Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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haemorrhages took place under the skin, the conjunctiva [exposed surface of eyeball] were bloodshot. Rigor mortis set in with a delay of several hours."16

One of the Jewish assistants was a man named Jean Weiss, who described perhaps the most unbearable sequence I encountered:  
It happened on September 28, 1942. I don't know how many were lined up ahead of my father. The door opened and my father came in with a[nother] prisoner. Klehr talked to my father and told him: “You will get an anti-typhus injection.” Then I cried and had to carry out my father myself. Klehr was in a hurry. He injected two prisoners at a time because he wanted to get back to his rabbits [which he raised as a hobby].
The next day, Klehr asked Weiss why he had cried, and Weiss told him. Klehr said that, had he known who it was, “I would have let him live.” When a judge later asked Weiss why he had not told the SDG man at the time, Weiss answered, “I was afraid that Klehr would make me sit down next to [his father]” — and be killed along with him.17

Supplies of phenol were, like other medical drugs, kept in the Auschwitz pharmacy and were obtained as all medical supplies were obtained — by means of requisitions to Berlin. According to a survivor who worked in the pharmacy, the requisition would read “Phenol pro injectione” (“phenol for injection”).

At first, relatively small quantities of phenol were ordered but later between four and ten pounds (two to five kilos) per month. The chief pharmacist, Dr. Viktor Capesius, explained to his underlings that the phenol was to be used in eardrops in combination with glycerin, a legitimate medical preparation. As a judge in the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial remarked, “With that quantity [of phenol] the ears of whole armies could have been treated.”18 The medical pretense, if less than fully convincing, was nonetheless psychologically required, and was retained to the end.

Phenol killing turned the hospital into a place for mass extermination. Klodzinski's estimate that twenty thousand people were killed in the Auschwitz main camp (where most of the phenol killing took place) is especially impressive in that these killings occurred during the twenty months from August 1941 through April 1943 — that is, over five hundred days, since injections were usually not given on Sundays or holidays. Killings averaged thirty to sixty a day, though on some days as many as two hundred were done.  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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