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Classrooms Without Borders is honored to bring David G. Marwell, author of the book “Mengele: Unmasking the ‘Angel of Death,'” to our community of educators and learners.
“Mengele” is a gripping biography of the infamous Nazi doctor, from a former Justice Department official tasked with uncovering his fate.
Perhaps the most notorious war criminal of all time, Josef Mengele was the embodiment of bloodless efficiency and passionate devotion to a grotesque worldview. Aided by the role he has assumed in works of popular culture, Mengele has come to symbolize the Holocaust itself as well as the failure of justice that allowed countless Nazi murderers and their accomplices to escape justice. Whether as the demonic doctor who directed mass killings or the elusive fugitive who escaped capture, Mengele has loomed so large that even with conclusive proof, many refused to believe that he had died.
As chief of investigative research at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations in the 1980s, David G. Marwell worked on the Mengele case, interviewing his victims, visiting the scenes of his crimes, and ultimately holding his bones in his hands. Drawing on his own experience as well as new scholarship and sources, Marwell examines in scrupulous detail Mengele’s life and career. He chronicles Mengele’s university studies, which led to two PhDs and a promising career as a scientist; his wartime service both in frontline combat and at Auschwitz, where his “selections” sent innumerable innocents to their deaths and his “scientific” pursuits―including his studies of twins and eye color―traumatized or killed countless more; and his postwar flight from Europe and refuge in South America.
Mengele describes the international search for the Nazi doctor in 1985 that ended in a cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the dogged forensic investigation that produced overwhelming evidence that Mengele had died―but failed to convince those who, arguably, most wanted him dead. This is the riveting story of science without limits, escape without freedom, and resolution without justice.
David G. Marwell, Ph.D. has had a distinguished career in public history. He spent nine years at the US Department of Justice, where, as Chief of Investigative Research, he conducted research in support of the investigation and prosecution of Nazi war criminals in the United States. As a part of this effort, he played major roles in the Klaus Barbie and Josef Mengele investigations and helped to author the two major reports that resulted. In 1988, he went to Berlin to become the (last) Director of the Berlin Document Center, a repository for captured personnel-related files of the Nazi Party and its component organizations. After overseeing the complete microfilming of the collection, Marwell returned to the US, in 1994, to become the Executive Director of the JFK Assassination Records Review Board, an independent federal agency established to identify, locate, and make available to the public (through declassification) all records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. Following this service, he became the Associate Museum Director at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, overseeing key museum departments (exhibitions, collections, archives, education, international programs, library). In 2000, Marwell was appointed Director & CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City and led this important institution for fifteen years, before stepping down at the end of 2015.
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Lecture with David Marwell, author of “Mengele: Unmasking the ‘Angel of Death'”
Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Full inclusion is a core value of Jewish Pittsburgh. Please discuss accessibility accommodations with the contact person for this event.