Execution was not enough

Plotzensee

Many opponents of the Nazi regime found their untimely death in Plotzensee prison. Those executed were German resistance fighter, but also Polish and French forced laborers, and many others.

A great number were executed by guillotine but on September 3 the guillotine was damaged beyond repair after an RAF raid. From then one the methods of executions were hanging or firing squad.

After execution, the bodies were released to Hermann Stieve, an anatomist at the medical college of what is now Humboldt University of Berlin. He and his  assistants dissected the bodies  for research purposes.

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Stieve had a particular  interest in the effects of stress on the menstrual cycle, and produced  230 papers based on this research, among them one that demonstrated that the rhythm method was not an effective method of preventing conception.

He received prison records which contained  information on how the women had reacted to their death sentences, and also how well they had adjusted to prison life, and the timing of their menstrual cycles.

One of his research subjects was Liane Berkowitz,a German resistance fighter of the Red Orchestra organisation.

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Liane was arrested and sent to  the women’s prison on Barnimstraße, while she was pregnant.Her  daughter Irina was born on 12 April 1943 in prison. The grandmother took care of the child from July 1943.

Liane was executed on 5 August 1943,only 2 days away from her 19th birthday. Her remains were sent to Hermann Stieve.

Liane’s  daughter Irina died on 16 October 1943 in hospital in Eberswalde under suspicious circumstances.

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Mengele’s arrival in Auschwitz

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On May 23rd 1943 Dr Joseph Mengele started his ‘work’ at Auschwitz. I am not going to say too much about this evil personified individual.

He particularly found pleasure in working in Auschwitz

The Doctors in Auschwitz were all scheduled according a work rota for the selections when new victims arrived by train, but Mengele was the only one to volunteer for the selections and would sometimes ask if he could take over a slot in the rota.

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He came from a very privileged background and had a Phd  in Anthropology as well as a Doctorate in Medicines.He made weekly visits to the hospital barracks and sent to the gas chambers any prisoners who had not recovered after two weeks in bed.

Auschwitz gave him the opportunity to conduct experiments in order to continue his anthropology studies. The Nazi regime allowed him to experiment in the vilest of way without impunity.

He was especially interested in twins.They had to undergo weekly examinations and measurements of their physical attributes by Mengele himself or one of his  assistants.  Experiments performed on twins included unnecessary amputation of limbs, intentionally infecting one twin with typhus or other diseases, and transfusing the blood of one twin into the other.

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He was  transferred to Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Lower Silesia  January 17, 1945, bringing along  2 boxes of examples and records of his experiments.

He managed to escape Gross-Rosen on 18 February, a week before the Soviets arrived, disguised as a Wehrmacht soldier .

He  managed capture by  the  Allies until June 1945 , when he was picked up by an American patrol. He was traveling under his own name at the time, but the wanted criminal list hadn’t been efficiently distributed and also he did not have the SS blood group tattoo.so  the Americans let him go. Mengele spent some time working as a farmhand before deciding to skip out of the country in 1949.

On 17 April 1949. withe the aide of  a network of former SS members, Mengele traveled to Genoa, where he managed to get  a passport under the alias “Helmut Gregor” from the International Committee of the Red Cross. He sailed to Argentina in July.

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Despite many attempts to catch him he was able to elude justice. I have always been skeptical about this, I think that the allied never really wanted to catch him because if they did, it would have been easy enough to do so.He was more or less hiding in plain sight in Argentina.

He eventually drowned in 1979 while swimming in the Atlantic ocean, after suffering a stroke.

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Yad Vashem

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mengele’s volatility

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I had really wanted to do a blog on Menegele’s experiments on children and especially on twins, but I can’t. I am physically not able to do it. I started some research but I had to stop, the eyes of the children haunt me.

Something that is even more disturbing, and this is a point I made before, Mengele looked like a ‘normal’ human being, a charming man even. The picture above is off him with family and friends taken sometime in the 1970’s in South America, He doesn’t look like an evil man, he looks like a friendly grandfather.

The fact is Evil often doesn’t have an evil face which makes it more disturbing.

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For all of his methodical work habits, Mengele could be impulsive. During one selection — between work and death — on the arrival platform, a middle-aged woman who had been selected for work refused to be separated from her 14-year-old daughter, who had been assigned death.

A guard who tried to pry them apart got a nasty scratch on the face and had to fall back. Mengele stepped in to resolve the matter by shooting both the girl and her mother, and then he cut short the selection and sent everybody to the gas chamber.

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On another occasion, the Birkenau doctors argued over whether a boy they had all grown fond of had tuberculosis. Mengele left the room and came back an hour or two later, apologizing for the argument and admitting he had been wrong. During his absence, he had shot the boy and dissected him for signs of the disease, which he hadn’t found.

