Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Prisoner Doctors: Collaboration with Nazi Doctors 
movement against the French Occupation in Cologne. Probably for these reasons, he arrived in Auschwitz with instructions that he be afforded special consideration; and although then sixty-two years old, he was not selected for the gas chamber.

He first worked at Buna, where at least one prisoner doctor who became ill remembers him as rendering considerate medical help. But before long he was transferred to Block 10, where his gynecological experience was put to use as he became increasingly involved in the experiments on women conducted there. One of his major activities was the surgical removal of the cervix from a considerable number of women who were part of the “research project” conducted by Eduard Wirths on pre-cancerous growths (see pages 391-92). Some inmates claimed that he was a little more considerate than Nazi doctors who did the operation in that he removed less of the cervix, but most prisoner doctors were impressed by Samuel’s extreme “diligence” in working closely with the Nazis. Furthermore, he denounced to Nazi doctors another prisoner physician who refused to continue to give anesthesia for his operations. There was also some evidence that Samuel made reports on inmates to the notorious Political Department.

Of the people I interviewed who knew Samuel, only one made a positive comment. A woman who had been subjected to sterilization procedures on Block 10 remembered him as having been “kind to us,” as having spoken gently to the Jewish victims, and as having attempted to make whatever procedures he and others performed on them as painless as possible. But she may have wished to see a Jewish doctor in that favorable light. Certainly most former prisoners I spoke to, Jewish or otherwise, remembered Samuel as either arrogant or pathetic, or both.

They also recognized that he was a broken man. His wife had been killed upon their arrival in Auschwitz with their nineteen-year-old daughter. The daughter was selected for work, and there was a strong impression that Samuel’s activities were part of his desperate efforts to save her life. He went so far as to write a letter from the camp to Himmler himself, pointing to his own First World War record and pleading that his daughter be spared. (The letter was left unsealed in the block office, where it was seen by another prisoner doctor.)

Then, in the middle of the experiments, Samuel was suddenly put to death. Speculations I heard from survivors about why he was killed varied greatly. Some stressed the extensive skin lesions or eczema he developed (which a few survivors attributed to his extreme tension and fear) as having rendered him too sick to be any longer useful, or caused his face to become “repulsive” to the SS. Other survivors spoke of his argumentativeness and conflicts with Clauberg; still others thought he had become superfluous with the arrival of a younger Jewish woman doctor, Wanda J., to take charge of Block 10. But most of all, inmates considered him to have seen and done so much as to have reached the dangerous status  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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