Medical Experiments of the Holocaust and Nazi Medicine
People must remember the Holocaust as a insult to humanity. The lives lost werenot only great in number, but offered so much to mankind. How the world wouldhave been different if the millions of souls destroyed could have lived.
Doctors have always been thought of as the saviors of mankind, the healers, andcaretakers of our utter existence. Even ancient civilizations revered themedicine men as having special power to protect life. The trust of a physicianis sacred. This is why the practice of medicine by the doctors of the ThirdReich is egregious, outrageous, and shocking. The Nazi doctors violated the trustplaced in them by humanity. The most painful truth is for the most part thedoctors escaped their crimes against Humanity and lived a life, unlike theirvictims.
- Freezing / Hypothermia
- Infectious Diseases
- Interrogation and Torture
- Killing / Genocide
- High Altitude
- Traumatic Injuries
Freezing / Hypothermia
The freezing / hypothermia experiments were conducted for the Nazi high command. The experiments were conducted on men to simulate the conditions the armiessuffered on the Eastern Front. The German forces were ill prepared for thebitter cold. Thousands of German soldiers died of freezing or were debilitatedby cold injuries.
The experiments were conducted under the supervision of Dr. Sigmund Rascherat Birkenau, Dachau and Auschwitz . Dr. Rascher reported directly to Himmler. Dr. Rascher publicized the results of his freezing experiments at the 1942medical conference entitled “Medical Problems Arising from Sea and Winter”.
The freezing experiments were divided into two parts. First, to establish howlong it would take to lower the body temperature to death and second how to bestresuscitate the frozen victim.
The two main methods used to freeze the victim were to put the person in a icyvat of water or to put the victim outside naked in sub-zero temperatures.
The icy vat method proved to be the fastest way to drop the body temperature. The selections were made of young healthly Jews or Russians. They were usuallystripped naked and prepared for the experiment. A insulated probe whichmeasured the drop in the body temperature was inserted into the rectum. Theprobe was held in place by a expandable metal ring which was adjusted to openinside the rectum to hold the probe firmly in place. The victim was then placedin the vat of cold water and started to freeze. It was learned that most victimslost consciousness and died when the body temperature dropped to 25 C.
Two Russian men were seen by a prisoner doctor in the cold vat. They were verystrong men and had said a comment to the SS doctor performing the experiment. The prisoner doctor was shocked at how long the Russian men could take the coldwithout loosing consciousness. He asked the directing doctor to take them out ofthe tank. He did not allow this and increased the temperature slightly toprolong their pain. They died after a long painful stay in the tank.
The second way to freeze a victim was to strap them to a stretcher and place themoutside naked. The extreme winters of Auschwitz made a natural place for thisexperiment.
The resuscitation or warming experiments were just as cruel and painful as thefreezing experiments.
The victims were placed under sun lamps which were so hot they would burn theskin. One young homosexual victim was repeatedly cooled to unconsciousness thenrevived with lamps until he was pouring sweat. He died one evening after severaltest sessions.
The frozen victim would have water heated to a near blistering temperatureforcefully irrigated into the stomach, bladder, and intestines. All victimsappeared to have died from the treatment.
The victim was placed in warm water and the temperature was slowly increased. This method proved to be the best. Many victims died do to shock if they werewarmed up to quickly.
Warming by Body Heat
Heinrich Himmler sugested to Dr. Rascher that he try to use women to warm thefrozen men. He suggested that the victim and a women copulate. This pervertedexperiment occured with some success. However it was not as successful as theWarm Bath.
The Nordic or Aryan Race was the most important goal of the Nazis. It was thelargest part of the over all plan. The blonde hair, blue eye, super men were tobe the only race. The Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and anyoneelse that did not meet the race requirements were to by cleansed from societythrough genocide. Hitler and the German High command made a list rules for thefellow Nazis to follow. The new rules required all SS before marriage mustsubmit to general testing to insure racial purity. The rules for marriage wereunbelievably complex. Thousands of marriages were denied. If the laws formarriage were broken it could mean the death penalty.
Dr. Sigmund Rascher and his wife learned what not following the marriage lawswould hold for their lives. Mrs. Rascher was sterile. They were not illegallymarried; they adopted two children. They were later investigated by theGestapo and executed for the crime. In this case, after his medicalexperimentation, it seems fitting that this killer was caught up by his own party.
