Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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This combination of efficiency, extreme randomness, and brutality and humiliation, was especially true of camp selections. Dr. Jacob R., a Czech-Jewish prisoner doctor, described how “sometimes the SS would take a whole Kommando — tell them to take down their trousers — and look to see if they had no buttocks or gluteal muscles [indicating near starvation and weakness] — and then send them to the gas chambers.” Wolken told how the selecting doctor chose prisoners who “for some reason or another, didn’t please him .... There was no medical examination,” so that a friend of his “was sent to the gas chamber simply because of an old wound from an appendicitis operation.” For, as he added, “the fact that such a doctor could in ten minutes inspect all the prisoners in a block, an average of 500 people, gives some idea of how selections were carried out.”5

Marianne F. described the process as even more haphazard and unpredictable:  
This [the criteria for selection] frankly never [had] any rhyme nor reason — because when I had typhoid fever and I look like this [she made a grotesque face] — no hair and a skeleton [and I was not selected]. But people next to me, before me, and behind me, that had survived already — five, six months — and already looked halfway more normal — were taken. You did not know.
And she went on to describe how it felt to be exposed (as she was from January to May or June 1943) to twice-daily selections, upon leaving the camp for work in the morning and upon returning at night: 
The day — you got up at four o’clock, and it was pitch dark, I mean in winter ... then you — roll call, and you stood, and stood, and stood ... sometimes two hours or more — lines of five — until the roll call tallied. And. that — to this day I don’t know — I can’t figure out how it was tallied. I mean how the numbers were supposed to tally, because gobs of people ... died overnight, . . . the people that were beaten to death, . . . as they didn’t want to crawl out [of their bunks to come out for the selection]. I mean, I never could figure out what their mathematics were. But it had to be very precise mathematics, because sometimes if the roll call didn’t tally we stood till seven and to eight o’clock! And then, as soon as you were through with the roll call, you always marched out .... Orchestra on the left, [playing] rousing marches. On the right, the doctor and the Arbeitsführer [chief of work] — and selection.

Sometimes it was Mengele only, sometimes it was [one of] the others [among the doctors] only, sometimes it was both .... They would just stand there at the gate — that was part of their duty .... You would come up to the gate and [there would be the order] “Stop!” And he [Mengele or the other doctor] would look down the row, . . . look at the faces.
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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