Evil Science

Six weeks after Americans liberated Buchenwald in April 1945, a guide shows an American soldier human organs the Nazis removed from prisoners.

The one thing that I have conflicting feelings about is the data that was gathered from the Nazi experiments. On one hand, I believe it should never be used, on the other hand, I have benefitted myself from it via some medications I used, although I did not know the origins at the time.

The evil experiments conducted by Nazi physicians which have on some occasions resulted in medicines, as well as the conditions that made them possible, are still a subject of heated debates among historians and bioethicists. Proponents of various positions often refer to the Nazi period in the discussion of the ethics of research on human subjects. The Nuremberg Medical Trial of 1946–47 and the ensuing Nuremberg Code addressed in particular the absence of consent of those involved in research in Nazi experiments, and as a consequence formulated the principle of informed consent for the first time on an international level. In addition to this crucial issue, the preconditions and inherent rationale of Nazi biomedical science have been at the centre of many debates. Recent historical research documents both similarities and differences between Nazi medicine and medicine in other countries in the developed world. It also suggests implications relevant to today’s debates on the ethics of research involving human beings. The Nuremberg Code is a set of ethical research principles for human experimentation created by the court in US v Brandt, one of the Subsequent Nuremberg trials that were held after the Second World War.

However, the vast majority of the experiments were borne out of an evil ideology.

During World War II, Nazi doctors conducted as many as 30 different types of experiments on concentration-camp inmates. They performed these studies without the consent of the victims, who suffered indescribable pain, mutilation, permanent disability, or in many cases death as a result. There has been no full evaluation of the number of victims of Nazi research, who the victims were, and the frequency and types of experiments and research.

Dr Fritz Klein, an SS doctor, committed to death thousands of men women and children in the Belsen Horror camp. He experimented to some extent by injecting Benzine into his victims to harden their arteries.

The picture shows Dr Fritz Klein speaking for the Movietone News sound truck in Front of the grave in which are buried some of his victims.

Without a reliable, evidence-based historical analysis, compensation for surviving victims has involved many problems. Victim numbers have been consistently underestimated from the first compensation scheme in 1951 when the assumption was of only a few hundred survivors. The assumption was that most experiments were fatal. This project’s use of several thousand compensation records in countries where victims lived (such as Poland) or migrated to (as Israel), or were collected by the United Nations or the German government has corrected this impression. The availability of person-related evidence from the International Tracing Service at Bad Arolsen further helps to determine whether a victim survived. Major repositories of documents like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Yad Vashem archives, court records in war crimes proceedings, and oral history collections notably the Shoah Foundation have been consulted. Record linkage of named records is essential for the project and shows how a single person could be the victim of research on multiple occasions. Father Leon Michałowski, born 22 March 1909 in Wąbrzeźno, was subjected to malaria in August 1942 and then to freezing experiments in October 1942

Experiments in the context of aviation medicine were aimed at finding methods to help pilots survive after their planes had been hit at very high altitudes, or after an emergency landing at sea. The experiments, carried out in the Dachau concentration camp, focused on physiological questions, such as the effects on the human body of low pressure at high altitudes, or of drinking salt water. The researchers responsible, such as Siegfried Ruff, Sigmund Rascher, and Georg Weltz, were all associated with university institutes or the German Air Force. For the high-altitude experiments, about 200 people were chosen from the camp prisoners, at least 70 of whom died during the experiments in a specially designed low-pressure cabin or were killed afterwards to study the pathological changes in their brains. Judged strictly on scientific terms, the methods and results of some of these experiments were innovative and useful. The US Air Force continued some of this research after the war and published the results in cooperation with several German physicians involved in the original experiments.

Guy Morand, a French resistance fighter who was a prisoner in Dora, testified in 1995 that, after an apparent sabotage attempt, Wernher von Braun ordered a prisoner to be flogged, while Robert Cazabonne, another French prisoner, claimed von Braun stood by as prisoners were hanged by chains suspended by cranes.  However, these accounts may have been a case of mistaken identity. Former Buchenwald inmate Adam Cabala claims that von Braun went to the concentration camp to pick slave labourers:

… also the German scientists led by Prof. Wernher von Braun were aware of everything daily. As they went along the corridors, they saw the exhaustion of the inmates, their arduous work and their pain. Not one single time did Prof. Wernher von Braun protest against this cruelty during his frequent stays at Dora. Even the aspect of corpses did not touch him: On a small area near the ambulance shed, inmates were tortured to death by slave labour and the terror of the overseers was piling up daily. But, Prof. Wernher von Braun passed them so close that he was almost touching the corpses.

Wernher von Braun inventor of the Nazi V-2 rocket, a member of the Nazi party, and a member of the SS could be linked to the deaths of thousands of concentration camp prisoners. Two and a half decades later on Wednesday, July 16, 1969, von Braun stood in the firing room at Kennedy Spaceflight Centre and watched another of his rockets, the Saturn V, take the Apollo 11 crew to the Moon.

