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Mengele stole my kidney: Auschwitz survivor reveals why he avoided doctors for 64 years
By ALAN HALL_Last updated at 4:53 PM on 11th December 2009
Heart specialists have saved the life of an Israeli man who refused to visit a doctor for 64 years - and learned the terrible secret of his mistrust of the medical profession.
When Yitzchak Ganon, 85, came around from the anaesthetic at the hospital near Tel Aviv he was informed he only had one kidney.
'I know,' he replied. 'The last time I saw the other one it was pulsating in the hand of a man called Josef Mengele. He was a doctor too.'
Mr Ganon revealed to his stunned family why he never visited a doctor since he was freed from the death camp of Auschwitz in January 1945.
None of them knew of his suffering there at the hands of the infamous Mengele.
A Greek Jew, he was deported along with his mother and father and five brothers and sisters to Auschwitz in 1944.
His father died en-route, his mother and siblings were gassed within hours of arrival.
But he was chosen by Mengele, the diabolical SS doctor who met every transport that arrived so he could pick human guinea pigs for his horrific experiments.
Tattooed on his lower left arm with the number 182558, Mengele - known to his victims as the 'Angel of Death' - had Mr Ganon strapped to an operating table.
'He cut into me, without anesthetic,' said Mr Ganon.
'The pain was indescribable. I felt every slice of the knife. Then I saw my kidney pulsating in his hand. I cried like a madman, I cried out the prayer; “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one...”
'And I prayed to die, that I might not suffer this agony any more.'
Mr Ganon, a Greek Jew, was deported along with his mother and father and five brothers and sisters to Auschwitz in 1944
But Mengele, whose quest was to eventually clone perfect SS-supermen for his Fuehrer, had not finished with him.
'After the operation I was given no painkillers and put to work,' he said. 'I cleaned up after the other bloody operations carried out by Mengele.'
Six months later, Mengele called for him again. He was immersed in a tub of freezing water and intermittently inspected by Mengele who said he wanted to check on how his lungs were functioning.
'Then I was selected for gassing because my body was no longer any use to them,' he said.
He was the 201st man sent to the gas chambers one morning - but it was full after 200. 'That saved my life,' he said. 'I was then sent back to the camp.'
He went back to Greece when Auschwitz was liberated, was reunited with one brother and one sister who survived the SS round-ups, and emigrated to Israel in 1949.
His family were puzzled about his reluctance to see doctors down the years. Every cold, infection, bruise, cut and sickness he encountered he dealt with himself.
His wife Ahuva said: 'Whenever he was sick he would deny it, claiming he was just tired.'
Then came the heart attack a month ago and the enforced visit that revealed the secret he had carried around for so long.
Now with a pacemaker in his heart, he says; 'I guess I cheated death a second time. But this time it was doctors helping me instead of the other way round.'
Mengele escaped after the war to South America and was supported by his wealthy family and old Nazi comrades for many years before he drowned in Brazil in 1979 after suffering a massive stroke while swimming._