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He completed his medical degree in Following this, he specialized in forensic pathology in Germany. He returned to Transylvania with his wife and daughter in before migrating to Hungary in In , he and his family were sent to a work camp in Desze before being transferred to Auschwitz concentration camp in Mengele had researched the causes of dwarfism and twinning, and used Nyiszli to gather more information.
Nyiszli autopsied murdered prisoners, specifically those suspected to have died from infectious diseases. Mengele was searching for evidence supporting the "inferiority of the Jewish race". At one point Nyiszli was forced to carry out physical exams on a father-son pair and, after their deaths, to prepare their skeletons for study at the Anthropological Museum in Berlin.
Nyiszli and his fellow prisoners did their best to help and care for the girl, but she was eventually discovered and shot. However, his actions were dictated by his tormentors, and he was forced to perform what he considered immoral acts. As he said: An event never before experienced in the history of medicine worldwide is realized here: Twins die at the same time, and there is the possibility of subjecting their corpses to an autopsy.
Where in normal life is there the case, bordering on a miracle, that twins die at the same place at the same time? But in Auschwitz camp there are several hundred pairs of twins, and their deaths, in turn, present several hundred opportunities!
Each sub-camp housed between 5,—10, prisoners or more. Nyiszli was often told which camps were next to be exterminated, signaling that an increased workload was imminent. Nyiszli remained in Auschwitz until shortly before its liberation by the Soviet army on 27 January On 18 January, Nyiszli, along with an estimated 66, other prisoners, was forced on a death march that took the prisoners into various Nazi territories, including Poland part of Greater Germany , Czechoslovakia , Germany proper, present-day Austria and further into various smaller concentration camps in Germany.
He writes that he tells his story "not as a reporter but as a doctor". This style has been referred to by some as documentary realism. After a three-day stay in a quarantine barracks at Mauthausen, he spent two months in the Melk an der Donau concentration camp , about three hours away by train.
He never again worked with a scalpel after the war.
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