In 1944, Mengele’s zest and enthusiasm for his work earned him a management position at the camp. In this capacity, he was responsible for public health measures at the camp in addition to his own research at Birkenau. Again, his impulsive streak surfaced when he made decisions for the tens of thousands of inmates.

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.When Typhus broke out among the women’s barracks, for example, Mengele solved the problem in his characteristic way: he ordered one block of 600 women gassed and their barracks fumigated, then he moved the next block of women over and fumigated their barracks. This was repeated for each women’s block until the last one was clean and ready for a new shipment of workers. He did it again a few months later during a scarlet fever outbreak.

Mengele was never caught and didn’t stand trial.

In 1959, Mengele allegedly traveled to Paraguay to treat the former Secretary to the Fuhrer, Martin Bormann, who had been sentenced to death in absentia at Nuremberg and who was now dying of stomach cancer.

One day in 1979, the 68-year-old Dr. Josef Mengele went out for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. He suffered a sudden stroke in the water and drowned. After his death, friends and family gradually admitted that they had known all along where he had been hiding, and that they had sheltered him from justice all his life.

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The experiments

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The worst crimes by the Nazi regime were those conducted in the name of science, the human experiments, there were many experiments below are only a few of them.

Experiments on twins

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Experiments on twin children in concentration camps were created to show the similarities and differences in the genetics of twins, as well as to see if the human body can be unnaturally manipulated. Josef_MengeleThe central leader of the experiments was Josef Mengele, who from 1943 to 1944 performed experiments on nearly 1,500 sets of imprisoned twins at Auschwitz.

 

Mengele’s research involved injecting blue dye into children’s eyes and stitching kids together to make sets of conjoined twins. Mystery substances and infectious agents were injected into one twin, then the other twin would be killed within hours of the infected twin’s death so that both could be autopsied at once. In a single year at Auschwitz, Mengele experimented on 3,000 children.

 

 

 

 

Head injury experiments

In mid-1942 in Baranowicze, occupied Poland, experiments were conducted in a small building behind the private home occupied by a known Nazi SD Security Service officer, in which “a young boy of eleven or twelve was strapped to a chair so he could not move. Above him was a mechanized hammer that every few seconds came down upon his head.” The boy was driven insane from the torture.

Sea water experiments

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From about July 1944 to about September 1944, experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp to study various methods of making sea water drinkable.

B11354522T11354527 At one point, a group of roughly 90 Roma were deprived of food and given nothing but sea water to drink by Dr. Hans Eppinger, leaving them gravely injured. They were so dehydrated that others observed them licking freshly mopped floors in an attempt to get drinkable water.

A Holocaust survivor named Joseph Tschofenig wrote a statement on these seawater experiments at Dachau. Tschofenig explained how while working at the medical experimentation stations he gained insight into some of the experiments that were performed on prisoners, namely those where they were forced to drink salt water. Tschofenig also described how victims of the experiments had trouble eating and would desperately seek out any source of water including old floor rags. Tschofenig was responsible for using the X-ray machine in the infirmary and describes how even though he had insight into what was going on he was powerless to stop it. He gives the example of a patient in the infirmary who was sent to the gas chambers by Dr. Sigmund Rascher simply because he witnessed one of the low-pressure experiments.

High altitude experiments

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In early 1942, prisoners at Dachau concentration camp were used by Sigmund Rascher in experiments to aid German pilots who had to eject at high altitudes. A low-pressure chamber containing these prisoners was used to simulate conditions at altitudes of up to 20,000 m (66,000 ft). It was rumored that Rascher performed vivisections on the brains of victims who survived the initial experiment. Of the 200 subjects, 80 died outright, and the others were executed.Rascher

In a letter from April 5, 1942 between Dr. Sigmund Rascher and Heinrich Himmler, Rascher explains the results of a low-pressure experiment that was performed on people at Dachau Concentration camp in which the victims were suffocated while Rascher and another unnamed doctor took note of his reactions. The person was described as 37 years old and in good health before being murdered. Rascher described the victim’s actions as he began to lose oxygen and times the changes in behavior. The 37 year old began to wiggle his head at 4 minutes, a minute later Rascher observed that he was suffering from cramps before falling unconscious. He describes how the victim then laid unconscious breathing only 3 times per minute until he stopped breathing 30 minutes after being deprived of oxygen. The victim then turned blue and began foaming at the mouth. An autopsy followed an hour later.

