Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Sterilization and the Nazi Biomedical Vision 
The story of Carl Clauberg reveals the inseparability of the Nazi concepts of positive and negative genetics. A gynecologist who became a professor, Clauberg’s early research on female hormones in collaboration with the Schering-Kahlbaum Pharmaceutical Company produced, during the late 1920s and early 1930s, the preparations known as Progynon and Proluton, or the treatment of infertility. After being introduced to Himmler in 1940, Clauberg began to concentrate his research on the development of nonsurgical methods of mass sterilization, eventuating in the notorious Auschwitz sterilization experiments which will be discussed in chapter 15. And as late as the latter part of 1944, Clauberg was back at research on sterility and reproduction as chief of a new institution known as the “City of Mothers.”67

In another expression of positive eugenics, doctors were active in research on people viewed as hereditarily gifted, and in helping to enlist the medical profession for what was called the “fostering of talent.”

They were also active in a criminal aspect of positive eugenics known as Lebensborn, or “Spring of Life.” Heinrich Himmler had created this institution as part of his plan “to breed the SS into a biological élite, ... [a] racial nucleus from which Germany could replenish an Aryan inheritance now dangerously diluted through generations of race-mixing." Lebensborn administered welfare assistance to SS families in the service of “racially valuable” children, and extended maternity and childcare facilities to married and unmarried mothers. But Lebensborn also engaged in the kidnapping of “biologically valuable” children (those who met Nordic criteria) in occupied areas, some of them fathered by German occupiers. The policy was explained plainly on one occasion by Himmler himself: “I really intend to take German blood from wherever it is to be found in the world, to rob it and steal it wherever I can.”68

Doctors were central to Lebensborn; its medical director, Gregor Ebner, was an “old medical fighter” said to have been personally close to Himmler. Ebner was solicitous of his Nordic babies (once boasting that “in thirty years’ time we shall have 600 extra regiments”); he applauded the kidnappings, signed orders for sterilizing “nonvaluable” (insufficiently Nordic) children, and supervised a “medical” sequence in which some of those children judged “nonvaluable” were shipped to their deaths in concentration camps.69
While it has been estimated that only about 350 doctors “committed medical crimes,” that figure represents a vast wave of criminality, as Alexander Mitscherlich has written,70 and was perhaps only “the tip of the iceberg” as he told me. Nor does that figure include the legions of German doctors who slandered and extruded their Jewish colleagues; or who perpetrated and acted upon vulgar and discriminatory racial concepts.

Thus, while a few doctors resisted, and large numbers had little sympathy for the Nazis, as a profession German physicians offered themselves to  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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