War and History Fiction posted November 22, 2013


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An Alternate History About A Cure for Cancer

The Cure

by brentman99


How Could Something So Good Be So Bad?
The audience was what one would expect for such a prestigious event - a collection of learned men and some exceptionally smart women. But more than anything else, it was a gathering of uniforms. A dark business suit for some, while others sported the white coat of the medical profession. But the largest group wore military uniforms. The brown and gold of the Nazi party elite, Wehrmacht feldgrau and the black and silver of the SS were all represented. There were some from other nations, but the victorious German military was most numerous.

Tonight was one of the most important gatherings for scientific and scholarly minds all over the world. With the end of the war in 1946, it was only fitting that scholars returned to their research. The war had required great personal sacrifice; more than one person who had received an award in the pre-war years was not around to tell what they had done during the war. However, for a select few, the war had provided unique opportunities that only now enabled them to reap the rewards of their efforts.

"So, do you expect to win the prize for medicine tonight?" a physicist asked Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Muller.

"Any other year, I'd say yes. But not tonight," Muller said with a slight sigh. But he was still hopeful. Many had praised his enhancement of the pesticide DDT earlier in the year. The improved formula had made it a commercial success and gained high praise from the international medical community.

"I hope the awards committee realizes what you've done! By killing the insects that carry diseases like malaria, your discovery will save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives!" Clearly, the physicist was used to numbers winning arguments and failed to see how they were irrelevant tonight.

However, even Muller knew that his accomplishment paled in comparison to the recent announcements from Nazi Germany. "Who can compete with the resources and ruthlessness of the damned Nazi SS?" Muller asked. "I wanted to succeed, but wasn't willing to use prisoners as guinea pigs, like Himmler's madmen were so willing to employ."

"True, Paul," his friend said. "But you're butting up against Machiavelli's old argument that the end justifies the means."

"We'll see," Paul stated, "but I'm not going to hold my breath." But as the announcer came forward, he did.

A self-important, official-looking man wearing a tuxedo climbed the stairs to the stage and approached the podium. Clearing his throat, he spoke into the microphone.

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending tonight's activities. It has been too long since many of the world's brightest minds have gathered in the same room at one time. I hope that with the recent peace, the study of science and the arts will once again be the focus of our intellectual efforts." Satisfied that he had their full attention, he pulled a small envelope from his pocket.

"It is my pleasure to announce to the world the winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize for Medicine." Pausing for dramatic effect, he slowly opened the envelope and pulled out the card with the name. However, even he was unable to conceal a look of sudden horror flashed across his face when he read the name. Quickly composing himself, he found his voice and spoke into the microphone.

"The 1946 Nobel Prize for Medicine goes to Dr. Josef Mengele of Germany for his discovery of a cure for cancer!"

A hush swept like a wave across the room. Those not wearing a Nazi uniform looked shocked and horrified. The Nazis, however, started clapping and shouting enthusiastically.

About 176 cm in height and possessing dark hair, Dr. Josef Mengele wasn't the tall, white-blonde and blue-eyed Teutonic knight favoured by Nazi propaganda posters. Yet, Mengele's intense features more than made up for his non-Aryan looks. Dark brown eyes and thick eyebrows gave his features a severe and serious look. Dressed in his midnight black SS uniform, Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Mengele certainly looked the part. Mengele made his way through the parted crowd, mounted the stairs and went to the podium to receive his award.

"Heil Hitler!" His arm shot forward in the rigid, extended arm salute favoured by the Nazi Party. Mengele acknowledged the leader of the Greater German Reich and then shook hands with the presenter. Some people still shook their heads in stunned disbelief while the Nazi German and Italian contingents applauded even louder and shouted their congratulations. The presenter stood back from the podium, allowing Mengele to take centre stage.

Mengele pulled a couple of folded typewritten sheets from his pocket and began to read his speech.

"First, I would like to thank my mentor and supporter, Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler. Without his support and entrusting me with such a sacred mission, none of this would have been possible. I would also like to thank my wife, Irene, for her understanding as I spent many long nights in the laboratory following leads or developing theories." Mengele stopped and smiled at his wife before going on.

"Finally, I would like to give thanks to the hundreds, possibly thousands of test subjects from our research camp near Auschwitz who, despite their lack of enthusiasm," Mengele paused while his fellow Nazis chuckled, "each contributed to the success of my work. Without their sacrifice, we would still be wondering how lung and liver cancers developed and spread unabated." Mengele waited a few moments for the applause to subside.

"It was during my research into the mystery of how to predict and encourage multiple births, my twins project, that I became interested in oncology. By exploring procedures on the sick twin, I was able to compare the results against the physiology of the healthy one. Organ transplants, biopsies and other procedures on both twins allowed me to discover what treatments worked and which ones did not." As Mengele paused to turn the page of his speech, a commotion broke out.

"You're not a doctor, you're a monster!" The shout came from a small, gray-haired man from America who yelled as he ran towards the stage. "You killed innocent, healthy people to further your hideous research! What more damage could a doctor do! How can you give this monster an award for murdering innocents?" The man was about ten feet from the stage when he was stopped cold. His limbs flailed about like a fly caught in a web as a crowd of Nazi police uniforms moved in from the wings of the auditorium, blanketed him with arms and legs and pushed him roughly towards an exit.

"This ceremony is a farce! You're a damned Frankenstein! The human race is doomed if you're supposed to be its saviour!" The man's final words died out as he was pushed into a police van and the auditorium doors swung closed. With the man's forced departure, Mengele was able to return to his speech.

