Mengele wanted to be called Uncle Josef by his victims
Mengele used twins and other children whom he saved from immediate gassing as subjects for medical research and experimentation. Besides twins, Mengele was interested in those with eyes of differing colors, persons suffering from a cleft palate or other physical deformities present at birth, and dwarves.
His research received funding from outside the camps and his results were shared with German scholars. In all of Mengele’s experiments, he was supported by a staff of noted Jewish physicians and researchers imprisoned in the camp. Jewish researchers and physicians who refused to co-operate were killed immediately.
Mengele’s subjects were kept separate from the main camp, and he provided them with a playground and a Kindergarten. Mengele told the children to address him as “Uncle” and frequently brought them candy and tea cakes. He made sure that his subjects received better food and were housed in better circumstances than ordinary prisoners in the camps.
Nearly all of the children were eventually killed by a variety of methods including beatings, lethal injection, shooting, stabbing, and through the administration of various poisons or medications. Mengele personally performed many of the killings as part of his experiments. Those children who somehow survived Mengele’s ministrations were invariably sent to the gas chambers.
Mengele’s interest in twins was believed by many to be partly driven by his desire to find a means by which the “master race” could procreate at a greater rate. As the twins under his supervision grew, they were tested for various physical attributes and differences between the two noted and examined. Mengele unnecessarily amputated limbs from one twin and then measured its overall growth and development against that of the other.
If a twin died of natural causes or from being murdered by Mengele, he would execute the other to perform comparative autopsies. The bodies and organs would usually be shipped to medical facilities outside of the camp for additional studies.
Mengele also attempted to create conjoined twins by sewing together the living bodies of children under his care. When it appeared they were dying (usually of gangrene) he monitored them closely to determine how the death of the first affected the other.