Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
  Page 85  
Previous Page

Home Page
Home Page  
   Next Page
Resistance to Direct Medical Killing 
And Ewald stressed that he spoke from many years of close professional observation, as a man who has had the opportunity “to really look into the psyche of his patients and of the people” to a much greater extent than “the best theorist . . . [or] statistician” concerned with hereditary research.12*

Ewald had been initially sympathetic to the Nazis, according to his widow, whom I interviewed in a nursing home: “He said his Heil Hitler enthusiastically like everyone else.” Nazi Party, documents confirmed this attitude, describing him, in 1939, as politically “reliable” and as having a “positive political attitude toward the Third Reich.”13 Yet Ewald’s persistent attempts to gain Party membership during the 1930s were repeatedly refused for what were always described as merely “formal” reasons. Those formal reasons turned out to be related to Ewald’s First World War injury, which had led to amputation of one of his forearms. As a “militarily disabled one-armed person” (as one investigation put it),14 he was prevented from serving actively in the SA or an equivalent organization; he joined the SA Reserve so as to engage in their military maneuvers despite his handicap, as he had earlier those of the since-dissolved völkisch Freikorps “Oberland” which he joined in 1923. In being approved for renewal of his Göttingen professorship, Ewald was described in 1939 by a local Nazi personnel officer as “completely sympathetic to the aspirations of the NSDAP [the National Socialist German Workers’, or Nazi, Party].”15

The Party documents further explained that an exception to formal requirements could be made for certain outstanding people considered “particularly desirable and regarded as a particular prize for the work of the Party,” but that Ewald did not meet this criterion. The possible implication is that his professional standing, though certainly solid, was not outstanding; or that his Nazi identification, though strong, was not absolute. The latter “shortcoming” is suggested by his having placed (in late 1938, when he was director of the Göttingen State Hospital and after these judgments had been made) a Jewish. patient eligible for work rehabilitation with a German farm family — an incident that outraged Party officials.16

Yet he had what his widow called a “kind of connection“ with Hermann Göring through having treated, and kept in the Ewald home, one of the
* Ewald received replies to the letter from his dean, Dr. Stich (cautious agreement and return of documents), from Conti (friendly disagreement), and from the state official, but apparently none from Heyde or Matthias Göring.

† The local Nazi leader in Mengershausen reported to the district leader in Göttingen that this Jewish patient had been observed at church festivals dancing with “German girls.” This official then wrote to Ewald: “The understanding of the Third Reich of agrarian estate does not allow under any circumstances the presence of Jews on German farm land.” Moreover this Jew’s appearance in public had caused offense. Ewald returned the patient to the state hospital immediately, after explaining that he had been pressured by the government of Hanover to put as many patients as possible in home care because it reduced the burden to the state. Also, farmers were short of help and competed for such patients. However, no more Jews would be sent to farms
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
Previous Page  Back Page 85 Forward  Next Page