In a letter from Heinrich Himmler to Dr. Sigmund Rascher on April 13, 1942, Himmler orders Rascher to continue the high altitude experiments and to continue experimenting on prisoners condemned to death and to “determine whether these men could be recalled to life”. If a victim could be successfully resuscitated, Himmler ordered that he be pardoned to “concentration camp for life.

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The Buchenwald experiments

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On this day in 1944, the first of two sets of medical experiments involving castration are performed on homosexuals at the Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany.

Buchenwald was one of the first concentration camps established by the Nazi regime. Constructed in 1937, it was a complement to camps north (Sachsenhausen) and south (Dachau), and was built to hold slave laborers, who worked in local munitions factories 24 hours a day, in 12-hour shifts.

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Although not technically a death camp, in that it had no gas chambers, nevertheless hundreds of prisoners died monthly, from malnutrition, beatings, disease, and executions.

The camp boasted a sophisticated-sounding facility on its grounds called the Division for Typhus and Virus Research of the Hygiene Institute of the Waffen SS. In truth, it was a chamber of horrors where medical experiments of the cruelest kind were carried out on prisoners against their will. Victims were often intentionally infused with various infections to test out vaccines. Euthanasia was also performed regularly on Jews, Gypsies, and mentally ill prisoners.

Among the cruelest of Buchenwald’s overseers was the infamous Ilse Koch, wife of SS commandant Karl Koch and known as the “Witch of Buchenwald.”

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Among her fetishistic tendencies was her penchant for lampshades, gloves, and other items made from the tattooed skin of dead inmates. She also had a reputation for forcing prisoners to participate in orgies. She was ultimately sentenced to life in prison for her sadism, but she hanged herself after 16 years behind bars.

The SS left behind accounts of the number of prisoners and people coming to and leaving the camp, categorizing those leaving them by release, transfer, or death. These accounts are one of the sources of estimates for the number of deaths in Buchenwald. According to SS documents, 33,462 died. These documents were not, however, necessarily accurate: Among those executed before 1944, many were listed as “transferred to the Gestapo”. Furthermore, from 1941, Soviet POWs were executed in mass killings. Arriving prisoners selected for execution were not entered into the camp register and therefore were not among the 33,462 dead listed.

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One former Buchenwald prisoner, Armin Walter, calculated the number of executions by the number of shootings in the back of the head. His job at Buchenwald was to set up and care for a radio installation at the facility where people were executed; he counted the numbers, which arrived by telex, and hid the information. He says that 8,483 Soviet prisoners of war were shot in this manner.

According to the same source, the total number of deaths at Buchenwald is estimated at 56,545. This number is the sum of:

  • Deaths according to material left behind by the SS: 33,462[34]
  • Executions by shooting: 8,483
  • Executions by hanging (estimate): 1,100
  • Deaths during evacuation transports (estimate): 13,500

This total (56,545) corresponds to a death rate of 24 percent, assuming that the number of persons passing through the camp according to documents left by the SS, 240,000 prisoners, is accurate

Buchenwald was liberated by the Allies on April 11, 1945, one day before the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. It was later used by the Soviet Union as a concentration camp for the enemies of East Germany.

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Dr Klaus Schilling

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Klaus Karl Schilling (born 5 July 1871 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany; died 28 May 1946 in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, West Germany),  was a German tropical medicine specialist, particularly remembered for his infamous participation in the Nazi human experiments at the Dachau concentration camp during World War II.

Though never a member of the Nazi Party and a recognized researcher before the war, Schilling became notorious as a consequence of his enthusiastic participation in human research under both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. From 1942 to 1945, Schilling’s research of malaria and attempts at fighting it using synthetic drugs resulted in over a thousand cases of human experimentation on camp prisoners.

He was appointed the first-ever director of the tropical medicine division of the Robert Koch Institute in 1905, where he would remain for the subsequent three decades.

Robert Koch-Institut, 1900

Upon retirement from the Robert Koch Institute in 1936, Schilling moved to Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, where he was given the opportunity to conduct immunization experiments on inmates of the psychiatric asylums of Volterra and San Niccolò di Siena.(The Italian authorities were concerned that troops faced malarial outbreaks in the course of the Italo-Ethiopian War.) As Schilling stressed the significance of the research for German interests, the Nazi government of Germany also supported him with a financial grant for his Italian experimentation.

Schilling returned to Germany after a meeting with Leonardo Conti, the Nazis’ Health Chief, in 1941.

Leonardo Conti

By early 1942 he was provided with a special malaria research station at Dachau’s concentration camp by Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS. Despite negative assessments from colleagues, Schilling would remain in charge of the malaria station for the duration of the war.

