Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz” as Want to Read:
Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,594 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
During World War II, Nazi doctor Josef Mengele subjected some 3,000 twins to medical experiments of unspeakable horror; only 160 survived. In this remarkable narrative, the life of Auschwitz's Angel of Death is told in counterpoint to the lives of the survivors, who until now have kept silent about their heinous death-camp ordeals.
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Penguin Books (first published April 1st 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankNight by Elie WieselThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John BoyneNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
Well-Written Holocaust Books
114th out of 547 books — 2,248 voters
The Origin of Species by Charles DarwinHoly Bible by AnonymousThe Quran / القرآن الكريم by AnonymousThe Communist Manifesto by Karl MarxThe Complete Works by William Shakespeare
The Most Influential Books in History
343rd out of 937 books — 3,672 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Petra X
May 11, 2015 Petra X rated it it was amazing
I will have to think long and hard about how I am going to review this very unusual book - not just subject matter but the way it is written and laid-out, although it is not in the least bit gimmicky. For now... it was brilliant, it is a lot to think over, it explains, if not excuses, why the Israelis are so very hard on their enemies.

It is perhaps the only book anyone need read to understand the Holocaust and to know that it wasn't over when it was over and that forgiving one's enemies might be
Neal Klein
Jan 15, 2010 Neal Klein rated it it was ok
“Children of the Flames” does not set out to be a bad book. It tries to follow the experiences of several Mengele twins chronologically from before the War throughout the lives of the interviewees. The style of chronicling the lives of many people in this way might work for a newspaper series that is broken into stages over many days, but for a book, it doesn’t quite work. Many of the people I spoke to who read the book found that they were referring back to the beginning to be sure they were re ...more
Dec 31, 2015 Eugene rated it it was ok
Definitely not what I expected, but not in a bad way either. After reading some of the reviews I was prepared for horror stories, violence, and emotion. The book incorporated these factors maybe once or twice. It made for some very cold, factual reading, all of which centered on Josef Mengele, despite the title of the book. Which is not to say that that's a bad thing, but don't expect it to read like a novel, because it's more like a history book/documentary type than anything else. So let me ma ...more
Jul 17, 2007 Joletta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Not for the faint of heart. This book is a really interesting story of Dr Mengele. History like this should never be forgotten or overlooked.
Rowan MacBean
Dec 27, 2015 Rowan MacBean rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Let me start out by saying, if you have any interest in this subject at all, give this book a read. It focuses on the people involved, instead of on the particulars of what took place, so I was able to absorb a lot of information and still come away from it actually thinking instead of just having nightmares. It's one of the most approachable and interestingly put together books on this subject I've ever found; the facts about Mengele are given in a story-like format instead of in an overly stuf ...more
Oct 29, 2009 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always worried that if I read books about the holocaust, it would make me some kind of grisly voyeur. Since I spent the summer reading about the history of the second World War, and have done a lot of thinking about the topic, I that I was finally capable of truly putting the holocaust in its proper context. This is the latest in a series of books I have read on this and the related subjects of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

This book is laid out in an unusual fashion: it alternates between me
♥ Marlene♥
Feb 03, 2011 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history, war
Not sure what to think of this book. It was definitely interesting but I expected to hear more about the twins and Mengele (see the title) while in Auschwitz. This story was more about Mengele. (He is not a doctor as the authors mentioned in this book, so why call him a doctor in the title I do not understand by the way)
This book was most about Mengele life after the war. It got confusing to me reading about the twins because of the way the book was written.
Every time at least one twins story w
This was an odd little book.

The premise is quite interesting: it follows the Mengele twins' (the ones the author could find) lives before, during, and after Auschwitz, and follows Mengele's life as well. The author creates what another viewer called a "documentary style" book, where as Mengele's life unfolds, so do the for example, as Mengele flees Germany to go to Argentina, we also "cut to" several of the twins' accounts of their own flight from Germany to Israel/Western Europe/the
Mar 29, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing
This harrowing book traces both the life of 'the angel of death', the psycopathic monster, Dr Josef Mengele, and his victims who survived.
Mengele carried out a range of horrific experiments on a range of people, mainly twins. particularly Jewish and Gipsey children, and various others.
As Mengele's life is described, so is the life of the survivors, the horrors that they experienced at Auschwitz and how they lived in the decades afterwards.
"Most of the twins began their descent into Auschwitz by
Mar 09, 2015 Charlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww11
This is a Good book to read simply because of the notes from the 'Twins of Auschwitz.' I think there is way too much info on Josef Mengele, a ruthless killer, and not enough info on the Twins story. The Twins story begins as they entered Auschwitz and ends on what their current circumstances were at the publishing date of 1991.
I could easily have rated this book as a 3 but the letters/interviews were well worth the reading of this book.
Nov 26, 2015 Marwes rated it it was amazing
Dec 08, 2014 Vitaliy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Vitaliy by: internet
"Children of The Flames" I always think when im going to read a book I’m not going to like it, especially when it’s about the Holocaust! Before I read this book just reading the title “Children of The Flames” sounded very terrifying, because it sounds like it’s going to be about burning children!

