Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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highly ideologized, intellectually undisciplined and fundamentally anti-intellectual, insecure and radically arrogant.

Also affecting their behavior were powerful blocks to empathy and compassion for patients. Several Nazi doctors stressed the absence of any principle of empathy in their medical education; and although the emergence of doctors with minimal empathy is a worldwide phenomenon it is probably fair to say that it has been especially true of German medicine independent of the Nazis. The Nazis of course accentuated the pattern in cultivating medical versions of their principle of hardness, which reached an extreme of brutalized cynicism in the comment of a Nazi physician to the SDG Desinfektor inserting the gas: “Now go on and give the Jews their feed.”7  
The Schizophrenic Situation: Doubling 
The SS doctor was deeply involved in the stark contradictions of the "schizophrenic situation" that Ernst B. considered to be the key to undestanding Auschwitz; I see it also as a further expression of "extraterritoriality" - of the sense that what happened there did not count. The heart of that schizophrenia for doctors lay in the idea of doing constructive medical work within a "slaughterhouse." A related dimension of the schizophrenia, as B. explained, was the "split situation" between the idealism of a world-bettering great German state along with the specific Nazi "world blessing" - and what he called (still reluctant to speak directly of mass murder) "the other situation, the one working with those ... methods there."

Dr. Magda V. was impressed by the difference in behavior, of some doctors when performing selections: “It was . . . a different person, . . . doing different things. I'm telling you, . . . they were schizoid.” She was trying to say that they seemed to be two different people. Rohde for instance, when doing selections, would “be uneasy, . . . probably . . . louder or, you know, rougher certainly.” Tadeusz S. recalled Rohde’s firing a shot into the air from his pistol on one occasion when “he saw people going to the gas chamber after he had sent them there,” out of “a combination of anger, being drunk, and anxiety — a problem of conscience.” Nonetheless Rohde “was doing exactly the same things [selections] as the others.”

There were gradations depending upon a doctor’s attitude toward selections: Rohde, according to Dr. V., “hated it” and drank heavily; König “was extremely disciplined, . . . considered it a duty” ; Mengele “was detached … like he would exterminate vermin” ; and Klein “enjoyed it, the bastard.” Tadeusz S characterized Horst Fischer and Friedrich Entress as “the worst murderers … [who] had faces like priests . . . but were very cold.” But the inner division present in most was  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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