Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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[crema… ] toria could not handle the number of arrivals, Georgi “became braver and more brutal” and at times had victims brought “by the Sonderkommando to the burning trench, [where] they were ordered to lie down, and [he] shot them one after another.”8

The mass killing was done systematically, with elaborate organization:  
There were five crematoria where about 800 prisoners worked. The crematoria consisted of four rooms especially built for them, as well as a converted room that had been a farmhouse before. In each crematorium about 180 prisoners worked ....

In each oven about 800 corpses could be burned within 24 hours. That was not sufficient. Further mass graves were dug, which were about 2 meters deep, 10 meters long, and 5 meters wide, to burn humans ....

When the four crematoria were no longer sufficient to exterminate the growing transports, . . . we had to throw the corpses into burning trenches. There the Germans found out that, to save benzine, human fat could be poured on the corpses and drained into a lower trench. We poured the human fat from pails on the people so they would burn faster. Here we worked from May 1944 to October 1944. We worked 12 to 16 hours daily; four SS men were next to each crematorium and were helped by 180 prisoners. The fire burned continuously — day and night.
No wonder that "the horrible screaming of these people I still hear in my mind to this day and I cannot get rid of it."9

Hilberg has pointed out that the four Birkenau crematoria could burn a maximum of about 4,400 bodies a day. But in May and June, Hungarian Jews alone were being gassed at nearly 10,000 a day, so that the added trenches were required for burning bodies. When those trenches had to be dug, the four Jewish Sonderkommando units contained a force of between fifteen hundred to two thousand men, and by August 1944, over twenty thousand corpses were burned on certain days.10

The doctors were central to the elaborate medical subterfuge, as Dr. Henri Q. stressed: 
The [Nazi] doctors’ . . . collusion in deception ... was a real staging; ... a Red Cross truck to reassure people, and in that truck was the prussic acid that was to kill them. There was a Red Cross ambulance when transports arrived. Those details were meant to appease people. When one sees an ambulance, one thinks there is medical care. It was a deliberate psychological manipulation to keep people from reacting ....

There were trucks where sick and old people, children and pregnant women were told to get on. People believed that the Germans were
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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