Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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[institu…] tion; the large selections performed by Nazi doctors at the ramp and the smaller ones within the camp, especially on the medical blocks; the socialization of Nazi doctors to the killing project; the struggles of prisoner doctors to survive and remain healers despite dependency upon Nazi doctors; the use of phenol injections for killing; and the experiments done on Auschwitz inmates and the relation of these experiments to Nazi biomedical principles. Finally, this section includes three studies of individual Nazi doctors: one, that of Ernst B., revealing the ambiguity of Nazi decency; and the other two charting respectively the psychological behavior of Josef Mengele as an ideological fanatic and of Eduard Wirths as a formerly “good man” who set up the entire medical killing machinery of Auschwitz.

In part III, I explore psychological principles drawn directly from Nazi doctors, notably that of "doubling": the formation of a second, relatively autonomous self, which enables one to participate in evil. Then I turn to more general principles of Nazi genocide as they may apply to other and possibly all forms of genocide. The book closes with a somewhat personal afterword. 
The Interviews 
My assumption from the beginning, in keeping with my twenty-five years of research, was that the best way to learn about Nazi doctors was to talk to them; interviews became the pragmatic core of the study. But I knew that, even more than in earlier work, I would have to supplement the interviews with extensive reading in and probing of all related issues — having to do not only with observations by others on Nazi medical behavior but with the Nazi era in general, as well as with German culture and history and with overall patterns of victimization in general and anti-Jewishness in particular.

From the beginning I sought counsel from authorities on every aspect of the era — historians, social scientists, novelists and playwrights (some themselves survivors of camps) — about ways of understanding the regime and its behavior; about readings, libraries, trial documents, and other sources; and about other people to talk to. With the help of foundation grants I began to travel: preliminary trips to Germany in January 1978 and to Israel and Poland in May and June of that year. I lived in Munich from September 1978 through April 1979, during which time I did the greater part of the interviews, mostly in Germany and Austria, but also again in Poland and Israel, as well as in France, England, Norway, and Denmark. In January 1980, I did more work in Israel and Germany; and in March of that year, I interviewed three Auschwitz survivors in Australia. I have never been so intense a traveler nor so engrossed or pained a psychological investigator.
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
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