I think the question if we should use the Nazis’ evil—will science remain a conflicting and controversial one?

sources

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/chasing-moon-wernher-von-braun-and-nazis/

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-space-magazine/a-amp-s-interview-michael-j-neufeld-23236520/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309164527_Nazi_Medical_Research_in_Neuroscience_Medical_Procedures_Victims_and_Perpetrators

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2013/5/3/wernher-von-braun-historys-most-controversial-figure

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun#Experiments_with_rocket_aircraft

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/holocaust/experiside.html

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(04)17619-8/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822534/

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/nazi-medical-experiments

10,000 Sterilizations Per Day

Sometimes people are evil because they are ignorant. Other times people are evil because they can be, and the regime they follow has given them a carte blanche to do whatever they want. Dr. Clauberg probably qualifies for both groups.

Dr. Clauberg was a German gynecologist who conducted medical experiments on human subjects (mainly Jewish) at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He worked with Horst Schumann in X-ray sterilization experiments at Auschwitz.

In 1945, near the close of World War II, he was captured by the Red Army and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Released in 1955 under a prisoner exchange agreement, he returned to Germany and continued to practice medicine.

Dr. Clauberg developed a method of non-surgical mass sterilization. Under the pretext of performing a gynecological examination, he first checked to make sure that the Fallopian tubes were open and then introduced a specially prepared chemical irritant, which caused acute inflammation. This led to the growing together of the tubes within a few weeks, and thus their obstruction. X-rays were used to check the results of each procedure. He was very proud of his achievements and boasted about them in a letter to Himmler.

June 7, 1943 letter from Professor Clauberg to Himmler, on his research concerning sterilization of women (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol 1, p. 730):

Dear Reich Leader,

Today, I am fulfilling my obligation to report to you from time to time about the state of my research work…

The method I contrived to achieve the sterilization of the female organism without operation is as good as perfected. It can be performed by a single injection made through the entrance of the uterus in the course of the customary gynecological examination known to every physician. If I say that the method is “as good as perfected” this means:

  1. Still to be worked out are only minor improvements to the method.
  2. Already today, it could be put to practical use in the course of our regular eugenic sterilization and could thus replace the operation.

As to the question which you, Reich Leader, asked me almost one year ago, i.e., how much time would probably be required to sterilize 1,000 women by using this method? Today I can answer you with regard to the future as follows:

If my researches continue to have the same results as up to now – and there is no reason to doubt that— then the moment is not far off when I can say:

“One adequately trained physician in one adequately equipped place, with perhaps ten assistants (the number of assistants in conformity with the speed desired) will most likely be able to deal with several hundred, if not even 1,000 per day.”

He returned to West Germany, where he was reinstated at his former clinic based on his prewar scientific output. Bizarre behavior, including openly boasting of his achievements in “developing a new sterilization technique“ at Auschwitz Concentration Camp“ destroyed any chance he might have had of staying unnoticed. In 1955, after the public outcry from groups of survivors, Clauberg was arrested. He died before trial on August 9, 1957 in Kiel, Germany.

sources

https://digital.kenyon.edu/bulmash/258/

https://www.auschwitz.org/en/history/medical-experiments/carl-clauberg/

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/carl-clauberg

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The Experiments of Unit 731

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We have all heard about the experiments conducted by the Nazis during World War II, but relatively little is known about the experiments by the Japanese Imperial Army. More specifically Unit 731.

The unit, also known as, “Detachment 731” and the “Kamo Detachment.” was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that engaged in lethal human experimentation and biological weapons manufacturing during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and World War II.

The unit began as a research unit, investigating the effects of disease and injury on the fighting ability of an armed force. One element of the unit, called “Maruta,” took this research a little further than the usual bounds of medical ethics by observing injuries and the course of disease in living patients.

I will only go into a few of their experiments.

Frostbite Testing: The picture above is of the frostbitten hands of a Chinese person who was taken outside in winter by Unit 731 personnel for an experiment on how best to treat frostbite.

Vivisection: Thousands of men, women, children, and infants interned at prisoner-of-war camps were subjected to vivisection, often performed without anesthesia and usually lethal. In an interview, former Unit 731 member Okawa Fukumatsu admitted to having vivisected a pregnant woman. Vivisections were performed on prisoners after infecting them with various diseases. Researchers performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body.

Venereal Disease: To learn what they needed to know, doctors assigned to Unit 731 infected prisoners with the disease and withheld treatment to observe the uninterrupted course of the illness. A contemporary treatment, a primitive chemotherapy agent called Salvarsan, was sometimes administered over a period of months to observe the side effects.

To ensure effective transmission of the disease, syphilitic male prisoners were ordered to rape both female and male fellow prisoners, who would then be monitored to observe the onset of the disease. If the first exposure failed to establish infection, more rapes would be arranged until it did.

In other tests, subjects were deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death; placed into low-pressure chambers until their eyes popped from the sockets; experimented upon to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival; hung upside down until death; crushed with heavy objects; electrocuted; dehydrated with hot fans; placed into centrifuges and spun until death; injected with animal blood, notably with horse blood; exposed to lethal doses of X-rays; subjected to various chemical weapons inside gas chambers; injected with seawater; and burned or buried alive. In addition to chemical agents, the properties of many different toxins were also investigated by the Unit. To name a few, prisoners were exposed to tetrodotoxin (pufferfish or fugu venom), heroin, Korean bindweed, bacterial, and castor-oil seeds (ricin). Massive amounts of blood were drained from some prisoners for the study of the effects of blood loss according to former Unit 731 vivisectionist Okawa Fukumatsu. In one case, at least half a liter of blood was drawn at two-to-three-day intervals.

