|AUSCHWITZ THE RACIAL CURE
|highly ideologized, intellectually undisciplined and
fundamentally anti-intellectual, insecure and radically arrogant.
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:
| 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 Rohdes
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 doctors 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