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 Sora Seiler Vigorito is a survivor of the Holocaust. Born in Germany, at the age of 4  she and her twin sister, Channah,   were confined to a cage in Dr. Josef Mengele's infamous laboratory on the second floor of Crematoria II in Auschwitz-Birkenau. While there they both fell victim to Josef Mendele's inhumane medical experiments.  Sora walked out of Auschwitz  January 1945, but her identical twin died a few months before liberation. She is one of the few "Mengele twins" survivors.  Her mother also died in Auschwitz. Her father survived Dachau but he died in 1957 and Sora was made a ward of the state and sent to a Catholic orphanage.  Sora met and married Frank Vigorito settling in Erie Pennsylvania before moving to Cleveland Ohio in 1988. Frank converted to Judaism and added Avraham to his first name. They have three children.

An excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Human Cruelty CD-ROM: Felicity Press, PO Box 92, Islington NSW 2296 Australia. 

. . . . . . Dr MENGELE, in particular, was obsessed with the value of twins to his experimental program and many twin children were saved from the gas chamber by Mengele only to end up as guinea-pigs in his cruel experimental program. He was also interested in dwarfs and saved many of
these people for experimentation. A typical and especially horrifying story of experimentation on a child involved Susan Vigorito, who managed somehow to survive all the horrors she was put through and lived to tell the tale after the war. Little Susan was snatched from her parents at the age of just 4 years and found herself locked inside a cage in a terrifying room where white-coated figures moved back and forth and screams and other horrifying sounds were heard all day, every day. Then one day she was removed from her cage, gagged, blindfolded and strapped down on a table. Dr Mengele was operating on one of her tiny legs - without an anaesthetic of any kind! The limb was cut open and the flesh scraped to the bone. The operation being over, her leg was roughly bandaged and then she was just pushed back into her cage and left in pain and anguish torecover. Nobody comforted her, nobody gave her pain-killers. She was just another object of interest to the experimenters .


An inspiration

Recently I heard Sora Sella Vigorito speak in San Francisco. A surviving Mengele twin who had been in Auschwitz at age three, she is now 54 and lives in Cleveland.

Judith Schuchmann's letter in the Dec. 1 Jewish Bulletin questions the accuracy of Vigorito's story. She implies Vigorito's age meant any "mistreatment" she might have received at Auschwitz could have been by Russians who arrived two days after the
Germans fled.

She wonders whether the hammer Mengele smashed her hand with could have been an orthopedic rubber mallet used to test reflexes. Fascinating.

As I listened to Vigorito speak, my eyes kept drifting towards her mangled right hand, which lacked part of a finger. But what stood out most was her warmth and beautiful aliveness as she described her struggles, including looking to Christianity as the answer before finally finding fulfillment in becoming the educated, proud, observant Jew she is today.

I feel privileged to have met and been inspired by Sora Vigorito.

San Rafael

(Letter to the Editor, December 1995, San Francisco Jewish Community Publications Inc., dba Jewish Bulletin of Northern California.)

Several sites mention Sora Seiler Vigorito

Surviving Mengele twin shares inspiring words of faith, courage (November 3, 1995) Jewish Bulletin of Northern California Online.

Angel of Death: Josef Mengele Site describing the medical experiments that Mengele conducted on children in his Death camps. Contains disturbing pictures.

Medical Experimentation on Human Subjects by Nazi Germany and Japan


TITLE: Susan <videorecording> KSU Teleproductions; produced by HerbertHochhauser, Saul Friedman; directed by Gordon J. Murray.

AUTHOR: Vigorito, Susan Seiler.

SUMMARY: Susan Seiler Vigorito, youngest member of CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi's Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors) tells of her childhood experiences hiding from German soldiers and being captured with her twin Hannah and her grandmother. After being taken to Auschwitz, the twins were selected by Dr. Josef Mengle for medical experimentation. Hannah died. Susan was four and a half when liberated.

PUBLISHER: <Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Audio Visual Services>, c1987


CALL NO: D 810 .J4 V5 1987

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Last updated: March 23, 2000