As stated above, dehydration experiments were performed on the victims. The purpose of these tests was to determine the amount of water in an individual’s body and to see how long one could survive with a very low to no water intake. It is known that victims were also starved before these tests began. The deteriorating physical states of these victims were documented by staff at periodic intervals.

One member of Unit 731 later recalled that very sick and unresisting prisoners would be laid out on the slab so a line could be inserted into their carotid artery. When most of the blood had been siphoned off and the heart was too weak to pump anymore, an officer in leather boots climbed onto the table and jumped on the victim’s chest with enough force to crush the ribcage, whereupon another dollop of blood would spurt into the container.

Unit 731 researchers conduct bacteriological experiments with captive child subjects in Nongan County of northeast China’s Jilin Province. November 1940.

Members of Unit 731 were not immune from being subjects of experiments. Yoshio Tamura, an assistant in the Special Team, recalled that Yoshio Sudō, an employee of the first division at Unit 731, became infected with bubonic plague as a result of the production of plague bacteria. The Special Team was then ordered to vivisect Sudō. Tamura recalled:

“Sudō had, a few days previously, been interested in talking about women, but now he was thin as a rake, with many purple spots over his body. A large area of scratches on his chest was bleeding. He painfully cried and breathed with difficulty. I sanitized his whole body with disinfectant. Whenever he moved, a rope around his neck tightened. After Sudō’s body was carefully checked [by the surgeon], I handed a scalpel to [the surgeon] who, reversely gripping the scalpel, touched Sudō’s stomach skin and sliced downward. Sudō shouted “brute!” and died with this last word.”

— Criminal History of Unit 731 of the Japanese Military, pp. 118–119 (1991)

In April 2018, the National Archives of Japan disclosed a nearly complete list of 3,607 members of Unit 731 to Katsuo Nishiyama, a professor at Shiga University of Medical Science. Nishiyama reportedly intended to publish the list online to encourage further study into the unit.

Only 12 of them were ever brought to justice, and the longest jail term served was seven years.

sources

https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/unit-731

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/17/japan-unit-731-imperial-army-second-world-war

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2141877/japans-unit-731-conducted-sickening-tests-chinese-perpetrators

https://www.pacificatrocities.org/human-experimentation.html

https://allthatsinteresting.com/unit-731

And the evil lived on.

“First do no harm” is a term often associated with the Hippocratic Oath. Although the association is technically incorrect, the Hippocratic Oath is nonetheless an oath that Doctors adhere to.

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear, by a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards. The oath is the earliest expression of medical ethics in the Western world, establishing several principles of medical ethics which remain of paramount significance today. These include the principles of medical confidentiality and non-maleficence. As the seminal articulation of certain principles that continue to guide and inform medical practice, the ancient text is of more than historic and symbolic value. Swearing a modified form of the oath remains a rite of passage for medical graduates in many countries, and is a requirement enshrined in legal statutes of various jurisdictions, such that violations of the oath may carry criminal or other liability beyond the oath’s symbolic nature. The oath is attributed to the Greek doctor Hippocrates and.

The actual reference to no harm in the oath is really much stronger then ‘first do no harm’ It says the following

“I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even, verily, on sufferers from stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein.

Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, and I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm, especially from abusing the bodies of man or woman, bond or free. And whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession, as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men, if it be what should not be published abroad, I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets.”

Although during the Nazi regime the physicians did not sign up to the oath, on a human level it makes only sense that you try to make a patient better rather then harm them. But several Nazi physicians, although they were ‘human beings’ they only acted inhumanely.

A few months ago I asked the question “Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?” I think that is a difficult question to answer. Initially I would say no, but what if some of that data was used to save the live of someone in my family. Or what if it was used to find a cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis , something I suffer from? Then the answer would probably be yes.

One thing that I don’t understand that the names of some of these evil men were still used as eponyms to describe some syndromes or disorders, long after the war and some are still being used, despite the fact that they were renamed. Below are just some examples where evil was allowed to live on.

Asperger syndrome- Replacement Term: Autism spectrum disorder.

Hans Asperger “managed to accommodate himself to the Nazi regime and was rewarded for his affirmations of loyalty with career opportunities. He joined several organizations affiliated with the NSDAP (although not the Nazi party itself), publicly legitimized race hygiene policies including forced sterilizations and, on several occasions, actively cooperated with the child ‘euthanasia’ program.

Beck–Ibrahim disease-Replacement Term: Congenital cutaneous candidiasis

Yusuf Ibrahim (May 27, 1877 in Cairo, Egypt – February 3, 1953 in Jena, Germany), also known as Yusuf Bey Murad Ibrahim, was a physician and pediatrician. He was responsible for the description of congenital cutaneous candidiasis, originally known as Beck-Ibrahim disease. The discovery of his association with the Nazi euthanasia program during the World War II resulted in an effort to rename this disease. The clinic for child and adolescent medicine at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena also chose to change its name from Kinderklinik Jussuf Ibrahim after his Nazi past was uncovered.

