Nazi brain archive

The Nazi Holocaust keeps turning up new materials – this time in the form of brains and body parts delivered by Josef Mengele (pictured), the doctor at Auschwitz who escaped after the end of the Second World War.

The preserved brains and other bits were found during building works at the Munich-based Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry.

The institute – formerly the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute for brain research – indulged Nazi theories of racial eugenics under Julius Hallervorden, who was the head of the department for brain tissue pathology and a member of the Nazi Party. He carried on his research until 1957; he died peacefully in 1965.

An investigative committee established by the institute is trying to identify the victims, but this could take years.

Hallervorden said in the Nuremberg Trials: “those brains offered wonderful material, of mentally poor, deformities and early children’s diseases. Of course I accepted the brains. It really wasn’t my concern where they came from and how they were brought to me.”


Picture source: Camila Meneses Castro via Wikimedia Commons