This book set up in a way such as memories of the twin survivors and the life of Josef Mengele, or know as "The Angel of Death!" The twins' memories are very sad and painful to hear sometimes. Since most
Jan 27, 2013 Christie rated it liked it
A disturbing yet truly interesting account of Dr. Josef Mengele and the twins who were personally selected subjects for his heinous medical experiments at Auschwitz. There is a common thread that binds these twins who survived Auschwitz and that is that many of them suffer from nightmares, an inability to find enjoyment in life's precious and simple moments, a sense of survivor's guilt and anger that Dr. Mengele was never formally prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, even in ab ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Gretchen rated it really liked it
What to say about this book? So awful to read, but important. I like the way the writer structured it with the biographical information of Mengele in between accounts of survivors. It drew attention to how severely twisted he was, and how nothing forced him or cajoled him into being so, he just was. He had a relatively normal life before WWII. The book draws light on part of the Holocaust that isn't as well known. Also, it shows how inept some of the prosecution of the Nazis was, as Mengele was ...more
Terri Lynn
Mar 04, 2015 Terri Lynn rated it it was amazing
This book has staggered and stunned me, leaving my emotions like damp washrags in a heap. This non-fiction book was written by an author who tracked down some of the remaining twins from Josef Mengele's infamous twin experiences at Aschwitz-Birkenau which was no easy task as out of 3,000 twins, only around 88 had survived and only because the Russians liberated the camp. They went through many interviews and this book tells their stories in their own words, intertwined with Mengele's own life st ...more
Lori Anderson
Jan 14, 2012 Lori Anderson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, wwii
Oh boy. This is a truly sobering read. Twins were Mengele's favorite subject, and his experiments were truly horrific. What's interesting about this book is through the words of the surviving twins, we learn how some of them grew to trust Mengele, in large part because he kept them from the crematoriums. It's also an interesting insight into Mengele himself, how he grew up, and how he handled himself at the camps. The point of a finger, and he rules lives.

Lori Anderson


Jan 14, 2012 Ali rated it it was amazing
Great book.
Heart breaking.
But strangely hopeful too.
People got away and survived but alas way too many children were lost.
I cannot believe that Mengele never got caught and I felt quite angry about this but then I realised if he had been caught he would have been hung - with no time given to think about the horrors he did. He lived yes, when maybe he really didn't deserve to but it was maybe karma coming into play that life never really went that well for him again.
This book shows the
Christina Sesok
I read this book in preparation for my trip to Auschwitz with Eva Mozes Kor, one of the leading figures in the book and one of the founding members of CANDLES. I thought this book was very insightful and gave me a wonderful foundation to work with. I loved the quotes from Mengele's twins scattered throughout the text, it added a deeper emotional level to the book. I was also surprised at how much was known about Dr. Mengele, because the beginning of the book talks about how his life was more or ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: holocaust-ww
A must read. So different to a lot of the holocaust books I've read, this book gives you an insight to what happened to twins during this period as well as through the years after the war as well as 'the angel of death' dr Josef mengele. Think it is very well written and didn't find it hard to keep up with the author as she switched between the dr and the different twins like some others have mentioned. Definately one to read.
Mar 24, 2014 Zytel rated it liked it
One thing that I didn't like about this book was that, I often got confused with the author's style of writing, alternating the accounts of the twins with that of the life and acts of Mengele. Most of the time I found myself flipping back the pages, in order for me to determine whose who and which subject I first left off. Another thing is that, it mainly focused on Mengele, the author always highlighting his "adorable" personality which explains the reason why many would not believe his evil de ...more
Pamela Shropshire
Apr 12, 2016 Pamela Shropshire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems wrong somehow to categorize this book as fascinating - horrifying, tragic, devastating, but, yes, fascinating, too.

In addition to bits about the twins at Auschwitz, this book is primarily a biography of Josef Mengele. Whenever one hears about a heinous crime, one always wonders: how could a person do such an awful thing? Of course, very seldom do we find a satisfactory answer, and that is the case here.

