Scientific Murder

Scientific Murder:

Human Experimentation in Nazi Germany

The Nazi\'s were infamous for their cruel and unusual experiments on humans. Although they played a small part of Nazi Germany\'s attempt at racial hygiene, these experiments desecrated and exterminated thousands of humans (Lifton 269). "The Nazi medical experiments of the 1930\'s and 1940\'s are the most famous example of recent disregard for ethical conduct " (Polit & Hungler 127). For the sake of science, thousands lost their lives "I have no words. I thought we were human beings. We were living creatures. How could they do things like that?" (Auschwitz survivor as quoted in Lifton 269). Was it really science, or was it murder?
After the Nazi\'s seized power in 1933, patients no longer had protection by law from German scientists. These scientists could use any method of "research or treatment". "Terrible experiments carried out in the concentration camps were symptomatic of this amoral attitude of the German scientific community" (Friedlander 131). Prior to 1933, scientists promoted radical measures in the study of racial science. "Prominent eugenicists-anthropologists, geneticists, psychiatrists-influenced both Nazi ideologues and a generation of scientists and physicians" (Friedlander 123). Literature from these scientists influenced Adolf Hitler and many scientists during the Nazi period (Friedlander 123).
Science in Germany quickly adjusted to the ideas of race and eugenics. "The enthusiastic participation of the scientific and medical establishment in the sterilization program was an indication of the fact that its ideology meshed with that of the Nazi movement\' (Friedlander 125). The concept of racial hygiene was the foundation of Germany\'s eugenic and racial policy. State hospital directors and scientists founded institutes and departments for researching heredity. In order for scientist to move up in rank, they were coerced to comply with racial hygiene as prescribed by the regime. "Loyalty to ideology determined access to research grants and job opportunities" (Friedlander 126).
Euthanasia became a solution to the problem of the slow process of mass sterilization. German scientists were eager to benefit from this program. Researchers took part in the killings right from the start. T4 (operation known as adult euthanasia) provided experience for new inexperienced doctors. Friedlander quotes Henrich Bunke saying, "It provided the opportunity to collaborate with experienced professors, to do scientific work, and to complete my education." as his excuse for joining T4 (127). Autopsies were the greatest opportunity for these young physicians. As a result, human organs were available for research (Friedlander 127).
With the beginning of this program, scientists made the decision to utilize the killing program to benefit research. Two institutes for research took a great part in benefiting from the killings. "The clinic for Psychiatry and Neurology of Heidelberg University, directed by Professor Carl Schneider, and the observation ward and research station at the state hospital in Brandenburg-Gorden, headed by Hans Heinze" (Friedlander 127).
The experiments done on the camp prisoners can be divided into two categories. The first was created to help the war effort and was performed by the medical services of the German military. The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) performed high altitude experiments on camp prisoners to test conditions experienced by pilots. Other examples of military experiments were inducing hypothermia, human toleration of seawater ingestion, and immunization experiments against several diseases (Friedlander 132). Women were used in military experiments to test treatment of combat wounds. "Deliberately inflicted wounds were treated with the antibiotic sulfonamide to test its efficacy while other experiments tested bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration as well as bone transplants" (Friendlander 132). Additionally, doctors performed private research in the camps to their own beneficence.
The second category of experiments was created to further the ideal goals of political agenda regarding racial hygiene. The prime example being sterilization. "Sterilization as negative population control had been used by the regime throughout the 1930\'s against those considered diseased" (Friedlander 132). The usual process for sterilization was too costly and took too much time when considering sterilizing large number of people. Researchers were authorized to find a method of rapid, mass sterilization to be performed anonymously (Friedlander 132).
One renowned physician, Joseph Mengele, of Auschwitz-Birkenau (a German medical site) performed experiments to determine genetically how multiple births (primarily twins) occurred. A twin would be selected and injected with a form of disease, which would result in a severe illness. On their next