him to answer for his past actions. In Rolf's words, "'If they really wanted to get him, they could have, but there were long periods in his life when they did not want to."

Review

Compelling, strong documentary... the viewer hangs on to every word - spoken and unspoken. --Herbert Mitgang, New York Times

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Josef Mengele, Rolf Mengele, David Frost
  • Directors: Brian Moser
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001B2E5IY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,980 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew G. Sherwin HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2012
Format: DVD
Josef Mengele (born Josef Rudolf Mengele, March 16, 1911 - February 7, 1979) "was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. He earned doctorates in anthropology from Munich University and in medicine from Frankfurt University. He initially gained notoriety for being one of the SS physicians who supervised the selection of arriving transports of prisoners, determining who was to be killed and who was to become a forced laborer, but is far more infamous for performing human experiments on camp inmates, including children, for which Mengele was called the "Angel of Death". After the Second World War, Mengele maintained his complete innocence, writing `I, personally, have not killed, injured or caused bodily harm to anyone.'"

Of course, we do learn about Mengele's youth, family life, medical education and his ultimate involvement at Auschwitz including his "experiments" especially on twins and children all in the name of developing an Aryan/German "master race." Nevertheless, the documentary tells Josef Mengele's story with an emphasis on his hiding in South America from Israeli and other authorities as they searched for him to prosecute him and unquestionably sentence him to death for his crimes against humanity. The filmmakers used still photos; interview footage with his son Rolf and people who sheltered Mengele when he was in South American countries; silent archival footage and more to inform the viewer about Mengele and exactly how he escaped out of Europe to South America where he hid in Buenos Aires, Paraguay and São Paulo among other locations. The escape story and route is somewhat complicated but it is all very clearly explained.
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Without being ghastly, this documentary educates. Since watching, I've spent a lot of time in contemplation, however. Obviously I was not left untouched. What is it about the human condition that allows you to separate and detach? Mengele was an expert, obviously. Married with a son, I cannot fathom what enabled him to perform atrocities and yet, not relate to the pain and terror he reigned on others. It wasn't as if he was criminally insane, he was adept socially. Startling.
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There's not a whole lot more to be said about the life and times of Dr. Josef Mengele, research scientist turned war hero turned concentration camp doctor turned Most Wanted Man Alive. His name is synonymous with Auschwitz and Nazi atrocities, and even Geraldo Rivera had a segment on him that renewed the cry for blood nearly four decades later. Unfortunately for the international convention of Nazi hunters, Mengele had a heart attack and drowned in South America a couple of years before Geraldo ascended the soapbox. David Frost himself became part of the posse once upon a time, and "The Search for Mengele" is his informative and entertaining report.

There's nothing new under the sun about the Angel of Death, especially since his family and friends gave up everything once his death was finally discovered years after the fact. He was hardly the protected VIP featured in "Boys of Brazil", nor was he the destitute old man depicted by his intimates, though the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Frost is one of our great contemporary journalists, giving this documentary a suspenseful whodunit atmosphere taking it a step beyond the Nazi tattlers glutting the market.

If you've never read the strange tale of Mengele's life and times, or if you're looking for a novel addition for your collection, "The Search for Mengele" is a worthwhile purchase.
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This is an interesting and informative documentary, narrated by renowned journalist David Frost, about Dr. Joseph Mengele. Born into a wealthy Bavarian family and well educated with doctorates in Anthropology and in Medicine, the handsome Dr. Mengele would go on to gain notoriety as the doctor in the concentration camps known as the Angel of Death.

The documentary features interviews with a number of people who personally knew him. Their perspectives are certainly interesting and help to built a portrait of this war criminal. The interview with Mengele's son, Rolf, who looks uncannily like his father, is unexpectedly moving.

It seems that even though Mengele evaded capture by the authorities for his war crimes, there was no happily ever after for him. Any attempt at a normal life came to nothing, as life with a fugitive would prove too daunting. He lived a life on the run, always fearful of capture.

This documentary features a number of disturbing images from the concentration camps. So, it is not for the squeamish. It also attempts to build an objective portrait of one of the most notorious war criminals of the Nazi regime.
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This was a good overview of Mengele's life, from early childhood, family to his death. I knew he died at the beach but didn't know it was a stroke. The contrast of his idea of the Hippocratic oath after the war and what he did during the war is so amazing. How do you live with yourself after sewing twins together, unnecessary surgery w/o anesthesia, etc. The cruelty is beyond what most normal people can fathom. This gives you the mechanics of how he came to be the monster we know; but I don't think we'll ever know what happens to people that make them so evil. I truly believe that he resides in hell with the rest of his BFFs.
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