How is it possible that so many educated, cultured human beings could perpetrate mass
Ashley Hudlow
Dec 14, 2014 Ashley Hudlow rated it liked it
While this book was entertaining, but it wasn't what I expected it to be. I had gone into the book expecting it to be filled with horrifying stories of the twins that had undergone during Dr. Josef Mengele's twin studies during the holocaust. However the book is more of a biography to Josef than anything else. There is a bit on the experiments but not enough. The other part of the book follows the stories of the twins after the fact, however this part gets confusing as it follows multiple people ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Monica rated it really liked it
Shelves: holocaust
A well-researched and delicately written work on the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Moshe Offer sais this: "Dr. Mengele was a very shrewd, a very cleve man. I have a feeling he will never br caught. A man who gives children sweets, then terrible injections-do you really believe such a man would let himself be caught?" I think Moshe is right. From this book, I will now seek out many of resources the authors mention or reference to further my knowledge of the Holocaust. First and foremost is I ...more
Writing style can make a book more interesting yet more infuriating. This book is done chronologically, mingling the memories of the twins that survived Mengele's atrocities with his 'biography.' This method provides an easier comparison between the life of the perpetrator and those of his victims. Because the survivors memories are in italic while the other parts are in normal type there is no confusion as to whose life is being described. What is most infuriating is the world's reaction to the ...more
Jan 02, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book about Dr. Josef Mengele and the twin studies he conducted at Auschwitz, and it was very informative. The narrative went back and forth between a description of Mengele's life and memories recounted by the Jewish twins he experimented on. It concentrated on Mengele's activities more than the recollections of the twins, and much of it was concerning what happened to their lives after the war. The organization of the book was its only major drawback. The narrative f ...more
Samantha Penrose
There were several things that I found fault with in this book, and of course, it's all trivial. Reading about the twins for the first time was worth spending the time on a not-so-perfect book.
Although it's title suggests that it is the story of the twins of Auschwitz, it's really more of a bio of Mengele.
I agree with other reviewers that the disorganization of the twins accounts got tiresome. You definitly spend time flipping to the front of the book, where there is "Dramatis Personae," that gi
Charity U
Feb 25, 2014 Charity U rated it liked it
The first few chapters are about the twins and their time in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belden. But much of the book I ended up skimming, as it is more about their lives now (or in the 80s or whenever it was that this book came out) and that didn't interest me as much. However, it was certainly worth reading. Recommended if you have an interest in Mengele and the concentration camps of World War II. Sad book, heart-touching, but we need to know!
Jun 20, 2011 Kara rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
An interesting read about a lesser-known part of the Holocaust - Dr. Josef Mengele and "his" twins. Though a good source of information, it took a while to get through. The way the book kept jumping from Mengele to different twins made it difficult for me to keep track of everything; though this style works for documentaries I found it somewhat annoying in written form.

Only a couple chapters of the book are dedicated to the events that took place at the death camps, so if you're looking to read
Feb 23, 2015 Nance rated it liked it
Got tired of reading of Mengele's life in South America, so eventually skipped that part. Kept reading the survivors' stories. One thing that they all seem to have in common (and in many many other accounts this seems to be true) is that they are heartbroken over the loss of their mothers and that loss never seems to get any easier or less acute no matter how long they live.
Oct 07, 2008 Tracey rated it really liked it
This book is the story of various twins who survived the horrendous medical procedures performed on them during the holocaust. Few twins lived to tell their story, as they were murdered immediately after the doctor finished his inhumane tests on them.

As far as holocaust books go, this is stands out as a specific groups experience, and the different world they entered from the moment they stepped onto the rail platforms. As soldiers called for twins and triplets, implying a favored status, mother
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land
  • Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans
  • Five Chimneys: A Woman Survivor's True Story of Auschwitz
  • Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers
  • Witness: Voices from the Holocaust
  • The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide
  • In our Hearts we were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe, a Dwarf Family's Survival of the Holocaust
  • Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling
  • Mengele: The Complete Story
  • Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz
  • The Dentist of Auschwitz: A Memoir
  • The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust
  • Nine Suitcases: A Memoir
  • The Lost Childhood: A World War II Memoir
  • The Holocaust Chronicle: A History in Words and Pictures
  • Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp
  • Echoes from Auschwitz: Dr. Mengele's Twins: The story of Eva and Miriam Mozes
  • Treblinka
Lucette Lagnado is an Egyptian-born American journalist and memoirist. She is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Lagnado attended P.S. 205 in Bensonhurst, New York City, and is a graduate of Vassar College. She is married to journalist Douglas Feiden, and lives in New York City and Sag Harbor on the East End of Long Island.[1][2]

She was born to a Jewish family in Cairo, Egypt, and wrote a priz
More about Lucette Lagnado...

Share This Book