Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
  Page 41  
Previous Page

Home Page
Home Page  
   Next Page
Sterilization and the Nazi Biomedical Vision 
practitioners and traditional medical groups were held and various forms of integration were projected. But these were resisted by traditional medical-academic groups; Wagner was forced to retreat from his integrative efforts, and his successor had considerably less sympathy for the healing practitioners.

The regime’s fundamental conflict here could never be resolved: on the one hand, its attraction to these healers, seemingly consistent with the visionary National Socialist claim to harmony with nature and biology; on the other hand, its equal claim to continuity with scientific and medical tradition and its pragmatic commitment to mobilizing physicians for its medicalized approach to race and society. Clearly, traditional medicine won out, but the regime's continuing relationship to healing practitioners and their massive numbers of clients contributed to its aura as a “healing” movement.62*
Jewish Doctors as Anti-Healers

This claim to special healing power on the part of the “new German medicine” depended upon not only excluding Jews but rendering Jewish doctors a special medical antitype. In one cartoon (originally printed in the notorious journal Der Stürmer), there appeared caricatures of evil Jewish doctors performing abortions on young Aryan women and thereby subverting the Nazi campaign to create pure Aryan children. In another cartoon sequence, with the legend “What happened to Inge when she went to a Jewish doctor,” little Inge is warned by the Nazi Girls League against going to him but does anyhow and encounters a frightening creature threatening to attack her. While claiming to be a healer, that is, the Jewish doctor threatened innocent Aryan girls with physical harm, rape, or abortion, undermined pure German womanhood, and was the enemy of Aryan racial revitalization.63

Moreover, these vulgar images were legitimated in writings by physicians. An article purporting to be a professional overview of the history of Jews in medicine went back to the time of Moses to focus on the Jewish Volk, on its policy of “preservation of purity” and refusal of “contamination” by intermarriage. The Germans were therefore correct in “holding them to this law” and in “guarding against mixing of our blood with Jews.” The medical author then associated Jewish doctors with corrupt commercialism, socialism, and Marxism, self-serving networks of mutual referral, and atomization of medicine in which one focuses on chemistry and physics and “treats sicknesses and not sick people” while “forgetting 
* In 1939, as a lasting expression of its relationship to the “nature movement,” the Nazis opened a new hospital outside Munich that was to epitomize many of the principles of the “new German medicine”: for example, common dining halls, outdoor bathing pools, special indoor physical-therapy centers, and recreation centers. These features would aid physical and mental rehabilitation, prevent “diseases of civilization,” and strengthen “natural. forces of resistance” to diseases that were both physical and psychological. Not a “hospital,” it was a “house of health” (Gesundungshaus).
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
Previous Page  Back Page 41 Forward  Next Page