Although in the 1930s Schilling had stressed the point that malaria research on human subjects could be performed in an entirely harmless fashion, the Dachau subjects included experimentees who were injected with synthetic drugs at doses ranging from high to lethal. Of the more than 1,000 prisoners used in the malaria experiments at Dachau during the war, between 300 and 400 died as a result; among survivors, a substantial number remained permanently damaged afterward.

In the course of the Dachau Trials following the liberation of the camp at the close of the war, Schilling was tried by an American tribunal, with an October 1945 affidavit from Schilling being presented in the proceedings.

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After the war, Dr. Schilling was arrested by the American Army and charged with participating in a “common plan” to violate the Laws and Usages of War because he conducted experiments on Dachau prisoners, using various drugs in an effort to find a cure for malaria. Most of his subjects were young Polish priests whom Dr. Schilling infected by means of mosquitoes from the marshes of Italy and the Crimea, according to author Peter Padfield in his book entitled “Himmler.” The priests were chosen for the experiments because they were not required to work, as were the ordinary prisoners at Dachau.

One of the prosecution witnesses at the trial of the German Major War Criminals at Nuremberg was Dr. Franz Blaha, a Czech medical doctor who was a Communist political prisoner at Dachau.

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An affidavit signed by Dr. Blaha was entered into the main Nuremberg trial. It was marked Document Number 3249-PS, Exhibit USA-663. His comments in this affidavit about Dr. Schilling are quoted below from the transcript of the Nuremberg trial for January 11, 1946

“During my time at Dachau I was familiar with many kinds of medical experiments carried on there on human victims. These persons were never volunteers but were forced to submit to such acts. Malaria experiments on about 1,200 people were conducted by Dr. Klaus Schilling between 1941 and 1945. Schilling was personally ordered by Himmler to conduct these experiments. The victims were either bitten by mosquitoes or given injections of malaria sporozoites taken from mosquitoes. Different kinds of treatment were applied including quinine, pyrifer, neosalvarsan, antipyrin, pyramidon, and a drug called 2516 Behring. I performed autopsies on the bodies of people who died from these malaria experiments. Thirty to 40 died from the malaria itself. Three hundred to four hundred died later from diseases which were fatal because of the physical condition resulting from the malaria attacks. In addition there were deaths resulting from poisoning due to overdoses of neosalvarsan and pyramidon. Dr. Schilling was present at my autopsies on the bodies of his patients.”

The 74-year-old Dr. Schilling was convicted at Dachau and hanged. In his final statement to the court, Dr. Schilling pleaded to have the results of his experiments returned to him so they could be published. During his trial, he tried to justify his crime by saying that his experiments were for the good of mankind.

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The tribunal sentenced Schilling to death by hanging on 13 December 1945. His execution took place at Landsberg Prison in Landsberg am Lech on 28 May 1946.

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Hubertus Strughold-“Father of Space Medicine”,but at what cost?

Hubertus Strughold

Every year since 1963, the Space Medicine Association has given out the Hubertus Strughold Award to a top scientist or clinician for outstanding work in aviation medicine.

Dr. Hubertus Strughold (1898-1986) is known as the “Father of Space Medicine”. He first coined the term “space medicine” in 1948 and was the first and only Professor of Space Medicine at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. He was a co-founder of the Space Medicine Branch of the Aerospace Medical Association in 1950. In 1963, the Space Medicine Branch initiated the “Hubertus Strughold Award”, which is given each year for the greatest achievement in space medicine

Dr. Hubertus Strughold MD, Ph.D (June 15, 1898 – September 25, 1986) was a German-born physiologist and prominent medical researcher. Beginning in 1935 he served as chief of Aeromedical Research for the German Luftwaffe, holding this position throughout World War II. In 1947 he was brought to the United States as part of Operation Paperclip and held a series of high-ranking medical positions in both the US Air Force and NASA.

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For his role in pioneering the study of the physical and psychological effects of manned spaceflight he became known as “The Father of Space Medicine”.Following his death, Strughold’s activities under the Nazis came under greater scrutiny and allegations surrounding his involvement in Nazi-era human experimentation greatly diminished his reputation.

In April 1935 the government of Nazi Germany appointed Strughold to serve as the director of the Berlin-based Research Institute for Aviation Medicine, a medical think tank that operated under the auspices of Hermann Göring’s Ministry of Aviation.

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Under Strughold’s leadership the Institute grew to become Germany’s foremost aeromedical research establishment, pioneering the study of the medical effects of high-altitude and supersonic speed flight along with establishing the altitude chamber concept of “time of useful consciousness”. Though Strughold was ostensibly a civilian researcher, the majority of the studies and projects his Institute undertook were commissioned and financed by the German armed forces (principally the Luftwaffe) as part of the ongoing German re-armament. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Strughold’s organization was absorbed into the Luftwaffe itself as part of its Medical Service. It was renamed the Air Force Institute for Aviation Medicine, and placed under the command of Luftwaffe Surgeon-General(Generaloberstabsarzt) Erich Hippke.