Cauchois–Eppinger–Frugoni syndrome-Replacement Term: Portal vein thrombosis

Hans Eppinger was born in Prague, the son of the physician Hans Eppinger. His grandmother was Jewish.Eppinger conducted cruel experiments on Romani prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp in order to test the potability of seawater. Eppinger committed suicide with poison on 25 September 1946, one month before he was scheduled to testify in Nuremberg.

Clara cell-Replacement Term: Club Cell

Max Clara owed his career advancement in no small way to his membership in the Nazi party and active support of its programme. In his 1937 paper, Clara acknowledges that the sample he based his work on “was obtained from a prisoner executed by the Nazi ‘justice system

Hallervorden–Spatz disease-Replacement Term: Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration.

Julius Hallervorden readily admitted that 697 brains he investigated during the Nazi period were from victims of euthanasia. It is alleged that he was present at the killing of more than 60 children and adolescents in the Brandenburg Psychiatric Institution on 28 October 1940. He was reported to have removed brain material himself from euthanasia victims in a nearby extermination (euthanasia) center.

Hugo Spatz was a German neuropathologist. In 1937, he was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research. He was a member of the Nazi Party, and admitted to knowingly performing much of his controversial research on the brains of executed prisoners. Along with Julius Hallervorden.

Reiter’s syndrome-Replacement Term: Reactive Arthritis

Hans Conrad Julius Reiter was a member of the SS. He participated in medical experiments performed by the Nazis. After the Nazis were defeated, he was arrested by the Red Army in Soviet Union-occupied Germany and tried at Nuremberg. During his detention, he admitted to knowledge of involuntary sterilization, euthanasia, and the murder of mental hospital patients in his function as the gatherer of statistics and acting as “quality control” officer, and to helping design and implement an explicitly criminal undertaking at Buchenwald concentration camp, in which internees were inoculated with an experimental typhus vaccine, resulting in over 200 deaths. He gained an early release from his internment, possibly because he assisted the Allies with his knowledge of germ warfare.

After his release, Reiter went back to work in the field of medicine and research in rheumatology. He died at age 88, in 1969, at his country estate in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe.

Seitelberger disease-Replacement Term: Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy

“Franz Seitelberger, a Vienna neurologist and former member of the SS, although never involved in the planning or execution of NS-euthanasia, benefited from it scientifically during the post-war period. Examining the brains of 3 ‘euthanasia’ victims from the Landesanstalt Görden in Brandenburg, Seitelberger earned his PhD in 1954 under the supervision of Julius Hallervorden.

Spatz–Stiefler reaction-Replacement Term: Paralysis agitans reaction

Under Spatz’s control and direction, the brain research institute collaborated with the killing institute at Brandenburg-Gorden, obtaining hundreds of brains from the mentally ill of all ages.

Van Bogaert–Scherer–Epstein syndrome-Replacement Term: Cerebrotendineous xanthomatosis

“During the war, Scherer worked at the Neurology Institute in Breslau, Silesia. Here Scherer was directly involved in neuropathological brain analyses of over 300 Polish and German children euthanized in the nearby Loben Psychiatric Clinic for Youth.

Wegener’s granulomatosis-Replacement Term: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis

The facts which were uncovered do not prove Dr Friedrich Wegener guilty of war crimes. However, the evidence suggests that Dr Wegener was, at least at some point of his career, a follower of the Nazi regime. Dr Wegener’s mentor, Martin Staemmler, was an ardent supporter of the racial hygiene. In addition, our data indicate that Dr Wegener was wanted by Polish authorities and that his files were forwarded to the United Nations War Crimes Commission. Finally, Dr Wegener worked in close proximity to the genocide machinery in Lodz.

Although many of the terms were replaced, some of the original terms are still commonly used. The most common is probably the Aspergers syndrome.

I know there is quite a lot of data in this blog. I do believe it is important to understand that by using these eponyms, we are still keeping the evil alive.

sources

https://www.ima.org.il/MedicineIMAJ/viewarticle.aspx?aid=1082

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1962844/

https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/36/4/706.full

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Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi medical experiments?

The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ is one of the most difficult ethical questions to answer. At least for me it is, I am a man who bases a lot of his decisions on his gut feeling. In this case my gut feeling says no.

However if I keep my opinion of this devoid of all emotion, it throws up another question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments, to safe someone in your family?’. In that case I more then likely would come to a different answer.

I am not going to tell anyone what their answer should be. I will just highlight some of the experiments and how they were conducted. But I’ll start with one experiment and its conclusion.

At the start of August 1942, at Dachau concentration camp, prisoners were forced to sit in tanks of freezing water for up to three hours. After subjects were frozen, they then underwent different methods for rewarming. Many subjects died in this process. The data of this experiment did reveal that body-temperature recovery was fastest with immersion in warm water, but that rewarming and presumably survival were achieved with the other methods, too.

