Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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[Ger…] man-centered history), regulations for faculty (getting rid of Jews and the ideologically recalcitrant and promoting faculty members who manifested Nazi enthusiasm), as well as student and admission policies (excluding Jews and Social Democrats and favoring stellar members of the Hitler Youth, the SA, or the SS).53 .

Equally important was Gleichschaltung from below: militant behavior on the part of the National Socialist Student League, which organized early, soon came to dominate or replace traditional student groups and formed an arrogant subculture with intense camaraderie and more than a tinge of violence. Its members broke up lectures that displeased them, and understood their task as opposing all teaching that was not rooted in National Socialist doctrine. When the Education Ministry found it necessary to tone down the students, it passed the mantle of Gleichschaltung from below to the Nazi League of University Instructors, whose leader understood his organization to be “the appointed trustee of the National Socialist Party at the universities to see that universities and scholarship are not only painted brown [the Nazi color] but really made over to fit the pattern of National Socialism.”54

Medical students were told that they required “the synthesis of the marching boot and the book”: that is, concrete involvement in military or paramilitary training as students and commitment to an all-out “war” against alleged enemies of Germany or National Socialism. Becoming a biological soldier, then, meant placing one’s body and mind in the service of the militarized and ideologized authority of the state.

The Nazis sought to combine their radical alterations of universities with the claim to be part of ennobling tradition. A dramatic effort at this legitimation was the elaborately, staged 550-year jubilee celebration at the University of Heidelberg in June and July of 1936. The rector of the university stressed “the devotion of the new Germany, to the task of universal civilization and its sponsorship of high intellectual achievement in all fields of learning.” Delegations came from all over the world, including representatives from eight universities in the United States Among the Americans who received honorary degrees were Harry. H. Laughlin, Davenport’s assistant at Cold Spring Harbor and a tireless polemicist against immigrant groups he considered biologically in inferior; and Foster Kennedy, a physician advocate of putting to death “the utterly unfit” among young retarded children.55* Both men were sympathetic to the Nazi sterilization laws.

In addition to purges of Jews and the politically unacceptable, medical faculties de-emphasized basic research, shortened the time of medical study to produce more doctors for the state, and modified the classical
* At the celebration, Harvard University delegates invited German universities to send representatives to their two-hundredth anniversary celebration later that year. British universities showed greater ethical sensitivity in refusing to send delegates to Heidelberg, after an exchange of correspondence in the London Times in which it was declared that “Heidelberg stands in the forefront” of German persecution of professors and lecturers for racial, religious, and political reasons.56   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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