Nazi Medical Experiments | Teen Ink

Nazi Medical Experiments

March 7, 2014
By mrcarrotcake BRONZE, San Jose, California
mrcarrotcake BRONZE, San Jose, California
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

“There were scattered naked corpses of three children. Their bodies were shriveled and this is when I realized, at age ten, that that could happen to Miriam and me also; unless I did something to prevent it,”(“Savage”). Eva Kor, a Mengele twin survivor, narrated her gruesome experience. Before researching the medical experiments, I knew that the Nazis were experimenting in different fields of medicine. My essay takes a closer look at why these things happened, and what they are seen as today.

There are two main reasons for why the Medical Experiments occurred. Doctors wanted to ensure the survival of German Military, and to find cures to diseases (“Nazi Medical Experiments”). Experiments such as Hypothermia, High Altitude, Sulfanilamide, Phosgene, Seawater and Bone/Muscle/Joint transplantation took place to help the military. They did high altitude tests to help save pilots who had to parachute out of their plane. The doctors put prisoners in low pressure chambers and monitored them while they died. Sulfanilamide and Phosgene tests were to find cures to infections on the battlefield. They would injure a prisoner and simulate war effects by rubbing dirt or glass into the wound. To find ways to make seawater potable, doctors forced around 90 gypsies to drink only saltwater to study the effects. Hypothermia tests were conducted to save German soldiers on the Russian Front (“Tyson”).

The Doctors, operating under the idea of helping the military, were also intent on advancing their racial views on the world. This included proving the inferiority of other “races” such as the Jews or the Roma. Their victory to a blonde haired and blue-eyed world, was only obstructed by those who weren’t perfect. In order to get rid of those who were deemed unworthy of living, they sought to find a way of getting rid of imperfection through sterilization. The doctors would radiate the genitals of men and would force toxic substances in the uterus of the women to try to sterilize them. They attempted to advance the production of Aryans through twin studies and changing eye color. The physicians also conducted serological experiments to see how races resisted different contagious diseases (“Nazi Medical Experiments”). I infer they were interested in other races, but their only obstacle was that they couldn’t be obtained for testing.

This follows the who, what, when pattern by first giving what and why it happened, and then providing the location. Most of the experiments took place in concentration camps during World War II. In Auschwitz twins experiments, Dachau had hypothermia and high altitude, and Ravensbruck had gangrene, bone grafting, and sterilization (“Concentration Camps and Other places where Experiments were Performed”). There were many other concentration camps, but these were the most prominent. Since the experiments took place during the war, it was easy to hide and operate undetected. It was only after Soviet forces liberated camps that the experiments were discovered.

This explains how the doctors experimented in these locations.Doctors of the Nazi party were known for their cruelty and inhumane acts. One of the most infamous doctors was Dr. Josef Mengele. Mengele experimented on twins and changing eye color in Auschwitz. “Because of the experiments that were done, this subject is far more painful than any other. I don’t know of any surviving twins that don’t have some side effects from Dr. Mengele’s experiments. Even today many of them simply are not ready to talk about it” (“Laks”). This account was related by a twin survivor of Dr. Mengele’s experiments. Survivors told their story at a tribunal directed to the capture of Mengele. He was never captured. Dr. Sigmund Rascher tested hypothermia and high altitude endurance in Dachau. Dr. Carl Clauberg tested sterilization and artificial insemination in Auschwitz (“Nazi Doctors and other Perpetrators of Nazi Crimes”).

As a consequence, the doctors were convicted of their crimes in the Nuremberg Trials. The Nuremberg Doctors Trial was a court case held after World War II that decided the fates of the Nazi doctors. 23 doctors in total, 16 were found guilty, and 7 were executed. They were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. “In 1948, the 2nd General Assembly of the World Medical Association adopted the Declaration of Geneva” (“Doctors aren’t bound by the Hippocratic Oath”). This declaration was written in response to the heinous crimes committed by doctors during the Holocaust. In a way, the doctors of the experiments paved a way for a definitive code of ethics.

As a result, they left an abundance of controversial information.There are several reasons why one can argue that we should use the data obtained during the operations. The experiments that the Nazi Doctors conducted cannot be repeated due to ethical laws and patient rights (“Dyal”). Since we cannot reproduce those experiments, we should learn from the information that we have. By using the data, we acknowledge that these things did happen by doing so; we weaken the Holocaust Denier’s claims. Also, by remembering them we can prevent these things from happening again (“Dyal”). Some could argue that we can compensate for all the suffering that occurred by using the data. Let some information that could save lives, flower from the pain.

However, others argue that the data shouldn’t be used. The patients were malnourished and sick; their bodies weren’t strong enough to resist these experiments. Therefore, the data is incorrect.”Many of today's researchers claim that the data was not recorded properly, they did not perform the tests in a necessary way to use the data, and that the data is not a true representation of the actual population”(“Dyal”). Also, by using the data, we are encouraging these things from happening. One could get the idea that if I do something similar to this, it will achieve the same publicity whether it is ethical or not. We acknowledge that by using this data, it is okay for these experiments to take place.

This is my opinion and conclusion on the controversy.The data shouldn’t be used because it is inaccurate. Although using the data would extinguish some claims made by Holocaust Deniers, it isn’t worth it. We should respect the wishes of the survivors who endured those experiments.

The horrors of the Nazi Experiments should not be forgotten. Although this is a painful subject, it is necessary to revisit these atrocities to prevent this from ever happening again. Thousands of Jews and Roma suffered in vain in order to fulfill an impossible and inhuman idea. This idea of perfection was the parasite constantly eating the brains of the Nazis.

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This article has 1 comment.

S. Bär said...
on Mar. 16 2014 at 7:18 am
You write: "The data shouldn’t be used because it is inaccurate." This is true for most of the experiments of Sigmund Rascher, for instance for his cancer research, his polygal experiments and most of his hypothermia experiments. However Rascher's and Holzlöhner's main result from the hypothermia experiments, rapid rewarming in hot water is superior to slow rewarming, seems to be valid. S. Bär