Medical experiments in Auschwitz concentration camp

Nazi Germany ideology of Aryan racial purity and superiority from 1933 to 1945, led a campaign with the main objective to cleanse the German society of individuals viewed as a threat to the nation’s health. Nazi authority enlisted various medical practitioners, geneticists, and other scientists to develop racial health policies. These new policies opened the doors for unethical medical experimentation on which later only worsened with the establishment of concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where the experiments were completely devoid of ethical practices.

In 1942, SS Main Economic and Administrative Office with the support of Waffen SS Hygiene Institute began human experimentation on prisoners of Auschwitz. Experiments conducted were planned on the highest levels and can be divided into three main categories: experiments to improve the survival and health of military personnel, experiments to tests drugs and treatments, experiments to advance the Nazi racial and ideological goals. In addition to the experiments supported by the Nazi leadership, other experiments for pharmaceutical companies and medical institutes were also conducted as well as experiments conducted by individuals in pursuit of personal interests.

The experiments intended on improving the survivability of the German army such as the freezing experiment to find the most effective way of treating hypothermia and testing of various methods of making seawater drinkable. Going on to the experiments and tests intended on testing drugs and treatments by injecting various immunization compounds in order to find treatment for contagious diseases such as malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, and other dangerous diseases. Moreover, exposing the prisoners to phosgene and mustard gases to test possible antidotes.

Continuing to experiments devoted to the advancement of Nazi ideology of Aryan superiority by conducting tests on different methods of sterilization of inferior races, primarily of Jewish origin.

Carl Clauberg (on the left) and Horst Schuman
Carl Caluberg on the left and Horst Schuman in the middle

The two most notorious doctors involved with these experiments were Carl Clauberg (testing and developing the method of non-surgical sterilization by introducing the chemical irritant causing the acute inflammation of Fallopian tubes leading to severe complications and ultimately death) and Horst Schuman (testing and experimentation of x-rays on the patients’ reproductive organs in order to sterilize them leading to severe radiation burns and death).

However, the worst of all was doctor Josef Mengele who experimented on Gypsy children, twins, and those with dwarfism and other inborn disabilities by conducting live pathological medical examinations for comparative analysis of according to him scientifically interesting anatomical specimens.
In the aftermath of the discovery of the Auschwitz medical experimentations and the trials to address and discuss the crimes committed by the Nazi doctors regarding the ethics of the experimentation, the Nuremberg Code was created as guidelines and rules of standard medical research with the principle of informed consent of the subject.

Our trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau

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