"Another volunteer on his way to my research clinic, I hope." Mengele said. While there was a smile on his face, those close to Mengele knew that it did not extend to the cold, hard look in his eyes. It was said among the female prisoners of Auschwitz-Birkenau that when Mengele smiled, someone was going to die a slow and very painful death.

"With all seriousness, my work was possible only through the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in support of the aims and goals of our Fuhrer. Heil Hitler!" Mengele's arm shot out and his eyes gleamed. He had worked hard to fulfil his master's wishes.

"We will continue to work on a cure for other diseases that continue to take healthy men away from serving in Germany's valiant armed forces. I pray that Germany continues to lead the world in this field of research. Thank you for this award." With a click of his heels, a curt bow, and a final "Heil Hitler!" Mengele accepted the cheque and binder that made up the award and exited stage right. His Nazi colleagues rose to their feet and ushered his departure with thundering applause.

Off stage, Mengele was met by Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler. Himmler was smiling as he greeted Mengele with one hand and held the other out expectantly. Taking the cue, Mengele handed over the prize cheque without comment. Himmler paused for a moment and then said, "We can use the funds this award brings to buy more medical supplies, drugs and equipment."

Only a second behind, Mengele replied, "Yes. Yes, Herr Reichsfuhrer. That is exactly what I had in mind for the money." Really, he had given considerable thought to buying a chalet in Bavaria for his family, but Himmler didn't need to know that. That Himmler planned to buy a villa for himself in Bavaria with the money was information that he chose not to share with Mengele.

"What's next, Mengele?" Himmler asked the question with a tone that suggested that Mengele should already know the answer.

"In accordance with your and our Fuhrer's wishes, I shall continue to seek the answer to multiple births. In fact, my recent studies have shown that we can harvest eggs from healthy females and after fertilizing them with Aryan sperm, we can then re-insert them into the womb of a healthy German peasant woman of proven stock. I believe that we can insert more than one fertilized egg, which would then encourage multiple births."

"You've done it then, Mengele?" Himmler's eyes fairly gleamed in anticipation of thousands of SS-fathered babies.

"Yes, Reichsfuhrer. The Fuhrer shall have his Aryan legions." While Mengele's work had killed several hundred of the women unfortunate enough to be imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau, his last thirty patients had survived to give birth to healthy children, so he figured he had the answer.

"This year you win an award for curing cancer, next year you'll win for solving the mystery of multiple births. The Third Reich salutes you!" Himmler's arm shot out with such force that it nearly pinned Mengele against the wall.

While initially an opportunist who jumped on the Nazi bandwagon, Mengele had come to admire the Nazi hierarchy that both paid the bills and brought him test subjects. Mengele saw other prestigious opportunities, such as a professorship and the chair of a university department after his time in the Army was done.

As a wounded, decorated soldier and frontline doctor, Mengele knew the importance of his research firsthand. "Since the Reich conquered Russia and fought the Allies to a standstill, I see us as in a re-arming phase, rather than at peace. I believe that in the next twenty-five years we will be at war again. I will do my utmost to ensure that Germany is ready. The memory of those millions of Germans who have sacrificed their lives for the Fatherland will not have been in vain! We shall have an army of millions ready to do the Fuhrer's will!" Mengele was still a Nazi at heart.

"You're likely correct," said Himmler, nodding in agreement. "However, your discoveries will help ensure that the Fuhrer and Fatherland will be ready and equipped to meet the challenge. While our enemies will still be reeling from the effects of this war's manpower losses, Germany will be ready."

"Another important fact that many have overlooked is how your discovery will enhance our relationship with the Allies. While we have beaten them in this war, they may be resting up to try again in twenty years. However, we can use the cure to cancer as medical blackmail. Yes! We could create anti-cancer vaccines and sell them for whatever we want!" Himmler could see the dollar signs.

"Yes, Reichsfuhrer. We can't stop science from eventually figuring it out for themselves, but we can hold them hostage for a while." Mengele's greed, though not as honed as Himmler's, saw the possibilities.

With that, Himmler shook hands with Mengele and departed. Mengele contemplated a future that he had not thought of. If his unlocking the secret to multiple births held up, he would become a Nazi hero. Hell, Himmler may even have someone write a Nazi marching song about him as he did for that dead pimp bastard Horst Wessel. Mengele liked the thought of that.

With a final nod of his head, Mengele went out the exit door to meet his wife and Nazi colleagues. They had a big night of celebrating planned before he and Irene headed back to Auschwitz and his work. With a cure for cancer and unlocking the secret to multiple births, the world would never be the same. Theologians could argue the morality for generations, but he would help his Fuhrer and Nazi Germany become the master of Europe, possibly even the world. Yes, 1947 was going to be a great year for Nazi science.


Recognized


First, I'm not a Nazi, or a sympathizer or support in any way what they did during WWII. However, I am a student of history and have spent a lot of time studying World War II history and the Holocaust. This is an alternative history story about one of the more famous doctors who experimented on Jews and Russian POWs at Auschwitz, Dr. Josef Mengele, aka the Angel of Death. Mengele was known for greeting the Jews as they arrived on the trains and whistling opera while he sent thousands to their deaths in the gas chambers. Mengele was obsessed with twins and dwarves. Amazingly, while one of the most notorious, Mengele was not alone nor the worst offender. There has been an ongoing ethical debate about whether or not it is right to use the data that Nazi doctors gained through their horrible experiments to help find cures for diseases. Almost 70 years later, the debate is still going on.

Thanks to Mr Jones for his image "A Warning to Humanity."

This is dedicated to a dear friend, Peter, who died of cancer in 2011.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Mr Jones at FanArtReview.com

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