by Dion Williams
The topic of my paper was deals with the Medical Experiment of the Holocaust and the doctors who committed these heinous crimes. The purpose of my paper was to discuss in detail the procedures the doctors underwent to advance medicine, while inflicting pain upon their victims who were usually Jews or other ethnic groups despised by the Nazis. I believe that these doctors betrayed and corrupted the definition of what a doctor really is and whose deeds were nothing less than evil.
From the beginning of time, or at least the 20th century, doctors and medicine have been placed upon a pedestal and widely admired. They have given hope and a will to survive to those who are sick and weak and have no one else to turn to. Many have put all their money and faith into doctors, always clinging to the chance that their disease or ailment can and will be cured. Adults wish for their little children to grow up to be doctors one day, even though the child may have something else in mind. Why we have such a fascination with doctors probably stems from many reasons. But probably the main reason is that they have always been linked to the solution to our greatest fears, Pain and Death. Throughout history doctors have produced many great wonders and cured many diseases that at one time were considered deadly, but now can be treated with little or no pain. But there are some doctors who have betrayed and corrupted the sacred place that doctors hold in our society. They were men who looked just like you and me, but had minds that were nothing short of evil. These were the doctors of the Holocaust and who at concentration camps at Auschwitz and dacha committed crimes that are still unimaginable, even though we have seen the proof with our own eyes.
Several of the seventy or more medical-research projects conducted by the Nazis between the fall of 1939 and spring of 1945 were conducted at Auschwitz (“Auschwitz Medical Experimentation”). Well over two hundred doctors were involved in the operation of concentration camps, conduction’ Selektionen’ medical services, and research (“Auschwitz Medical Experimentation”). These experiments were done on humans held against their own will, because the victims were thought to be lower than rats in the minds of the Germans. These victims were primarily Jews, but also consisted of homosexuals, gypsies or anyone considered inferior to the Nazi race. The treatment of the victims was conducted in a series of experiments which became accepted and widely embraced by most Germans, thanks to the propaganda of Hitler and the Nazi party. The type of experiments were diverse. They included Freezing/Hypothermia, Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Interrogation and Torture, Killing/Genocide, High Altitude, Pharmalogical, Sterilization, Surgery and Traumatic Injuries. These experiments were broken down into three classes. The German Air force at Dachua conducted experiments dealing with survival and rescue, freezing and temperatures and the ingestion of sea water (“Auschwitz Medical Experimentation”). Medical treatment involving gas attacks and epidemic diseases, as well as racial experiments upon dwarfs and twins, rounded out the last two classes.
Holocaust Medical Experiments – Details
The only way we can really understand the medical experiments is to actually describe the details of these experiments. The freezing/hypothermia experiments were conducted for the Nazi high command (“Education/A Legacy Forum”) The freezing experiments, were divided into two parts, first to see how long it would take to lower the body temperature, and then how best Dachua resuscitate a frozen victim (“Education A Legacy Forum”). The way the doctors would go about doing this would be to put a person in a icy vat of water or outside naked in sub zero temperatures. The icy vat would prove to be the fastest way to drop the body temperature, and the victims were often young healthy Jews or Russians. Usually naked for these experiments, an insulated probe would be inserted into the rectum to measure the temperature (“Education A Legacy Forum”). The victim was then placed in the vat of cold water and the victim would start to freeze. The victim would usually die when the body dropped to 25 degrees C. The other way to freeze a victim would prove to be just as gruesome. The victim would be strapped to a stretcher and placed outside naked during the horrible Auschwitz winters and left to die.
The Nazis also conducted genetic experiments. The overall plan for the Nazis were for the blonde haired, blue eyed supermen to be the only race (“Education A Legacy Forum”). Blacks, Hispanics, Jews or anyone else who did not meet these requirements were to cleansed from society by these genetic experiments. Rules were set up in the 1930’s for Germans planning to marry to submit to testing to ensure racial purity. If the laws of these marriages were broken, the death penalty could be administered. For these laws to be taken seriously, tests needed to be conducted to make this propaganda believable. The Nazis set out on a plan to prove all other races were inferior. Measurements of all other races were inclined to criminal behavior. From these findings, they would refine the master race and come up with cause of defects.
