Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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nearby T4 facility at Hartheim was thus requested. Since the need here was simply for space, there were no questionnaires or experts. Camp personnel made selections, and those killed included slave laborers from the East, Russian prisoners of war, Hungarian Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and above all Muselmänner.*

Hartheim also received shipments from Dachau and Ravensbrück. Even prisoners who might have worked were eliminated in this situation. Gold dental work was removed and sent to the T4 center. Apparently so many prisoners were designated for killing that gassing was resumed at Hartheim. The facilities there were finally dismantled in December 1944, at which time the turn-of-the-century Renaissance castle became a children’s home, intended to camouflage what had happened there. At Hadamar this was the point at which slave laborers from the East, diagnosed categorically as “tubercular,” were being injected on SS orders (see pages 100-102).17

A close observer notes that 14f13 was initially aimed at exterminating those in the camps who had psychiatric disturbances; and that, given the crudeness of the deceptions employed it is difficult to understand why Himmler did not trust his own camp doctors to execute the selections, since with the criteria applied any SS sergeant could have acted with the same competence .. . . [and] the expert professors could have put on their signatures in Berlin18. The answer I believe, lies in the powerful Nazi impulse sometimes conscious and at other times inchoate to bring the greatest degree of medical legitimation to the widest range of killing.

The 14f13 project provided two crucial bridges between existing concepts and policies and unrestrained genocide There was first the ideological bridge from the killing of those considered physiologically unworthy of life to the elimination under the direction of doctors of virtually anyone the regime considered undesirable or useless: that is, from direct medical to medicalized killing The fraudulence of the process was clear enough even to those carrying it out — even one of the 14f13 doctors put quotations around the word “examination” when writing to his wife19 — but the continuing medical idiom served ideological and psychological purposes for individual participants.

The second is the institutional bridge from the T4 project to the concentration camps (these had been established in 1933 [see chapter 7]). The camps themselves became connected with a principle of medical-eugenic killing. The sequence in managing the killing was from T4, to the central offices and inspectorate of the camps in general, to ever-enlarging greater initiative from individual doctors. In that way, camp doctors increasingly took over the function of “euthanasia,” and that function merged with their participation in mass murder. This sequence was made clear in an investigative report by the SS judge Konrad Morgen on corruption in the
* “Musselman” or “Moslem” was camp jargon for the living corpses who were so named, according to Hermann Langbein, because “when one saw a group of them at a distance, one had the impression of praying Arabs”16   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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