The horizontal axis shows minutes, and the vertical axis temperature (°C). The German title can be translated as “Effect of combined rewarming treatment: warm bath, massage and light box.” The water temperature was 8°C. The arrows and numbers (1 to 6) were superimposed by the present author. Translations of the corresponding notations from the German are: 1, in water; 2, period out of bath (no German notation); 3, warm bath; 4, massage; 5, light box; and 6, response to speech (regaining of consciousness).

Sterilization Experiments: Himmler’s interest in Dr Clauberg’s Cell Block 10 was sterilization. He convinced Clauberg to begin experiments on reversing his infertility treatments and to discover ways to block the fallopian tubes. Clauberg redirected all of his energies toward the single goal of effective mass sterilization. Thousands of inmates had their genitals mutilated in order to discover cheap methods of sterilization. The Nazis hoped that these methods could ultimately be applied to millions of “unwanted” prisoners. Women at Auschwitz were sterilized by injections of caustic substances into their cervix or uterus, producing horrible pain, inflamed ovaries, bursting spasms in the stomach, and bleeding. Young men had their testicles subjected to large doses of radiation and were subsequently castrated to ascertain the pathological change in their testes.

Mustard gas experiments: Between September 1939 and April 1945, many experiments were conducted at Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler, and other camps to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by mustard gas. Test subjects were deliberately exposed to mustard gas and other vesicants (e.g. Lewisite) which inflicted severe chemical burns. The victims’ wounds were then tested to find the most effective treatment for the mustard gas burn.

Poison Experiments: A research team at Buchenwald developed a method of individual execution through the intravenous injections of phenol gasoline and cyanide on Russian prisoners. The experiments were designed to see how fast the subjects would die.

Tuberculosis Experiments: The Nazis conducted experiments to determine whether there were any natural immunities to Tuberculosis (“TB”) and to develop a vaccination serum against TB. Doctor Heissmeyer sought to disprove the popular belief that TB was an infectious disease. Doctor Heissmeyer claimed that only an “exhaustive” organism was receptive to such infection, most of all the racially “inferior organism of the Jews.” Heissmeyer injected live tubercle bacilli into the subjects’ lungs to immunize against TB. He also removed the lymph glands from the arms of twenty Jewish children. About 200 adult subjects perished, and twenty children were hanged at the Bullenhauser Dam in Heissmeyer’s effort to hide the experiments from the approaching Allied Army.

Malaria experiments: Between February 1942 to about April 1945, experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp in order to investigate immunization for treatment of malaria. Healthy inmates were infected by mosquitoes or by injections of extracts of the mucous glands of female mosquitoes. After contracting the disease, the subjects were treated with various drugs to test their relative efficacy. Over 1,200 people were used in these experiments and more than half died as a result .Other test subjects were left with permanent disabilities.

Malaria card of Father Bruno Stachowski from Claus Schilling’s research at Dachau. Approximately 1000 cards were kept back from destruction by the prisoner assistant Eugène Ost.

Epidemic Jaundice experiments: From about June 1943 to about January 1945 experiments were conducted at the Sachsenhausen and Natzweiler concentration camps, for the benefit of the German Armed Forces, to investigate the causes of, and inoculations against, epidemic jaundice. Experimental subjects were deliberately infected with epidemic jaundice, some of whom died as a result, and others were caused great pain and suffering.

Every prisoner of the regime was deemded to be a potential subject for inhuman research. Helpless victims, the inmates of psychiatric hospitals and concentration camps, were available for exploitation while alive. Leading scientists and professors took an active part in this ruthless abuse. Every university anatomical institute in Germany — and probably Austria — was the recipient of the cadavers of victims of Nazi terror, in particular, political victims executed by the Gestapo.

After the war, West Germany allowed Doctor Baron Otmar Von Verschuer to continue his professional career. Doctor Von Verschuer was the mentor, inspiration and sponsor of Mengele. After he executed his victims. Mengele would personally remove the victims’ eyes, while there were still warm, and ship them to Von Verschuer to analyze. n 1951, Verschuer was awarded the prestigious professorship of human genetics at the University of Münster, where he established one of the largest centers of genetics research in West Germany.

The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ will remain a controversial one.

sources

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199005173222006

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822534/

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/nazi-medical-experiments

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/epidemic-jaundice-experiments

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/medicine-and-murder-in-the-third-reich#3

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-ethics-of-using-medical-data-from-nazi-experiments#2

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Holocaust Testimonies

There are millions of Holocaust stories I could write, but none will be as powerful as the testimonies of those who survived the darkest era.

Following are some of those testimonies.

Written by Zdeněk and Jiří Steiner, born 20. 5. 1929 in Prague, residents of Prague, former prisoners in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, residing in Prague XI., Vratislavova 13, Czech nationality.