One of the most notorious names in these experiments was Dr. Josef Mengele. He was known as the Angel of Death and would be at every selection when the new trains arrived to Auschwitz. After the people were unloaded, they would be sorted through by the doctor, and half would go straight through the gas chambers while the others who were mainly twins and dwarfs, would be selected for experimentation. During these experiments the twins would be measured to the inch and would have to shave their hair within a few days. After all the research was compiled the twins would be killed by a single injection of chloroform in the heart, and then they would be dissected with the organs being sent to research centers (“Education A Legacy Forum”). Dr. Mengele did not always kill his victims in the name of Science. Stories of twins having tubes forced down their noses and lungs and ventilated with gas, and afterwards being placed into hot water vats to the point of passing out just to collect body hairs are just some of the horrors that Dr. Menglele put his victims through.
Dr. Mengele was not the only perpetrator of these crimes against the victims of the Holocaust. Many people have wondered just who these men were and what actually made them tick. Many of these men were well educated, while others had no education at all. There were over twenty doctors convicted for several crimes at the Nuremberg Trials . One such man was Karl Brandt, who was a personal physician to Adolf Hitler. Sieged Hadloser was the medical inspector of the Army. Oksar Schrooeder was the Chief of Staff of the Inspectorate of the Medical Department of Waffen SS. Kurt Blome, Rudolf Brandt, Jochim Murgowsky, Helmut Poppendick, Wolfram Sievers, Gerhard Rose, Seigfried Ruff, Hans Wolfgang Romberg, Victor Brack, Herman Becker-Freyeseng, Georg August Weltz, Konrad Schaeffer, Waldemar Hoven, Wilhelm Beiglboeck, Adolf Pokorny, Herta Oberheuser and Fritz Fischer were all tried and convicted for their roles in these medical experiments.
In conclusion, the doctors of these medical experiments, no matter what their role, did not receive a just punishment. They betrayed and corrupted the definition of a doctor in the name of Nazism. However, I believe Nazi ideology was not the reason why these men committed these horrible crimes. Instead, were just simply evil men with wicked hearts and imaginations. There is just no other way to explain the horrid acts that these men carried out against people who were different and inferior in the minds of Hitler and the Nazis. These crimes, as heinous as they may seem, are far from the worst experiments that were committed, but sadly are the only ones fit enough to print or talk about . It would be hard for anyone to try to justify the actions of these men. At times it seems impossible to believe that a man’s hate could drive him to conjure up deeds as horrifying as these. We can only try to imagine the emotional and physical pain that the victims had to endure by the hands of these doctors. These men completely reversed the meaning of a doctor from helper and healer to murderer and destroyer. These men showed us just how terrifying medicine can become if it gets into the wrong hands and minds. They brought into reality just what a mad scientist is and just how deranged he can become if given the right motivation. Sadly, the most painful thought comes from the fact that only some of these doctors were sentenced and punished and some still live a long life after these experiments, enjoying the gift of life, while their victims remain in the graves, never having a chance to fulfill theirs.
September 1, 1939
The most terrible tragedyhappened in Krakow, Poland. We were invaded by Germany! I’m completely saddened. I saw poor Jews taken to camp. Worst of all, father was taken! They must have found out that he had helped run away Jews, but I pledge I will help those unfortunate Jews.
My loving father helped the Jews by giving them our extra food. He was gone many nights. Mother hasalways said when he left ” Bless his heart.” I wondered what she meant. Now I understand. Father also gave them our old clothes. I once seen my father bring a girl to our home for two days. She was very thankful for my father. Mother is terribly sad. I refuse to cry. Mother has cried for all of us. I must know where they have taken my Father. I will devote myself to find my father. My sisters don’t really understand.
Yesterday,while I was babysiting Joseph,my 6 year old neighbor,we heard lots of noise in the street.I told him togo to his room until it was over.I looked through the window shades, and saw a riot in the street. Some people were smashing the windows of the tavern Pa goes to.The riot had already passed the store,or what was left of it.The riot had ripped down the doors, and burned part of the second floor.Upstairs, Joseph wimpered, and I rushed upstairs.Riots had broken into our synogoges and businesses all over Munich.I learned this by simply looking out his window.This went on until Joseph’s parents came home. They paid me and I went home. I asked Pa where Cristian and Jonathon were.He said “Look upstairs.”Jonathon had his arm around Ana, his girlfreind,and they were looking out the window.When I opened the door and asked where Cristian was,he kind of jumped and gave me a look that said, “Get out of my room!”I walked over to my seven year old brother’s room.He wasplaying with toy soldiers,talking to his hamster,Fuzzy, andonce in a while looking over the window pane. He didn’t feel like talking, so I went to my room. That was all yesterday.Pa told me that last night’s riots were government organized acts.I was shocked and mortified. He went on totell me about this “Kristallnact.”