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Strughold himself was also commissioned as an officer in the German air force, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel (Oberst).

In October 1942, Strughold and Hippke attended a medical conference in Nuremberg at which SS physician Sigmund Rascher delivered a presentation outlining various medical experiments he had conducted, in conjunction with the Luftwaffe, in which prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp were used as human test subjects.

These experiments included physiological tests during which camp inmates were immersed in freezing water, placed in air pressure chambers and made to endure invasive surgical procedures without anesthetic. Many of the inmates forced to participate died as a result. Various Luftwaffe physicians had participated in the experiments and several of them had close ties to Strughold, both through the Institute for Aviation Medicine and the Luftwaffe Medical Service.

Following the German defeat in May, 1945, Strughold claimed to Allied authorities that, despite his influential position within the Luftwaffe Medical Service and his attendance at the October 1942 medical conference, he had no knowledge of the atrocities committed at Dachau. He was never subsequently charged with any wrongdoing by the Allies. However, a 1946 memorandum produced by the staff of the Nuremberg Trials listed Strughold as one of thirteen “persons, firms or individuals implicated” in the war crimes committed at Dachau. Also, several of the former Luftwaffe physicians associated with Strughold and the Institute for Aviation Medicine (among them Strughold’s former research assistant Hermann Becker-Freyseng) were convicted of crimes against humanity in connection with the Dachau experiments at the 1947 Nuremberg Doctor’s Trial.

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During these proceedings, Strughold contributed several affidavits for the defense on behalf of his accused colleagues.

In October 1945 Strughold returned to academia, becoming director of the Physiological Institute at Heidelberg University. He also began working on behalf of the US Army Air Force, becoming chief scientist of its Aeromedical Center, located on the campus of the former Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research. In this capacity Strughold edited German Aviation Medicine in World War II, a book-length summary of the knowledge gained by German aviation researchers during the war.

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In 1947 Strughold was brought to the United States, along with many other highly valuable German scientists, as part of Operation Paperclip. With another former Luftwaffe physician, Richard Lindenberg, Strughold was assigned to the US Air Force School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field near San Antonio, Texas.

It was while at Randolph Field that Strughold began conducting some of the first research into the potential medical challenges posed by space travel, in conjunction with fellow “Paperclip Scientist” Dr. Heinz Haber.Strughold coined the term “space medicine” to describe this area of study in 1948. The following year he was appointed as the first and only Professor of Space Medicine at the US Air Force’s newly established School of Aviation Medicine (SAM), one of the first institutions dedicated to conducting research on the so-called “human factors” associated with manned spaceflight.

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Under Strughold, the School of Aviation Medicine conducted pioneering studies on issues such as atmospheric control, the physical effects of weightlessness and the disruption of normal time cycles.In 1951 Strughold revolutionized existing notions concerning spaceflight when he co-authored the influential research paper Where Does Space Begin? in which he proposed that space was present in small gradations that grew as altitude levels increased, rather than existing in remote regions of the atmosphere. Between 1952 and 1954 he would oversee the building of the space cabin simulator, a sealed chamber in which human test subjects were placed for extended periods of time in order to view the potential physical and psychological effects of extra-atmospheric flight. Strughold obtained US citizenship in 1956 and was named chief scientist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Aerospace Medical Division in 1962. While at NASA, Strughold played a central role in designing the pressure suit and onboard life support systems used by both the Gemini and Apollo astronauts. He also directed the specialized training of the flight surgeons and medical staff of the Apollo program in advance of the planned mission to the Moon. Strughold retired from his position at NASA in 1968.

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During his work on behalf of the Air Force and NASA, Strughold was the subject of three separate US government investigations into his suspected involvement in war crimes committed under the Nazis. A 1958 investigation by the Justice Department fully exonerated Strughold, while a second inquiry launched by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1974 was later abandoned due to lack of evidence. In 1983 the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations reopened his case but withdrew from the effort when Strughold died in September, 1986. Following his death, Strughold’s alleged connection to the Dachau experiments became more widely known following the release of US Army Intelligence documents from 1945 that listed him among those being sought as war criminals by US authorities.

These revelations did significant damage to Strughold’s reputation and resulted in the revocation of various honors that had been bestowed upon him over the course of his career. In 1993, at the request of the World Jewish Congress, his portrait was removed from a mural of prominent physicians displayed at Ohio State University. Following similar protests by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Air Force decided in 1995 to rename the Hubertus Strughold Aeromedical Library at Brooks Air Force Base, which had been named in Strughold’s honor in 1977. His portrait, however, still hangs there. Further action by the ADL also led to Strughold’s removal from the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico in May 2006.

