Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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and leave the room) She acknowledged, “You had to be in a certain position” to act so boldly (she was German and non-Jewish and also held a leading medical position); but she had learned to use such attitudes, she added, not only from Eichhorn but from Magda V., a Jewish woman prisoner doctor who was notably poised in her relationships with SS doctors.

Magda V. herself, in further discussing Rohde, made an observation about psychological influence: “I might have influenced Rohde without knowing [it] .... Maybe I inhibited Rohde .... It's very, very difficult to kill somebody whom you know for five years or . . . five days.... You develop a certain association.” But she had to admit that saving lives was extremely difficult; “Everything was really very quick .... They were selected, and half an hour later, they were up in smoke.” 
Medical Values and Medical "As If" 
SS doctors’ deception and hypocrisy were pervasive. Dr. V. told how Klein “pretended to be nice” and was “everyone’s picture of a family doctor .... smallish, roundish, . . . a nice family-type of doctor who was very concerned about you.” And when a woman with a fifteen-year-old daughter once complained to him about their not receiving treatment from V. herself, Klein patted the child’s head and told the mother, “My, dear, not to worry.... You're going to hospital. I'm going to look after you.” But V. “knew what it meant: the gas chamber for both.” She further asked, “How can a doctor who’s trained to save lives do this?”

The sequence she perceived, at whatever level of consciousness, was something like this: He and I are both physicians committed to healing; he not only violates our oath but does it while pretending to be a kindly healer; I must depend upon him in order to survive and remain a genuine healer, but to do so requires me to become enmeshed in what he is doing and to run the risk of becoming like him.

Here a key theme in the prisoner doctors’ struggle was what Dr. Jacob R. called “keeping one’s medical values” as a means of “keeping alive as a human being” and “resist[ing] accept[ance] of the values of the camp.” One could combine a certain numbing with low-key activity, so that for this doctor, “it was ... not important to be a leading personality” but preferable rather to focus on quietly helping patients and “to do what is possible under the general circumstances.”

The difficulty was that they had to work within a medical structure that was both part of the killing and built on deceptions of the medical “as if” situation. As Dr. Henri Q put it: 
In the hospital that the Germans have finally created for the inmates, ... a temperature chart, an observation sheet is much more important  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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