Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Prisoner Doctors: The Agony of Selections  
N., for instance, told of a courageous prisoner physician whom she considered a “heroine of abortions.”

On one occasion, Dr. N. herself was present when the Hungariandoctor induced labor in a woman who was not far from delivering.* As Dr. N. said, the Hungarian doctor's focus was to “save the life of the woman,” and “she [the doctor]. did it at the risk of her own life,” depending upon the fact that “nobody talked — there was . . . a silent conspiracy.” Dr. N. spoke of the psychological pain of everyone involved: “For the mother [it was] something terrible. But it was strange enough — the women in the end agreed. Some said no, I don’t want it. They [would] rather die together with the children. But at the end they all agreed. Some of us said, ‘Oh you can have another baby still [in the future], and so on.’”

There were other accounts of newborns left in the block to die and of others being strangled or suffocated in order to avoid detection. For Dr. N. stressed that, had the SS found out, they would have insisted that the Hungarian doctor and helpers — and not they (the Nazis) themselves — were “murderers.”

Dr. Olga Lengyel has written poignantly about these matters in her book Five Chimneys (1947), where she describes the necessity, when infants were delivered on the medical block, to “make [them] pass for stillborn.” She tells of sneaking a woman onto the block for a delivery: “[Afterward,] we pinched and closed the little tike’s nostrils and when it opened its mouth to breathe we gave it a dose of a lethal product. An injection ... would have left a trace.” Of her own residual guilt, Dr. Lengyel says: “Yet I try in vain to make my conscience acquit me. I still see the infants issuing from their mothers. I can feel their warm little bodies as I held them. I marvel to what depths these Germans made us descend!” And who cannot be haunted by her terrible additional comment: “And so, the Germans succeeded in making murderers of even us.”7

Dr. Cohen, in his “confession,” commented more generally: “As a student, as a doctor, you ... had such very different things in mind."8
* Dr. N. was not sure of the method employed (“I think she gave some [form of] injection”) but saw her make use of a portable stand “like a little operating table” and “a little instrument … very primitive.”   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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