Medical Experiments of the Holocaust
Holocaust in History
January 6, 2013
Many brutal atrocities were committed during the Holocaust by the Nazi party against anyone they viewed as “unpure”. This included the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Afro-Germans, Slavs, communists, the handicapped, and the mentally disabled. These groups were targeted, stripped away of their rights and citizenship, and then sent to concentration camps. Some of these camps were death camps; created for the sole purpose to annihilate these groups of people, mainly the Jews. At these camps, the prisoners were tortured, starved, brutally killed, and experimented on. In this research paper, I am going to discuss some of the medical experiments that were done to the prisoners by Nazi doctors. According to Education…A Legacy Forum, some of these experiments are freezing/hypothermia, high altitude tests, testing of the chemical sulfanilamide, seawater experiments, phosgene gas testing, genetic testing, and the experimentation on twins. These experiments, no matter which one, were cruel and inhumane. Nazi doctors would experiment on prisoners without caring about the welfare of their patient. All restrictions were gone, and these doctors could do whatever they wanted. Many of these prisoners endured pain, and agony, to further the Nazi doctor’s research. The goals of these experiments were to promote the German race, “in the name of science”. ( Education… A Legacy Forum, Josef Mengele, The Experiments)
The freezing experiments were conducted to determine the most effective means for the Germans to avoid hypothermia while fighting on the Russian Front. For as many as five hours, doctors either put prisoners in large vats of ice water, or they would be strapped down on stretchers, and placed outside in the freezing weather naked. While these people were suffering with the pain of their bodies slowly freezing, the doctors would measure the changes in their body temperature, heart rate, and other factors. When a prisoner’s body temperature reached 80°F, the doctors would use different methods of rewarming them. These included sleeping bags, scalding baths, internal irrigation (blistering hot water would be irrigated into the prisoner’s stomach), and the doctors would even force naked women to copulate with the near frozen prisoner. These resuscitation experiments were usually just as painful and deadly as the freezing experiments. (The Experiments)
In order to find the best way to save German pilots when they were forced to eject from their fighter planes at high altitude, they conducted experiments in which prisoners would be placed in chambers with a low pressure atmosphere. This was to simulate the altitudes, as high as 70,000 feet. The doctors monitored the prisoner’s physical and psychological responses as they slowly and painfully succumbed to their demise. Afterwards, the doctors would dissect the prisoner’s brain, sometimes while they were still alive, to show the formation of small air bubbles in the brain’s blood vessels. As many as two hundred patients were tested on, and around eighty died on the spot. The rest were then executed in the gas chambers. (The Experiments, Josef Mengele and The Medical Experiments)
The experiments to test the effectiveness of sulfanilamide and other drugs against infection for the purpose of helping the German Army were performed since many front line soldiers suffered from persistent and deadly gangrene. Doctors would inflict battlefield-like wounds in prisoners. They would then rub glass, wood, metal, and bacteria into the wound, resulting in infection. Blood vessels were tied with a tourniquet to simulate what would actually happen to an actual war wound on the front lines. Since the infection would become so deadly, many prisoners died. Others endured serious injury and agony. (Josef Mengele and The Medical Experiments, Remember.org, The Experiments)
Seawater experiments were conducted to...
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Remember.org. N.p. Web. 20 Dec. 2012
Tyson, Peter. “The Experiments.” NOVA Online. N.p. Oct. 2000.
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