Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Treitschke’s stress was on the “intrusion” of Judaism into what had to be a “Christian-German state,” and on the danger that the children of these alien people from the East (that is, eastern Europe) “would one day dominate” Germany’s institutions, especially the economy and the press.46 That fear of Jewish “domination” seemed to many German doctors to have been borne out in their profession. In large cities, Jewish doctors could constitute as much as 50 percent of all physicians. And although they made up about 13 percent of physicians in Germany in general, even that far exceeded their general percentage of the population. Beyond their numbers, many German-Jewish physicians had achieved great prominence and worldwide fame as a result of their scientific accomplishments. The situation was especially intolerable to the Nazis, who were relying on the profession to articulate and carry out their bold and malignant biomedical vision. That expectation of “racial leadership” was what led Hitler to lay particular stress on “the cleansing of the medical profession.”48

The essential violence in hard-core Nazi doctors’ attitudes toward Jewish colleagues in the new Third Reich was expressed, within two months of Hitler’s becoming chancellor, during an anti-Jewish boycott campaign. In Berlin, on 1 April 1933, they used such tactics as contacting Jewish colleagues for ostensible consultations and having them picked up by car (sometimes supplied by the same German doctors), in which they were taken to remote places and beaten and left bleeding — or else threatened and humiliated them by making them run the gauntlet, hitting them with sticks, and exposing them to the sound, of fire.49 At early professional conferences, there were indications of what was to come, as doctors in the chair spoke of “a foreign invasion. . . from the East [that] constitutes a menace to the German race,” and of the “imperative necessity that this menace be ... suppressed and eliminated.”50

Official measures against Jews also began in early 1933: prohibition — at first with exceptions, which were gradually eliminated — of Jewish doctors from joining (and eventually from continuing earlier association with) the important national health insurance panels; step-by-step limitations on Jewish medical practice — early prohibition of all Jewish medical practice would have decimated German medical care — until, on 3 August 1939, as a “fourth amendment” to the Nuremberg Laws, the medical licenses of all Jewish doctors were nullified. There were characteristically legalistic definitions of who was a “non-Aryan” or Jew; and prohibitions, during periods when Jewish doctors were allowed to practice or to see non-Jewish patients, and parallel discouragement and subsequent prohibition of Aryan doctors from seeing Jewish patients. Eventually, Jewish doctors were not permitted to be referred to as physicians but only as “treaters of the sick,” and Jewish surgeons as “specialized treaters in surgery.” Before being forced to leave, or being incarcerated or killed, Jews had to be divested of their membership in the anointed fraternity of physician-healers.51  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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