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Study On The Nazi Medical Experiments History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The Holocaust is another name for the mass genocide that killed off millions of Jews. During this appalling period, the German Nazis developed many new ways to kill people. One of these methods were using the Jews as guinea pigs and doing many different medical experiments on them. Some of the most notorious doctors responsible for these experiments were Josef Mengele, Karl Brandt, Horst Schumann, Herta Oberheuser, Carl Clauberg, and Helmut Vetter.

The most famous of these notorious doctors was Dr. Karl Brandt. He began his trek of evil by breaking into Hitler’s inner circle by impressing him. He did this by saving the life of one of his dear friends who was involved in a car crash. Hitler was so amazed in his ability that he made Brandt his personal physician. Once he was in, Brandt quickly rose to the level of Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation. This position basically meant that he was the strongest doctor in the Nazi party.

One of the programs that he ran was the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious Hereditary and Congenially Based Diseases. It was started in September of 1939. Hitler started it fulfill his idea of “racial integrity of the German people”. This program was also informally known as T-4. This program was started to find cures for mentally ill and physically handicapped. While Brandt was in charge of this program, he performed euthanasia as the prime method to solve these problems. If the mentally ill patients were of “inferior” (mostly of Jewish or Gypsy) descent, he would deliberately kill them and make it obvious. His most well-known method was applying carbon monoxide to gas the patients to death. From the time it began to August of 1941, the Reich committee had killed over 70, 000 people. (Aziz, 1976) When asked about the euthanasia program at the Nuremburg trials, his response was, “Would you believe that it was a pleasure to me to receive the order to start euthanasia? For fifteen years I had laboured at the sick-bed and every patient was to me like a brother, every sick child I worried about as if it had been my own. And then that hard fate hit me. Is that guilt? Was it not mv first thought to limit the scope of euthanasia?… With the deepest devotion I have tortured myself again and again, but no philosophy and no other wisdom helped here. There was the decree and on it there was my name. I do not say that I could have feigned sickness. I do not live this life of mine in order to evade fate if I meet it. And thus I affirmed Euthanasia.” ( Simbkin, no date)

Dr. Josef Mengele was a purely malevolent man with truly evil actions. In fact, he was so cruel that he was known as the Angel of Death among the prisoners. One example of his cruelty was when there was a breakout of lice in a block of 750 women. (Bulow, 2008-2010) To handle this situation, he had all of the women gassed. Getting rid of the women meant no more lice and that meant no more problem. He was the chief doctor at the Auschwitz extermination camp. During the Holocaust, he was the bridge between life and death for the Jews. He basically decided whether the Jews would go onto work camps or die using two simple words, left or right. Right to the Hebrews meant survival in the work camps. Left meant a horrible death in the gas chambers. He also performed many experiments on the Jews. His favorite test subjects were Jews and Gypsies because of personal prejudices. He especially enjoyed testing his experiments on twins. The age of these twins could have ranged from 5-18 years. There is one very well-known experiment performed by Mengele in which he tried to create artificial conjoined twins. Because of his personal prejudices, he operated on two Gypsy twins without the use of anesthesia. Other experiments that he performed were trying to change the color of people’s eyes by injecting different dyes into their irises and many diverse methods trying to achieve sterility. In his view, the younger the patient, the better the outcome of the experiment would be. In fact, because of him, very few children survived the Holocaust. The children that did survive recall a doctor that would act very nice to them and trap their friends into performing experiments. He would bring the children fresh clothes, sweets, and extra food. After he had ensnared them in his kindness, he would take them to his lab and either kill them, or experiment on them and then kill them. His most used technique was injecting chloroform into the heart of the patient. On young children, he would usually try experiments of amputation and castration. After the war he lived in South America under many different pseudonyms. He was never caught and died of a massive stroke. Josef Mengele was truly a notorious figure in the mass genocide of the Holocaust.

One of the only female doctors in the Holocaust and the only female doctor tried at the Nuremburg trials was Dr. Herta Oberheuser. She was the chief physician at the Ravensbruck concentration camp for women. She is known for performing some of the most horrifying and painful experiment of the entire Holocaust. In my opinion, this woman was a true sadist, or one who inflicts pain on others for pleasure or enjoyment. This is because of her infamous experiments on the replication of battle wounds and their treatment. She was so irrational that she would rub unsanitary objects such as wood, rusty nails, slivers of glass, dirt, or even sawdust into open wounds in order to try and replicate combat wounds. (The American- Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2010) To perform experiments on certain vital organs (heart, liver, lungs, or brain) or extremities, she would kill the subject by injecting oil or evipan, a type of gasoline or petroleum, into the patient with the patient fully conscious up until the last breath. (The American- Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2010) The worst part of the story of Herta Oberheuser was that after receiving her 20 year sentence at the Nuremberg trials, she was released after just five year and allowed to practice medicine as a family practitioner until her license was revoked in 1958. (Epstein, no date)

Horst Schumann and Carl Clauberg were both notorious doctors who mainly worked to find a way to sterilize women without the use of the operation room. Schumann was the first to try these experiments with his controversial x-ray sterilization theory. What he would do is expose the prisoner’s belly, groin, and buttock areas to x-ray radiation. These areas would soon form untreatable burns and scabs, thus causing sterility. Some of the complications with this type of treatment were that the equipment was expensive and the patients were soon dying due to the exposure. (The American- Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2010) After his research, he was imprisoned for one year and released because of no public interest in the case. He live quietly for the rest of his life and died in Frankfurt. (The American- Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2010)

After Schumann’s failed attempt, Clauberg was sure he would be able to solve the problem. He mainly concentrated on women. Clauberg tried to learn off of the mistakes made by Schumann and made sure he used the cheapest materials possible in his experiment. In his model, he took Gypsy women as his model and injected strong acids into their reproductive organs. (The American- Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2010) This method caused excruciating pains and bleeding in the ovaries and stomach and also caused spasms in the stomach. In some cases, the ovaries were so damages that they had to be removed. Once they were removed, they were sent to Berlin for extensive examination (The American- Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2010) During the Nuremburg trials, he was imprisoned for twenty five years, but was released after seven for being pardoned by the Soviet Union for actions. When all seemed bright for him, he was sent back to prison because of a Jewish survivor group that though the ruling was unfair. He died before the trial for the case.

There were many experiments during the Holocaust that were conducted by many different doctors. This means that it is difficult to tell the original experimenter. One such experiment was the high altitude experiment. This experiment was conducted to discover the limit human survival in high altitudes. In it, patients were exposed to dangerously low pressures via pressure chambers. Another such set of experiments were the freezing experiments. These experiments were conducted to find the best possible of treating a person exposed to extreme temperatures while battling in places such as Russia. The most common method in which this experiment was applied was making prisoners stand in a container filled with ice- water for no more than three hours. There were also many experiments testing different poisons and their consequence on humans (how lethal were they, how long did they take to kill). These experiments were performed by injecting the poison in the food of an unexpecting victim. They would then either study the long- term effects or kill them instantly to study the immediate effects. The doctors also performed many experiments in order to find a cure for malaria. The most widely used method was directly having the patient be infected by the mosquito. They would then test experimental drugs on them. (Bulow, 2009)

The doctors would also inject the patients with different diseases, such as Spotted Fever and malaria. They would inject these diseases into the patient in order to keep the disease itself alive. They did this so it could have been used as biological warfare in later wars against other countries. Another reason they would inject the patients is so that they could study the contagiousness of the virus what vaccine could be used to treat it. (Bulow, 2009)

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