Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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we have seen, he could be impressively reasonable, professional, and professorial in “guiding” other doctors, especially younger ones, in their participation. This activist psychiatrist-organizer and administrator of direct medical killing extended his participation in killing to the camps in the 14f 13 program (see chapter 6).

After the war, Heyde escaped from custody; he obtained false papers and worked at a number of  jobs. Finally he obtained a position as a sports physician in a school near Kiel, where — under the pseudonym of Dr. Sawade — he began to give expert medical legal opinions in various cases including psychiatric ones. As he earned a lot of money and lived flamboyantly, his true name and identity began to be known to leading political and judicial figures in the area, as well as to psychiatrists and other physicians. He was finally exposed by Professor Creutzfeldt, who recognized Heyde’s hand in what the elderly anti-Nazi considered an objectionable forensic opinion, and one that countered his own; when Creutzfeldt wavered, his two physician sons pressed him to see the matter through. The court prepared an impressively detailed pre-trial dossier; but, in 1961, Heyde was found dead in his cell, a suicide, before the trial could begin. The episode resembled earlier SS suicides at the end of the war, and there remains widespread suspicion that Heyde was helped, perhaps even pressured, to kill himself by people with ties to the SS, possibly including other doctors, who had infiltrated the guards and did not want the trial to be held.18

Heyde was ä relatively ordinary psychiatrist whose passionate involvement with German nationalism and the Nazi vision of change led to near-absolute willingness to subsume professional principles to the Party, the SS, the Gestapo, the overall Nazi project. It may be that men like him held to the visionary Nazi principle of killing in the name of healing, while at the same time they had some awareness of being involved in filth and killing. But by means of psychological mechanisms I shall explore throughout this study, he was able to minimize that awareness and to continue to feel justified in what he was doing. He also undoubtedly had psychopathic and sadistic tendencies, but these need not have been exceptionally prominent until called forth by his involvement with the Nazis. His career reveals to us how far certain doctors could go, propelled by ideology and by institutional arrangements, in abnegating a prior professional self and applying their medical skills to killing. 
The Brutalized Physician: Hermann Pfannmüller  
Hermann Pfannmüller (1886-1961) — who, like Heyde, joined the Party in May 1933 — is another example of the corrupted, Nazified psychiatrist. It was this senior psychiatrist who, in his late fifties and director of an institution, held up by the legs a starving, nearly dead three-year-old child and declared, laughing: “This is the most simple method” (see  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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