By: Suzanne Flood
Hi it’s me again. Today MyMom and Dad lost their voting rights. They’re mad. I wish the people who are doing this would stop. I wish it would stop some day. Even if I was old enough to vote I wouldn’tbe able to vote. I want the Nazis to leave us alone. My family can’t do that much any more. If anyone reads this,please help us.
By: Loreeta Brammeier
Today Dachau is liberated by Americans. Today Rita is happy because she is pretty sure we are near the end of the War.I am feeling good too, because Dachau is liberated. My mother has been scared the whole time.She’s still scared. I can’t belive how long this has been goingon. I feel like I have been controlled almost my whole life.Rita is 20 and she is still a little scared. I am 17 and Iam as scared as Rita. My mom is 50 and she is very scared. I can’t wait until this is over.
By: Lisa Owens
Today was the worst dayin the world. First Dad and I were listening to the radio when we heard that Germany had invaded Poland. To think,what did we ever do to those Germans? Dad got really mad. He took his shotgun got in his car and yelled out, ” Lean, you take the hunting rifle and take care of your sister,your mother, and the house till I get back.” Then he wasgone. He hasn’t been back since. So hear I am, rifle inhand, waiting. Just waiting.
By: Lisa Owens
It’s been 10 days since I last wrote to you and I have been seretly feeding the prisoners in thathorrid camp. I never seem to have enough food to feed them and they just keep getting skinnier and skinnier every day Igo to the camp. The people in the camp are so gaunt it is unbelevable and frightning. Could this horrid thing happento me?
Yesterday, 12-10-43, people By our campwere sent to Poland where my Polish brother lived. Beforethey transported me, he came to the camp and said I wasRussian. That was true, I really was Russian and a littlebit Polish. The Germans thought I was a Jew because mymiddle name was Jewish. I am not happy at all. I was cryingall these ten days! On October the 2, 1943 when some 7,220Danish Jews and German Jewish refugees were saved Bydeportation by the Danish underground, the Germans killed mywhole family. First of all, I found out that my son was inthe children’s house in the concentration camp. I was verysad and heart broken, because on October 2 the Germanskilled my son in the CREMATORIUM!!! Also, my husband waskilled while he was fighting I don’t think I can think about it anymore or I would get a disease By worrying, orbeing scared. I think I am going to stay with my brothertill next year and then I am going to return to Russia.
November 15, 1938
You wouldn’t believe what happened to Margot,my sister, today. She goes to a small school for primarygrades. Today, her school was filled with Nazis. The Nazisburned the school to the ground. Luckily, Margot got out,but unfortunately her best friend, Kalina, who was Slavicbut treated like a Jew, was burned dead. Lots of cryingtonight, and everyone was sent to bed early. They didn’tclose down my school today, but I’ll be ready. We all mournfor Kalina, but not for my sisters and I, not for us.
By: Cynthia Smolka
Father is preparing for this dreadfulwar. I am petrified about it. My neighbors have been sent toa concentration camp in Lublin, Poland. Nazis keep searchingour house. So far they have found nothing to show that weare Jews. My mother sent me up to the attic to hide. Shetoo, is very worried.She says I shall have to stay hereuntil morning. All I have to do in this dim candle lit roomis, write, listen, hope, and sleep, The Nazis have insistedon taking a look up here, but I have faith in Mamma. She haskept me hidden up here for a long time. I feel safe up herewith the other valuables.
February 11, 1940
Dear Diary, I am in my apartment, hearing the screams andgun shots echo in the still of the night. I have justfinished my meeting with my fellow resistors. As in all myentries, I can not tell you where we have our meetings, forif this diary falls into the wrong hands it my be Killed
By: Natalie Jacobsen
Today a bunch of German troops came to Denmark. Theywere trying to get us to help them by capturing Jews. Ithought which should I choose, yes or no. I immediately knewmy answer, NO! I remembered that when I joined the army Imade a promise to my country to serve and protect and I am aman of my word, so I will never break that promise for aslong as I live. Though four-hundred got taken, we did welland saved many more peoples’ lives.
By: Ingrid Bergatt
April 3, 1933
Hi! It’s me Rivka. Today was one of theworst days of my life!!!!!!!!!!! Papa’s store gotboycotted. No one is buying By him. He said if businessdoesn’t go up we’ll lose the store. We’ve had the store forten years. I think it is unfair that just because we’reJewish we have to lose our family store. Mygreat-great-great-great grandfather started that store. I’mso scared!!!!!!!!! Then, a few days ago I found out theyopened up some kind of camp called Dachua. I don’t knowwhether to be happy or sad. I don’t know what to thinkanymore.
