Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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went into what became for him a characteristic end-of-the-interview diatribe in which he blamed the atmosphere of brutality “brought about by the Russian troops,” the “declaration of war” by Chaim Weizmann, the “Zionist leader, against the Germans, and the “brutality of the air raids on Germany.”

In all this, S. presented himself not only as a biological idealist but as a “reasonable Nazi” countering the excesses of others. He defended the concept that “there are certain qualities of the Nordic race,” and claimed that this was “a scientific idea,” and that “we wanted to call forth the spiritual substance of the northern European, really European culture [Kultur, in Nazi usage, could mean ‘racial culture’]”: “Just have a look at who’s running your country. . . basically the Nordic race.” But he would grant that the German people were a mixture of races, and that “we saw things too narrowly” in equating Volk with race. He attributed these errors, however, to insufficient knowledge of genetics at the time — that is, to a kind of innocence.

Clearly a fierce anti-Semite at least during the Nazi era, S., upon learning that I was Jewish, declared unctuously, “The Jewish question became our tragedy and your tragedy.” He explained that it was initiated “by the flood [of Jews] from the East”, and by Darwinian principles enabling Jews to become especially able “through such a hard selection during these two thousand years” to take so many medical positions that German doctors were excluded from; but he added, “Nowadays we know that all of us, Jews and Germans, belong to the same cultural community” and must stand together against the “adverse cultural community,” including China and Russia but especially the expanding numbers of the people of Islam, which “is where the danger comes from.” Except for rearranging his cast of characters, Dr. S. had not changed much. Racially, he practiced what he preached, and had an enormous family: “I have always believed that those who are fit should have as many children as possible, and those who are unfit should have as few ... as possible.”

His attitude toward Hitler was generally worshipful: “He ... was an extraordinarily nice person, and took care of his men just like a father . ... he was a genius ... brilliant . . . had an incredible memory,” and was not responsible for such excesses as “euthanasia” or the killing of Jews, which were the work of men like Himmler maneuvering behind Hitler’s back. Moreover, “Hitler was not really anti-Semitic” but  “of course ... got angry when the Jews started a war against him” (here Dr. S. was referring to a 1941 book by Theodore N. Kaufman, entitled Germany Must Perish!).* Yet S. could also say that it was very unfortunate that Hitler had
* Published in 1941, this book does indeed advocate “the extinction of the German nation and the total eradication from the earth, of all her people” — an end to be accomplished, ironically enough, by a systematic, “main and thorough” program of “Eugenic Sterilization.” The rationale for such a program is the prevention of future wars, given the existence from virtually the beginning of history of a German “war-soul” or “war-lust” manifesting itself in one way or another .46 The book was seized upon by Nazi propagandists generally in terms not unlike Dr. S.’s.   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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