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Further questions about Strughold’s activities during World War II emerged in 2004 following an investigation conducted by the Historical Committee of the German Society of Air and Space Medicine. The inquiry uncovered evidence of oxygen deprivation experiments carried out by Strughold’s Institute for Aviation Medicine in 1943. According to these findings six epileptic children, between the ages of 11 and 13, were taken from the Nazi’s Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre to Strughold’s Berlin laboratory where they were placed in vacuum chambers to induce epileptic seizures in an effort to simulate the effects of high-altitude sicknesses, such as hypoxia.

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While, unlike the Dachau experiments, all the test subjects survived the research process, this revelation led the Society of Air and Space Medicine to abolish a major award bearing Strughold’s name. A similar campaign by American scholars prompted the US branch of the Aerospace Medical Association to announce in 2012 that it would also consider rechristening a similar award, also named in Strughold’s honor, which it had been bestowing since 1963. The move was met with opposition from defenders of Strughold, citing his massive contributions to the American space program and the lack of any formal proof of his direct involvement in war crimes

The evil of Herta Oberheuser

Men do not have a ‘monopoly’ on evil. Women can be just as evil if not more.

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This is one of those stories where I don’t know what is more disturbing, the evil acts committed by Herta Oberheuser or the fact that she got away with it.

Herta Oberheuser (15 May 1911 in Cologne, – 24 January 1978 in Linz am Rhein, West Germany) was a Nazi physician at the Auschwitz and Ravensbrück concentration camps from 1940 until 1943.

Oberheuser worked at concentration camps under the supervision of Dr. Karl Gebhardt, participating in gruesome medical experiments (sulfanilamide as well as bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration and bone transplantation) conducted on 86 women, 74 of whom were Polish political prisoners in the camp.

She killed healthy children with oil and evipan injections, then removed their limbs and vital organs. The time from the injection to death was between three and five minutes, with the person being fully conscious until the last moment. She performed some of the most gruesome and painful medical experiments, focusing on deliberately inflicting wounds on the subjects. In order to simulate the combat wounds of German soldiers fighting in the war, Oberheuser rubbed foreign objects, such as wood, rusty nails, slivers of glass, dirt, or sawdust into the cuts.

Herta Oberheuser was the only female defendant in the Nuremberg Medical Trial, where she was sentenced to 20 years in jail. It was later reduced to 10 years in prison.

She was released in April 1952 for ‘good behavior’ and became a family doctor in West Germany. She lost her position in 1956, after a Ravensbrück survivor recognized her, and her license to practice medicine was revoked in 1958. She died in January 1978.

Testimony from Vladislava Karolewska, a Polish political prisoner and victim of medical experimentation:

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In the hospital we were put to bed and the hospital room in which we stayed was locked. We were not told what we were to do in the hospital and when one of my comrades put the question she got no answer but she was answered by an ironical smile. Then a German nurse arrived and gave me an injection in my leg. After this injection I vomited and I was put on a hospital cot and they brought me to the operating room… I regained my consciousness in the morning and then I noticed that my leg was in a cast from the ankle up to the knee and I felt a very strong pain in this leg and the high temperature. I noticed also that my leg was swollen from the toes up to the groin. The pain was increasing and the temperature, too, and the next day I noticed that some liquid was flowing from my leg… I saw Dr. Fischer again. He had an operating gown and rubber gloves on his hands. A blanket was put over my eyes and I did not know what was done with my leg but I felt great pain and I had the impression that something must have been cut out of my leg. Those present were: Schildauski, Rosenthal, and Oberhauser… Two weeks later we were all taken again to the operating room and put on the operating tables. The bandage was removed, and that was the first time I saw my leg. The incision went so deep that I could see the bone… On the eighth of September I was sent back to the block. I could not walk. The pus was draining from my leg; the leg was swollen up and I could not walk. In the block, I stayed in bed for one week; then I was called to the hospital again. I could not walk and I was carried by my comrades. In the hospital I met some of my comrades who were there for the operation. This time I was sure I was going to be executed because I saw an ambulance standing before the office which was used by the Germans to transport people intended for execution… When I was in my room I made the remark to fellow prisoners that we were operated on in very bad conditions and left here in this room and that we were not given even the possibility to recover. This remark must have been heard by a German nurse who was sitting in the corridor because the door of our room leading to the corridor was opened. The German nurse entered the room and told us to get up and dress. We answered that we could not follow her order because we had great pains in our legs and we couldn’t walk. Then the German nurse came with Dr. Oberhauser into our room. Dr. Oberhauser told us to dress and come to the dressing room. We put on our dresses; and, being unable to walk, we had to hop on one leg going into the operating room. After one hop, we had to rest. Dr. Oberhauser did not allow anybody to help us. When we arrived at the operating room, quite exhausted, Dr. Oberhauser appeared and told us to go back because the change of dressing would not take place that day.

