Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Prisoner Doctors: Struggles to Heal 
[Men…] gele so that her number could be taken to be included among those very few who were to be permitted to survive. Her insistence that she would not consider “staying alive alone” was interpreted to Mengele by another prisoner doctor present as meaning that she had a mother in the camp who was still young and strong and could work; and Mengele, after first protesting, gave in and took the mother’s number as well. And, at the second and liquidating selection of the Czech family camp soon afterward, König not only arranged for mother and daughter to survive once more but, when the prisoners were forced to march naked before the SS doctors, much to Eva C.’s humiliation (all the more so because she knew them): “I [could] catch a glimpse of [König’s] eyes looking straight in my eyes and no place else, and I was very grateful for that.” She sensed that he was reassuring her that “things would be all right, that he was a friend”: “I felt he cared.” 

But her evaluation of König’s attitude was: “He made me a kind of pet, ... and when there was a kind of skit when the lower SS people had a special party with the higher SS people — there were amusing skits — I heard about it — in which he was teased because of always bringing presents — cigarettes, food, and so on, to the ‘beautiful artist.’” Her persistent ambivalence concerning the relationship emerged in what is for a survivor an ultimate question “He saved me. But I sometimes wonder, if I had the chance to save his life, whether I would.”

In these relationships, women prisoner doctors could uncover pockets of humanity in Nazi doctors and thereby, save lives. At times they could do so by means of a calculated psychological attitude. Dr. Lottie M., for example, who had studied with the early psychoanalyst August Eichhorn, tried to apply to SS men, and even Nazi doctors, what Eichhorn had emphasized as the best attitudes with which to approach juvenile delinquents:
Either say something very, severe in content, and friendly in the way of saying it — or the opposite, you say [something] friendly but in a strict way.... So [Eichhorn] said, “If you have this little boy, you say, ‘Well, Franky [in a stern tone], it's the last time that I'll help you out of this mess.’ Or, you say [in a soft tone], ‘Frank, you know that I like you — I think you are a nice and clever boy — but what you have now done is impossible and I have to punish you’” .... And I thought — well all of the SS people are like that, so the best way would be to treat them like that.
She combined those approaches with occasional surprise, candor, and even humor. (When an SS doctor overheard her referring to him in a derogatory way in French, which she had not thought he understood, and said threateningly to her, “Have you finished complaining about me?” she replied, “No, I have not finished but, if you wish, I will interrupt myself and stop,” causing him to look astounded and to slam the door  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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