“We left Prague bound for Theresienstadt on 22. 12. 1942 together with our parents and a great number of relatives. We spent 8½ months Theresienstadt, where things had been so-so for us. We left Theresienstadt on September 6th, 1943, and, after a miserable two-day journey, we finally arrived at the Neu-Berun train station. From there, they took us to the concentration camp in Birkenau. We were told that it was only a quarantine. After the usual procedures, such as a bath and a getting a tattoo (we were given the numbers 147742 and 147743), we were clothed in old rags (children in adult clothing) and housed in camp B II b, where we spent 6 whole months. We experienced so much in this place. Through the efforts of Fredy Hirsch, a children’s home was established. We children were better off than the adults because we didn’t have to work, our food was a little bit better, and, later, our clothes were better as well. Such was our life in the Birkenau children’s camp under extremely harsh conditions. A doctor arrived in December (each camp had a building for the sick and a single German doctor, who generally didn’t know how to do much else besides sending as many people as possible to their graves, served several of these buildings). With a wave of his fingers, Dr. Mengele decided who lived and who died, just like Nero did in ancient times. This renowned doctor was very interested in us twins, which was actually what saved us despite the fact that we came down with so many illnesses. Once, Dr. Mengele took a closer look at us, but then he contracted spotted typhus. In addition to him, we were tortured by the SS man Buntrock, who had a preference for beating children.

Another SS man, probably a Russian spy, who helped one of our people escape, was shot by other SS officers after he returned.

In the meantime, the fateful month of March began. This month took away our parents and all of our closest friends — the only thing that we still had in our lives. At the start of the month, it was rumored that the entire transport that had arrived in September 1943 would be taken to the labor camp in Heidebreck. And that’s exactly what happened. On March 5th, postcards on which we were supposed to write to our relatives that we were healthy and doing fine were handed out. These cards were sent dated March 25th-27th. We weren’t allowed to write about our departure. On the morning of March 6th, as usual: Blockälteste antreten — an order for the entire transport to go to the lower section of the camp immediately. From there they took us to camp B II a. There were so many rumors going about, for example that it wasn’t a labor transport, but a chimney. We didn’t believe it because we thought it was impossible. We waited all day, and in the evening we were told that the transport couldn’t depart because 100 persons were to be reclaimed. This news greatly disturbed us. A terrible sleepless night wreaked havoc with our nerves. The people, who were now extremely distraught, didn’t pay attention to anything; everyone just wished for this uncertainty to end. Midday, on March 7th, a call: Ordnung am Block, Raportführer Buntrok geht. And he really came, read the names of several doctors, and then we heard our names. We became very frightened, because father’s name wasn’t read, and mother wasn’t present on the block. Buntrok assured father that we would see one another in the evening, and we were taken to the Krankenbau of camp B II b. There, we found out what it was really all about. There were 32 of us in total, twins and doctors combined. Mengele reclaimed us twins because he was interested in us, as we’ve already mentioned. He came to see us the next day. When we told him that our parents had left on the transport, he said: Schade. In the meantime, we found out that the cars had driven off during the night ¨

“In the direction of the crematorium. The camp was empty; flames shot up from the crematorium. We will never forget this scene. But we didn’t believe that our parents were dead. However, we soon found out the truth from a doctor who was a member of the Sonderkommando, who was forced to do this work. Mengele arrived the following day, and took us by car to the Roma camp, which was where his station was. There, he precisely measured and weighed us, measured the length and width of our fingers and nails, the length and width of our noses, and anything else that could be measured and weighed. He also took down the color of our hair and skin. He carefully inspected us. He took fingerprints of our hands and feet. He worked alone; he never entrusted anyone else with the tasks he was performing. Then they brought us to the Krankenbau and life went on. We received 2 liters of soup per day, otherwise the food was the same as before. We were also photographed and x-rayed. Jewish doctors, who guaranteed the correctness of the examinations with their lives, had to examine our nerves, eyes, teeth, and ears.
The first labor transport from camp B II b left on 1. 7. In the meantime, another transport from Theresienstadt with 7½ thousand people arrived in May. This brought the number of people in the camp to 12,500, 3,000 of whom left to work. The rest were incinerated within 2 nights. We were taken to B II f. In this new camp, they drew our blood, which made our weakened bodies feel even worse. There is one horrible experience that we will never forget: one of our torturers, the camp doctor Thilo, was making a selection, i.e. choosing the people who would be sent to the crematorium, and he took our names down. What we felt when he did this cannot be described. Fortunately, Mengele heard this and saved us because he still needed us.

The front was approaching and the mood in the camp lifted. During this time, I became a Pipel in the Krankenbau, i.e. a runner, and so I was slightly better off. But then came winter and a new year, which was happier because we could hear the thunder of cannons. A rumor went around that the camp was going to be liquidated, but nothing happened. Finally, on January 16th, they led the first transport on foot out of Birkenau. The following days were extremely vexing, because one transport after another departed. Everyone left voluntarily and we children were the last to leave, partly because we didn’t want to go. People had to walk 60 km in the cold and frost, poorly clothed and hungry. We expected to be told that trains would come pick us up. We finally got what we wanted on January 20th, the day the last SSman left the camp. This was a wonderful time for us. We went wherever we wanted, ate whatever we wanted, did whatever we felt like doing. We roamed around the SS camp. In short, we were having a great time. We went without supervision for 5 days. Then, a group of SDmen arrived. They wanted to do us in, but didn’t get the chance. They, too, fled, and so we stayed until January 27th, when the victorious Red Army took over.

On March 27th, the Czech Svoboda’s Army took charge of us and brought us to Prague. Out of our family of 18, only 3 of us survived.”