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I could not walk, but somebody, a prisoner whose name I don’t remember, helped me to come back to the room… At the end of February 1943, Dr. Oberhauser called us and said, “Those girls are new guinea-pigs”; and we were very well known under this name in the camp. Then we understood that we were persons intended for experiments and we decided to protest against the performance of those operations on healthy people… Dr. Trommel took me by the left wrist and pulled my arm back. With his other hand he tried to gag me, putting a piece of rag into my mouth, because I shouted. The second SS man took my right hand and stretched it. Two other SS men held me by my feet. Immobilized, I felt that somebody was giving me an injection. I defended myself for a long time, but then I grew weaker. The injection had its effect; I felt sleepy. I heard Trommel saying, “Das ist fertig”, that is all. I regained consciousness again, but I don’t know when. Then I noticed that a German nurse was taking off my dress, I then lost consciousness again; I regained it in the morning. Then I noticed that both my legs were in iron splints and were bandaged from the toes to groin. I felt a strong pain in my feet, and a temperature… Two weeks later a second operation was performed on my left leg although pus was draining from my former wound, and a piece of shin bone was removed.

– from testimony given at the “Doctors Trial” before an American military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany

Nazis -Nasa and Dachau.

It is a well known fact that the US government welcomed a great number of Nazi scientists to the US where they could continue their scientific research and experiments.

One of the greatest benefactors was NASA, without the knowledge of the Nazi scientists who worked on the V1 and V2 programs the NASA space program would never have been possible.

In fact the idea of the International Space Station was based on the Nazi plans for a ‘death ray’. The Nazis had secretly been working on an orbital space station based on the ideas of Herman Oberth. Their plan was to install some sort of reflective shield to harvest the sun rays and convert them in a ‘death ray’ or ‘Sun Gun’. The death ray was never developed of course, but part of the plans for the orbital space station were used.

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The Dachau connection though I very disturbing and wasn’t something I was awar of until recently.NASA did use the research of the experiments done by Sigmund Rascher to develop their space suits and to prepare their astronauts.

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Sigmund Rascher (12 February 1909 – 26 April 1945) was a German SS doctor. His deadly experiments on humans, which were carried out in the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, were judged inhumane and criminal during the Nuremberg Trials.

In 1939 Rascher , joined the SS, and was conscripted into the Luftwaffe. A relationship and eventually marriage to former singer Karoline “Nini” Diehl gained him direct access to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Rascher’s connection with Himmler gave him immense influence, even over his superiors. Diehl may have been a former lover of Himmler; she frequently corresponded with him and interceded with him on her husband’s behalf.

A week after first meeting Himmler, Rascher presented a paper, “Report on the Development and Solution to Some of the Reichsfuehrer’s Assigned Tasks During a Discussion Held on April 24, 1939”.Rascher became involved in testing a plant extract as a cancer treatment. Kurt Blome, deputy of the Reich Health Leader (Reichsgesundheitsführer) and Plenipotentiary for Cancer Research in the Reich Research Council, favoured testing the extract on rodents, but Rascher insisted on using human test subjects. Himmler took Rascher’s side and a Human Cancer Testing Station was established at Dachau. Blome worked on the project.

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Rascher suggested in early 1941, while a captain in the Luftwaffe’s Medical Service, that high-altitude/low-pressure experiments be carried out on human beings.While taking a course in aviation medicine at Munich, he wrote Himmler a letter in which he said that his course included research into high-altitude flight and it was regretted that no tests with humans had been possible as such experiments were highly dangerous and nobody volunteered for them. Rascher asked Himmler to place human subjects at his disposal, stating quite frankly that the experiments might prove fatal, but that previous tests made with monkeys had been unsatisfactory. The letter was answered by Rudolf Brandt, Himmler’s adjutant, who informed Rascher that prisoners would be made available.

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Rascher subsequently wrote back to Brandt, asking for permission to carry out his experiments at Dachau, and plans for the experiments were developed at a conference in early 1942 attended by Rascher and members of the Luftwaffe Medical Service. The experiments were carried out in the spring and summer of the same year, using a portable pressure chamber supplied by the Luftwaffe. The victims were locked in the chamber, the interior pressure of which was then lowered to a level corresponding to very high altitudes. The pressure could be very quickly altered, allowing Rascher to simulate the conditions which would be experienced by a pilot freefalling from altitude without oxygen.