July 16, 1937
I am so scared. They’ve opened another concentrationcamp and we might not be so lucky to stay away By themsince we live in Frankfort, Germany. My family, Peter who’s15, Joel who’s 40, and Abraham who’s 45, have discussedgoing into hiding and will if we can find someone to hideus. This is hard to do because everyone’s against us andothers wouldn’t take the risk. I wish someone could stand upto the Nazis and free all Jews. Oh Diary, I still can’t waitfor the War to end.
By: Lisa Owens
Last night businesses and synagogues weredestroyed. We, Jewish people call this nightKristallnaucht. Of the businesses that were demolished, mymother’s and father’s business was burned down. My mammaand pappa’s store, Rovenwig Shoemakers no longer exists.Worst of all, my best friend, Martha lost her father lastnight. Her father was working late and decided not to comehome because he was afraid he would be caught by a Nazi. The Nazis raided his store. They found him and shot him. After that, they burned down the store with her father stillinside. Our synagogue was destroyed, also. I’m afraid ofstaying here. Mamma and Pappa say we’re going to escape tothe free country, Sweden. I hope we leave soon!
By: Lisa Owens
May 24,1940 This is my second dairy entry. I kind of yikerighting. Today we are going to Ooshwits! Hooray!! We aregoing to CAMP!!! Yipppeeee!!!! I cant wait. And we are goingon a train!!! Yayyy!!! This is the best day of my life! Mamaand papa dont look to happy. I think they are going to behome sick But camping is so FUN!!! Well I have to go soon.Mamas saying bad words about something. I maybee would tellyou what she is saying but Im not aloed to say those wordsBye!!!
Norbert (Age 5)
By: Judith Donovan
January 30, 1933
One day, I looked in the newspaper and it saidAdolf Hitler is appointed Reichs Chancellor by PresidentHindenberg. I heard of him before. He’s mean and I knewright that minute that President Hindenberg made a choicethat was wrong. I was mad about it that whole day. Everywhere I walked there were posters and pictures about Adolf Hitler. I am so mad Adolf Hitler is going to be ournew Prime Minister or Reich’s Chancellor. People say howmean he is and unequal he is. Everywhere I went, I sawAdolf Hitler’s poster and pictures. If he was supposed to beso mean why did President Hindenberg appoint Adolf Hitler toReich’s Chancellor or Prime Minister?
By: Judith G Donovan
This morning my mom came into my room and told me tosit down on my bed.I thought she was going to tell me aboutgoing somewhere and leave me home, but when she told me tosit down I knew it was something serious.Then it came,”Honey,today your friend Lucy won’t be walking with you.”I asked why,but she made an excuse that I was late. WhenI came home that evening I told my mom that some weren’t inschool.Then she told me that Jewish children are gettingexpelled By German schools. I will never forget this.
By: Melissa Marty,
September 1, 1939
Today the Nazis are attacking. When mummy told me, Istarted to cry. We shall go into hiding. Maciek, my babybrother, also cried. This might sound funny but, I thinkMaciek understands mummy. Tomorrow is my birthday. I shallbe nine. All that I want for my birthday is this to stop! Inmy family we had four people but, my father died in a war inour town. Mummy is twenty- nine,Maciek is one, and I’m 9,well tomorrow at twelve’0 five I shall be nine. I reallymiss papa. Papa was thirty-one. I still cry about whathappened to him. He badly got hit right in the chest. It isbedtime right now so I have to go.
By: Helen Murray
Feb. 23, 1935
Yesterday was horrible. As Iwatched out my window I saw the Germans knocking on everydoor. If a Jew was home and came to the door, the Germanswould put them in concentration camps. My sister doesn’tcare at all. She doesn’t even know what is going on. Thelast time I heard 400 Jews were taken. I’m so scared theycame to our house last night and we hid in our secretbasement. They will surely come again. It’s very horrible!I hope it’s over soon.
By: Janith Pelzer
November 26, 1944
Himmler ordered the destruction of the crematoriumsat Aushwitz today. I, being what I am, an exterminator, amnot supposed to have pity on the Jews, but it’s impossibleto not. It’s sad to say that these Jews once had a family.I don’t want to have to kill anyone. My brother, however,has no pity on these poor Jews. He says they are, “Theworld’s scum.” He hass always done everything perfectly. Always helping our commander kill people in the gas chamber. He is a robot, like a machine. Oh! No! My commander iscoming!