The Mystery of the Jewish Boy Who Was Forced to Be Mengele's 'Dog'

Archival documents reveal the story of a Jewish child who was forced to behave like a dog in Auschwitz, at the order of the camp's notorious doctor. A contemporary researcher is determined to discover what became of that boy

Josef Mengele with Nazi officers.
Josef Mengele with Nazi officers.Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

“Mengele’s Dog” was the title given to jolting testimony that was found in the archive of the Ghetto Fighters’ House at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot 17 years ago. The 15 printed pages, in Polish, recount a story that could have been taken from a Hollywood film. At its center is a Jewish boy named Otto who was forced to behave like an attack dog in Auschwitz, and in the end was saved because of his friendship with a real dog named Willy.