"And how could you hate him, when he was so handsome?"

“Toward the end, you didn’t know it was bodies anymore,” Helen says dully. “I said to Pearl, ‘Pretend it’s a sack of potatoes. Or a sack of onions.’ To this day, if we go shopping and we want to pick out some oranges…” She pauses. “To this day, sometimes if I pick up an orange and I see it sliding, I’m right back in Auschwitz. Or potatoes or pumpkins. Anything that’s on a pile. You can’t help it.”…

Lifton writes that, by all accounts, Mengele was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde figure, who one minute was offering children sweets and a ride in his car, and the next minute driving those same kids to the crematorium. He was known to give a pat on the head but also to inject twins’ eyeballs, cut off a twin’s testicles, or kill one twin immediately after the other twin died, in order to contrast autopsies. “They wanted to compare if the insides were as identical as the outside,” Helen explains. Lifton describes how Mengele injected twins with chloroform to stop their hearts, and one incident when Mengele shot two of his “favorite” twin boys—eight years old—in the neck and autopsied them on the spot, in order to resolve a dispute with other doctors as to whether they carried tuberculosis. (They didn’t.) In one infamous operation, Mengele is said to have sewed two Gypsy twins together to create conjoined twins.