Early in power the National Science groups were pushed into research of the raceand experiments commenced. First the party needed propaganda to prove all otherraces were inferior. Measurements of heads, eyes, nose, blood were required. The vast majority of the early experiments were a propaganda sham. It wasdetermined Gypsies had different blood and were inclined to criminal behavior. The same type of findings were made of all races other than the Nazis.
After the camps were started, vast genetic experiments were undertaken. The rangeof the testing was broad and specialized. The two major groups of experimentswere first to refine the master race and second to determine the cause of defects.
Dr. Josef Mengele research on twins and Gypsies exemplifies the quest for thegenetic studies. Dr. Mengele was known as the “Angel of Death”. He would be atevery selection when the new trains would arrive at Auschwitz. After the victimswere unloaded off the trains and stripped naked and divided into men, women, andchildren, he would sort through the thousands of people. Most went straight to the gaschambers and others to hard labor in the camps. The twins, dwarfs, and uniquephysical specimens were selected to be assigned to the experimental blocks. Inmany ways the majority who where killed in the gas chambers were much better offthan the survivors that had no idea what horrors awaited them.
Experiments on Twins
The twins were examined from head to toe. Measurements of every inch weretaken. Dr. Mengele demanded specific and careful exams. If any detail wasmissed the staff, usually a prisoner doctor, would be punished. The twins wereallowed to keep their hair for the first several days of the examination. Afterall the living data was taken the twins would be killed by a single injection ofchloroform in the heart. Care was taken to insure the twins died at the sametime. The twins were then dissected with the organs being sent to researchcenters.
Prisoner doctors tell of the fate of two Hungarian twins who arrived atAuschwitz late in 1943. Dr. Mengele was at the camp selection. The train arrivedin the very early morning. Three sets of twins were found. They were taken tothe experimental block. Dr. Mengele ordered the two Hungarian twins be placed inthe examination room. The two Hungarian twins young men age 18 were described as”extremely athletic and handsome.” They had much body hair and were allowed tokeep it for the first few weeks. The twins were showered and returned nude tothe examination room. The examination started at the head . All parts oftheir heads were examined. The head examination took almost days. They were thencompletely X-rayed . The next part of the examination consisted of tubes beingforced through their noses and into their lungs. They were then ventilated with agas which caused them to cough so severely they had to be restrained. Thesputum from the lungs was collected for examination.
The twins were then photographed for several days . The purpose of thephotographs were to show hair patterns. They were each forced to stand, bend,and kneel in many positions to accomplish the photographs. For example, they wererequired to stand with their arms lifted for many hours so the under arm haircould be photographed.
After the photographs were finished they were awoken very early in the morning. They were taken into a room with tables and a hot water vat. The water in thevat was very hot. They were made to sit in the water until they were ready topass out from the heat. They were then strapped to a table where their hair wasplucked out trying to save the hair root. They were put back into the hot vatseveral times. After enough hair was collected, they were totally shaven ofevery hair on their body. The twins were then again extensively photographedwithout hair.
The twins then received several two liter enemas which caused them much pain anddiscomfort. The boys on different days were strapped over a bench table and theirrectums were hyper descended after which they received an extensive lower gastricintestinal examination. This extensive procedure was performed without anyanesthesia. The young men were crying so loud that Doctor Mengele ordered theybe gagged. The next day they received a painful and humiliating urologicalexamination. In this examination tissue samples were taken from the kidneys,prostate, and testicles. Several semen samples were forcefully taken over twodays.
After this three weeks of tortuous medical examinations they were taken two thedissection laboratory. Using two doctors, each twin was simultaneously given an injection in the heart, taking their lives. They were dissected and their organswere sent to the Institute of Biological Racial and Evolutionary Research Berlin.
See “Invasion in the Snow” by Langdon Davies Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston 1941
TWC I :200 Freezing Studies Reports on 223.
Hitler’s Death Camps pp. 223 Konnilyn G. Feig / Holmes and Meicers 1979
See Medicine on Trial pp. 124-134 Dannie Abse / Crown Pub. 1969
See note for #3 Hitler Death Camps
See Sex and Nazi Germany. Blevel. NY Press 1996
See The Other Victims. Friedman. Houghton Mifflin Co.1990
See Final Journey. Gilbert. Mayflower Books Inc.1979
See The Holocaust. Gilbert Holt & Co 1985
See Nazi Doctors. Section Mengele. Lifton Basic Books 1986
Auschwitz. Pp.58-60 Dr. Miklos Nyiszli. Arcade Pub 1993.
Go to the Top of the Page