The Ravensbrück Rabbits

Rabbitts

The Ravensbrück Rabbits was the name given to 74 Polish women, who were subjected to medical experiments in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

Of the 74 women, 5 died as a result of the experiments and 6 other victims whose wounds did not heal were executed. The other survived with permanent damage.

Rather then go through all 74 accounts I am focusing on the account of one sirvivor,Jadwiga Kaminska. below is the translation of her affidavit submitted to the Nuremberg trials.

Rabbis

“I, Jadwiga Kaminska, 24 Avenue de 1’Yser, Brussels, make oath and state as follows:

“I was arrested on 18 March 1941 and arrived in Ravensbruck on 27 September 1941 and left the camp on the 16 April 1946.

“I was twice operated on during my stay in the camp. The first time was August 15, 1942, in the second group of prisoners to be operated on; the following were operated on with me: Kormanska, Zofia; Kaminska, Zofia; Karolewska, Vladyslava; Jurkowska, Alicia; Karwacka, Ursula; Iwanska, Yanina; Iwanska, Krystyna; Karesman, Muria.

“In the morning of the same day we were operated on we were all sent to the Revier not knowing what was to happen to us. Five of us were sent to one room and the two Inwanska sisters and Karwacka to another. On arrival we all had baths and were given small hospital shirts and blouses. We had no medical examination and were given nothing to eat. When they were taking me to the operating theatre I fought to keep out but was held down by the nurse Ericka and two owner nurses in the corridor whilst Dr. Rosentahl gave me an anaesthetic by injection in my arm.

Dr Rose

Just before I had the injection I saw Gebhardt in the corridor and I also recognize him on No. 3 in the group of photographs. I also saw Dr. Oberhauser going into the Operating theatre. When I came round, I found that all of us had been operated on and that my right leg was in plaster up to the knee, three days later I was taken to the Dressing Room and my face was covered with a sheet so that I could not see what going on, I recognized the voices of Oberhauser, Rosenthal, Schidlauski and there were several others there whose voices I did not recognize. I heard another Doctor who I believe removed plaster ask for instruments.

“Immediately after the operation I had a temperature of 39 degree, the first week after the operation it varied between 38 and 39. When I was sent back to my block three weeks after the operation I still had some fever and felt very weak.

After the first operation Gebhardt came into the room where I was having my dressing changed with several other doctors and talked about the operations and said they were “Military Operations”. I recognized Gebhardt when he came into the room.

Gebbhardy

“About a week after my first operation Rosenthal came into our room drunk. We asked him why we had been operated on, he answered “because you are young girls and Polish Patriots.” Oberhauser was also asked the same question She answered that the operation had been ordered by the Gestapo. Dr. Fischer advised us to ask the Senior Doctor, Schidlausky, why we had been operated on, but after that we never saw Schidlausky again.

“I was in great pain after the operation, the first two days we were offered a medicine but refused to take it after which we were offered nothing.

“About a week after the operation I first saw my wound which was about 10 cms. long and 5 cms. wide and full of green pus and very inflamed. It is now 10 cms. long and about 3 cms. in width.

“Thee days after my first dressing the second one was done under similar circumstances as the first, but I managed to pull the sheet off my face for a few seconds and saw Dr. Fischer who was doing my dressing.

“I was operated on the second time on 13 September 1942, with five others who were: Wojtaski, Wanda; Rakowska, Pelagia; Gnas, Maria; Kaminska, Jadwiga; Karolewska, Vladislava,; Karwacka, Ursula.

“The day before the operation I was again put in the Revier and had a bath and then salt compresses were put on my wound by the nurse Wricke and another nurse. Before the second operation I was given something to drink which made we sleep and consequently knew no details of the operation.

“When I came to from this operation I had much more fever than the first time; we were given something to drink three times a day to alleviate the pain but it had little effect; in the evening, however, Oberhauser gave us morphine injections. We were not in plaster after the second operation. The first two times my dressings were changed by Dr. Fischer and afterwards by Schidlausky and Oberhauser and also by SS nurses.

“After my second operation I stayed in the Revier three months, during all that time I had fever and felt very weak and I was given no care.

“When I left the Revier three months after that operation my fever had almost gone but my wound was still open. Before I left the Revier Oberhauser had a look at my wound, and said I was fit to go. In March 1943 my leg was still discharging pus.

“In February 1945 the order came out that all of us who had been operated on were to remain in our blocks. We knew this meant we were to be liquidated.

“I went to the bureau and spoke to Binz and Swarzhuber; they told me that as we were still weak we would be transferred to the Gresrosen camp. I said that was not true but that we should be shot in the camp without being transferred.

“I demanded of Swarzhuber that I saw Suhren; he said it was impossible. After a few days, however, I saw Suhren and told him that we would rather be killed in the camp than at Grossrosen. Suhren said he would do everything in his power to save us.

“My leg is new healed but gets tired very quickly and during the last three months I have had intermittent fever which my doctor tells me is due to recurrence of infection in my leg and also the glands in my right groin have become swollen. Signed Jadwiga Kaminska.”

OR

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Sources

The Nuremberg Project.

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