The Boys from Brazil Critical Essays

Ira Levin


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

This book raises many interesting ethical issues. Mengele is presented as completely evil, as one might assume he was. Levin’s Mengele says that he asked Hitler in the middle of the war for a vial of his blood and some scrapings from his arm. He did not have the technology then to do anything with this material, but he developed the science in Brazil. He procured women to be implanted with embryos with Hitler’s genetic code and to have the babies that would then be adopted by appropriate couples. The couples would match Hitler’s parents in major respects, and Mengele planned for the adoptive fathers’ assassinations to match Hitler’s loss of his father.

Liebermann represents the forces of good. He is a crotchety older man who at first does not believe that Mengele’s plan is being put into effect. Liebermann is portrayed as being almost a pauper, living in inadequate quarters, and having almost no help in his work of tracking down Nazis. He says that people had forgotten the days he had helped track down the infamous Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann.

Levin suggests that there always will be people like Mengele and like the militant Jews who wish to find the ninety-four Hitler clones and kill them. Liebermann is supposed to represent the moderate view of those who learn from history. He takes a chance that none of these children will become like Hitler, but he is steadfast that no one should do what the Nazis did in World War II, including...

(The entire section is 440 words.)