Two survivors of Dr. Josef Mengele’s experiments at Auschwitz, Marc Berkowitz and Alex Dekel, were among the delegates at the First International Conference on Children of Holocaust Survivors, which was sponsored here this Sunday and Monday by Zachor, the Holocaust Resource Center.
Mengele, the “Angel of Death” who is still believed to be residing in Paraguay, selected some 400 children, especially twins, for experiments. Six pair of these twins were liberated from Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Berkowitz, who has a twin sister, believes that only two pair are now living. Now 47 years old but looking much older, he lives here with his wife and two children. His sister, also living in the area, has three children.
Baring his arm to reveal a tatooed number A7739, he had a copy of a certificate with his name and this number and signed by Mengele, stating that he was used for experiments. Berkowitz wears a neck brace which is necessary because of these experiments, involving injections into his spine. His sister also has related medical problems.
Arriving in Auschwitz in the beginning of 1944 at the age of 11, Berkowitz and his sister were liberated by Soviet forces in December of that year, during a death march to Buchenwald. “If Mengele is still free, that makes the world a prison for humanity,” he said.
Dekel, 48, is a caseworker for HIAS and a free lance journalist. Although one of the 400 children selected for experiments, Auschwitz was liberated before Mengele got to him. He was part of the death march to Mauthausen. Before coming to the U.S. Dekel went to Israel in 1946. He was employed by the Israel Foreign Service, first in Europe and then here. He retired from this position in 1972.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.