Letter from Gerta Sachsová addressed to family friends. Gerta was deported with her husband from Prague to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in July 1943, from where she was sent to Auschwitz in autumn 1944. Her parents and husband were murdered . Gerta describes their fate and her difficult postwar adaptation..

“My Dears,

We are overjoyed that we are finally in written touch with you and that we can write to you in our mother tongue. We have so much to tell you that there isn’t enough paper in the world that could contain it all. Unfortunately, it’s mostly all bad news. So little of it is good. As you have perhaps already learned from Maruška, out of our whole family only Hanka and I returned, but we are happy that at least the two of us were reunited. I must tell you all about our departure from Prague. As you know, Kurt and I were transported to Theresienstadt in July 1943 to be with our parents and Hanka. We were together there for 1 ¼ years. We were doing rather well, all told. Kurt and my parents worked in the office, Hanka in the bakery, and I mostly did nothing because I was sick. Then, in the fall of 1944, we were gradually transported — father left separately, mother with Hanka, and I with Kurt. All of the transports went to Auschwitz. You cannot imagine what we suffered through. I don’t want to describe our experiences and so it’s perhaps a little cruel of me to write and tell you so directly that our dear mother died there. Father, who successfully made it past the selection process, was shot on the Czech border on May 3rd, 1945, just 5 days before the end of the war, during the evacuation of the labor camp where he was sent. Kurt was separated from me in Theresienstadt near the train and it was only when I returned to Prague that I learned that he was held for about 3 weeks in the Small Fortress and was supposedly shot there. We are positive regarding father since he was with Hanka’s young man, who returned. Jirka also returned and we’re living together with him now. I ran into Hanka by happy chance in Prague. She had come back one month earlier than I and she no longer believed that I would return. I’m sure you can imagine what our life is like now. Our financial situation is miserable; we don’t have enough clothes to wear.

I’ll likely find an office job. Hanka is graduating in September and then she’ll probably make her living as an illustrator. In short, this is all that we wanted to tell you about what we went through. We don’t know what the future holds. We are in touch with Maruška. Her little Jana is so adorable. We have visited them several times. Please write us soon and let us know if you are coming. We would love to see you, we have so much to tell. You can’t imagine how we are faring. But at least we are happy that you will come and see us.

sources

https://candlesholocaustmuseum.org/learn/mengele-twin-stories.html?page=3

https://early-testimony.ehri-project.eu/

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Josef Mengele-Angel of Death

Josef Mengele was born in Günzburg on 16 March 1911, the oldest of three sons of Walburga (née Hupfauer) and Karl Mengele. His two younger brothers were Karl Jr. and Alois.

There is an eerie coincidence here, Alois was also the name of the Father of the man he came to admire and serve, Adolf Hitler.

I will not go too deep into the crimes of Josef Mengele as such, because so much has already been written about him, even I have done several pieces in the past. His Father Karl Mengele, a prosperous manufacturer of farming implements. In 1935 Josef got a PhD in physical anthropology at the University of Munich. He also held a doctoral degree in genetic medicine.

A privileged and educated man and yet he could not see how inhumane he was. Or maybe he didn’t want to see. With a slight flick of the finger he would decide who would live or die. Even those who initially were selected to live were subjected to medical experiments or slave labour, eventually often resulting in death.

The most disturbing fact about Mengele is that he died a free man. I have no doubt that he was helped escape Germany after the war and not necessarily only by fellow Nazis. It would not surprise me if he actual had surrendered to the allies, he would have been part of Operation Paperclip, the operation which ensured that many of the Nazi scientists got jobs in the USA and other countries, and not just mediocre positions but highly paid jobs within the scientific fraternity.

But the fact that many of his crimes were well documented and used as evidence during the International Military Tribunal, probably meant that the allies could not be seen endorsing this Angel of Death. Having that said if they would have been serious in capturing him, it would have been very easy to do so because he wasn’t really that hard to find.

The twisted evil mind of Mengele.

Capture

People sometimes think that Mengele was the only ‘Doctor’ in Auschwitz, but in fact there were more then a 30 physicians working there.

Mengele however was the most notorious one, he also seemed to be the most enthusiastic sicentist, He had a particularly evil mind. I am not going to talk about the experiments because I have written about those before as have others.

I am more interested in that evil twisted mind, a mind that could show ‘kindness’ and extreme evil at the same time.

One survivor once said of Mengele.

“He was capable of being so kind to the children, to have them become fond of him, to bring them sugar, to think of small details in their daily lives, and to do things we would genuinely admire.And then, next to that, the crematoria smoke, and these children, tomorrow or in a half-hour, he is going to send them there.”

In the documentary The Last Laugh ,Renee Firestone recalled an encounter she had with Mengele where he examined her and her sister Klara. Mengele had seen Renee had some issues with her tonsils and told her that get that seen to whenever she got the chance, at the same time he send her sister Klara to the gas chambers.

Even when he showed up at the selections when the transports arrived some survivors recalled “the impression of a gentle and cultured man who had cheerful expression on his face, almost like he had fun, he was very playful.”