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After viewing a report of one of the fatal experiments, Himmler remarked that if a subject should survive such treatment, he should be “pardoned” to life imprisonment. Rascher replied to Himmler that the victims had to date been merely Poles and Russians, and that he believed they should be given no amnesty of any sort.

Rascher also conducted so-called “freezing experiments” on behalf of the Luftwaffe, in which 300 test subjects were used against their will. These were also conducted at Dachau after the high-altitude experiments had concluded. The purpose was to determine the best way of warming German pilots who had been forced down in the North Sea and suffered hypothermia.

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Rascher’s victims were forced to remain outdoors naked in freezing weather for up to 14 hours, or kept in a tank of icewater for three hours, their pulse and internal temperature measured through a series of electrodes. Warming of the victims was then attempted by different methods, most usually and successfully by immersion in hot water.

General Dr. Erich Hippke, chief of the Luftwaffe medical service, was the actual source of the idea for the so-called “freezing experiments” which were undertaken on behalf of the Luftwaffe and conducted at Dachau concentration camp by Sigmund Rascher.

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Himmler attended some of the experiments, and told Rascher he should go the North Sea and find out how the ordinary people there warmed victims of extreme cold. Himmler reportedly said he thought “that a fisher woman could well take her half-frozen husband into her bed and revive him in that manner” and added that everyone believed “animal warmth” had a different effect than artificial warmth. Four Romani women were sent from Ravensbrück concentration camp and warming was attempted by placing the hypothermic victim between two naked women.

A medical conference was held in Nuremberg in October 1942, at which the results of the experiments were presented under the headings “Prevention and Treatment of Freezing”, and “Warming Up After Freezing to the Danger Point”.

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Rascher, who had by now been transferred to the Waffen-SS, was eager to obtain the academic credentials necessary for a high-level university position. A habilitation which was to be based on his research failed, however, at Munich, Marburg, and Frankfurt, due to the formal requirement that results be made available for public scrutiny. US investigators later concluded that Rascher had been merely a convenient front for Luftwaffe chief surgeon Erich Hippke, who had been the true source of the ideas for Rascher’s experiments.

Similar experiments were conducted from July to September 1944, as the Ahnenerbe (an institute in Nazi Germany purposed to research the archaeological and cultural history of the Aryan race)provided space and materials to doctors at Dachau to undertake “seawater experiments”, chiefly through Wolfram Sievers. Sievers is known to have visited Dachau on 20 July 1944, to speak with Kurt Plötner and the non-Ahnenerbe Wilhelm Beiglboeck, who ultimately carried out the experiments.

While at Dachau, Rascher developed the standard cyanide capsules, which could be easily bitten through, either deliberately or accidentally.

Rascher experimented with the effects of Polygal, a substance made from beet and apple pectin, which aided blood clotting. He predicted that the preventive use of Polygal tablets would reduce bleeding from gunshot wounds sustained during combat or during surgery. Subjects were given a Polygal tablet, and shot through the neck or chest, or their limbs amputated without anaesthesia. Rascher published an article on his experience of using Polygal, without detailing the nature of the human trials and also set up a company to manufacture the substance, staffed by prisoners.

Rascher did not go to the US after the war. He was executed on the 26th of April 1945 3 days  before Dachau was liberated. He wasn’t executed by the allies or the prisoners but by the Nazi’s and not because of his evil experiments.

In an attempt to please Himmler by demonstrating that population growth could be accelerated by extending the childbearing age, Rascher publicized the fact that his wife had given birth to three children even after becoming 48 years of age, and Himmler used a photograph of Rascher’s family as propaganda material.

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However, during her fourth “pregnancy”, Mrs. Rascher was arrested for trying to kidnap a baby and an investigation revealed that her other three children had been either bought or kidnapped. Himmler felt betrayed by this conduct, and Rascher was arrested in April 1944. As well as complicity in the kidnappings of the three infants, Rascher was also accused of financial irregularities, the murder of his former lab assistant, and scientific fraud. Both Rascher and his wife were hastily condemned without trial to the concentration camps.Rascher was imprisoned at Buchenwald following his arrest in 1944 until the camp’s evacuation in April 1945. He and other prisoners were then taken to Dachau where Rascher was executed by firing squad on 26 April 1945; just three days before the camp was liberated by American troops.

Although he had been executed before the American troops liberated Dachau, they did get hold of the notes and the research of experiments, which later became property of NASA.

Based on Rascher’s “Research” NASA developed their space suits.

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