At least 31 personal notebooks, journals, and manuscripts covering 3,380 pages written by Dr. Josef Mengele, Nazi leader Adolph Hitler's "Angel of Death" at the Auschwitz concentration camp, are being put up for sale this month by a nationally-recognized historical and militaria auctioneer who hopes the extremely rare collection, valued at up to $400,000, ends up in a museum.
Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander Historic Auctions, said while parts of the collection have been seen before and were used by Mengele biographers, most has never been quoted, and a large portion hasn't been seen before.
"Scholarly institutions or historic collections should obtain these writings not as a 'remembrance' of a horrific period of world history, but more as a learning tool for future generations to recognize the psychopathic mentality that incited the Holocaust so that similar genocides are never repeated," he said.
The sale takes place July 21 at the firm's Stamford Connecticut offices and online at www.alexautographs.com. The sale, co-hosted by his other firm, Alexander Autographs, has several additional Nazi and historical artifacts on sale.
Panagopulos, whose previous auctions Whispers has features stories on, said that there are several historical highlights of the Mengele diaries. Most important, he said, is that they detail how Mengele fled German and escaped capture by Nazi hunters. They are all penned in ink in hand.
In the journals, written after he escaped the Allied capture of Germany and freeing of Jews locked in the Auschwitz death camp where Mengele did his horrible work, he writes on the Nuremburg war crimes trials, his justification of the concentration camp system, and his denial of the vile and cruel conditions at the camps.
Mengele is most known for selecting which prisoners arriving at Auschwitz on trains would live or die, often with the flick of a finger. He also was infamous for performing grisly human experiments on camp inmates, including children and twins, for which he earned the nickname "Angel of Death."
Mengele writes in a heartless, cold manner and in the third person, using the pseudonym "Andreas," said Panagopulos, who adds that he's only had a chance to have a translator work on a small percentage of the collection.
He said that Mengele describes his life in Paraguay and Brazil and touches on broad issues like politics, philosophy and race. At one point he writes, "Black people remind us of night time and the dangers of the night...like the raven...the dark soul..."
While the estimated $300,000-$400,000 price appears high, the auctioneer said that World War II history is hot, even when it's of Nazi items.