On the other hand he got turn extremely evil within seconds, especially when his ‘rules’ were broken . One time a mother refused to be separated from her teenage daughter and scratched the face of an SS guard who was tasked to  enforce Mengele’s decision. Mengele drew his gun and shot both the woman and her daughter. Still fuming with anger, he ordered that all the people from that transport whom he had previously selected as workers  were to be be send to the gas chamber, to be murdered.

On question I often ask myself is if the Nazis had never come to power, what kind of physician would Mengele have been? I believe that the evil he displayed in the camps he worked was already in him, the Nazis only gave him the opportunity to carry out his evil acts and experiments ‘legally’.

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Sources

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0039625720300734

https://candlesholocaustmuseum.org/file_download/inline/25d72a3f-bb51-4c0c-9c72-ac1ed390e57e

https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/553409

 

Killed to obtain a professorship

Hornebach

Alexander Hornemann, 8, the Netherlands
Eduard Hornemann, 12, the Netherlands
Marek Steinbaum, 10, Poland
Marek James, 6, Poland
W. Junglieb, 12, Yugoslavia
Roman Witonski, 7, Poland
Roman Zeller, 12, Poland
Sergio de Simone, 7, Italy
Georges Andre Kohn, 12, France
Eduard Reichenbaum, 10, Poland
Jacqueline Morgenstern, 12, France
Surcis Goldinger, 11, Poland
Lelka Birnbaum, 12, Poland
Eleonora Witonska, 5, Poland
Ruchla Zylberberg, 10, Poland
H.Wasserman, 8, Poland
Lea Klygerman, 8, Poland
Rywka Herszberg, 7, Poland
Blumel Mekler, 11, Poland
Mania Altman, 5, Poland

Above is the list of 20 children, 10 boys and 10 girls ,aged between 5 and 12 ,who were killed on the night of 20/21 April 1945.They were the children of the Bullenhuser Damm School . They were killed along their minders French doctors, Gabriel Florence and René Quenouille, and two Dutchmen Dirk Deutekom and Anton Hölzel.

The children had been killed for Kurt Heissmeyer to obtain a professorship In order to do this , he had to carry out medical experiments.He injected the children with living tuberculosis bacteria in their veins and directly into their lungs to determine if they had any natural immunity to tuberculosis.

His experiment was carried out on the children  at Neuengamme concentration camp. Because of the approaching allied troops the children and their minders were transported to Bullenhuser Damm School, where they were killed. I have written about these children before but looking back at it today I realized how close to it was to me in a personal way.

The picture at the top of the blog is of the 2 brothers Eduard and Alexander Hornemann.  Their parents both  worked at the Philips factory in Eindhoven,the Netherlands. Their Father ,Philip, died on February 21, 1945 at Sachsenhausen, where he arrived after a stop at Dachau after the ‘death march’. Their mother Elisabeth died of typhus in Auschwitz in October 1944.

I worked for Philips between 1987 and 1997, not in Endhoven but I often had to go there for several training programs as it was the HQ of Philips in the Netherlands. A few decades earlier they would have been my colleagues.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Sources

http://www.kinder-vom-bullenhuser-damm.de/_english/the_story.php

https://collections.arolsen-archives.org/en/archive/1-1-30-1_2430000/?p=1&doc_id=3423031&tf_subject_index=20332817&pf_family_status=19532506

Table of Death

Sigfied

A name you don’t hear mentioned very often in the context of WWII and the Holocaust is Siegfried Adolf Handloser. He was Chief of the Medical Services of the German Armed Forces during World War II. And held therefore the  most important medical position in the entire German Armed Forces and the Waffen-SS. He could have stopped, or at least done something about the medical experiments conducted on concentration camp prisoners, but he didn’t. He had been sentenced to life but the sentence was later reduced to 20 years, he died of cancer in Munich in 1954.

When you give unethical scientists a Cart Blanche to do whatever they want to do, combined with an ideological political philosophy which consider some people to be subhuman,it creates true horror for the victims.

cold water

Dr Sigmund Rascher(seen in the picture above on the right) was an SS doctor. He conducted  sveral deadly experiments,freezing experiments was one set of them.One way to see how the Nazis could prevent hypothermia for the troops was by conducting cold water immersion experiments.

During the experiments, the victims  were immersed in a tank of ice water. Some were anesthetized, others conscious, many were naked, where others would be  dressed. A number of different methods of rewarming the victims were also tested. Responses of body temperatures, clinical manifestations, and selected biochemical and physiologic measurements were reportedly monitored, and autopsies were carried out. The experiments were carried out  in Dachau.

The data was recorder in a scientific table by Dr Sigmund Rascher. The disturbing aspect of this, it was done without any emotion just business as usual, even though many of the victims died. There was no regard for human life whatsoever.

data

Rascher had tried to deceit Himmler by claiming that that population growth could be sped up by extending the childbearing age of women. Rascher even had made it public  that his wife Karoline had given birth to three children even after reaching 48 years of age.However Mrs Rascher was arrested during her 4th ‘pregnancy’, when she tried to abduct a child. It was then discovered that the previous three ‘pregnancies’ were euther purchases or kidnapped babies.

Sigmund Rascher was arrested  in April 1944 and executed a year later on April 26,1945.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Sources

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199005173222006

 

https://world-war-history.fandom.com/wiki/Nazi_Germany%27s_human_experimentation