Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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To begin with, a prisoner immediately had to polish his motorcycle, on which he always came. Subsequently, he went directly into the doctor’s room, had his boots taken off by a prisoner, and his feet washed. At the same time, another prisoner had to brush and polish his fingernails. He then sat in the middle of the room, smoked a pipe, had his feet in a tub, and sometimes had eight prisoners who were to read his every desire in his eyes, dance about him. He acted altogether like a Pasha. So, for instance, a prisoner tailor had to appear to take his measurements. He dictated some notes to another prisoner. Simultaneously, the Camp Senior of the Medical Block had to appear and give a report ... on the events in the medical block. The prisoner pharmacist had to bring him medicines, which he [Klehr] took with him .... He did all this, however, only when the camp doctor was not present.34
As surprising as any other aspect of his behavior was a “medical” reversal he underwent upon being transferred, in the fall of 1944, to the outer camp Gleiwitz where he worked on a medical block and no longer did injections. A Czech inmate observed that “Klehr changed considerably. He was responsible for no more brutalities there and was generally decent.” The same inmate overheard a conversation between Klehr and his wife in which in response to her question about whether he was involved in any of the terrible things that went on in Auschwitz, he replied “I am an SDG. I heal here and do not kill ”35 After his wife’s visit, he was reported to have become even more insistent upon improving camp conditions for prisoners. This Czech inmate was also impressed with Klehr’s wife and children (permitted to live nearby for a period of time) and seemed unable to understand how Klehr could have such a family.36 He is believed to have killed by injection thousands of inmates.

Like the actual doctors, he was able to switch quite readily, at least for a time from killer to healer, with the help of the influence of his family especially his wife (who could visit more often in Gleiwetz). The deteriorating situation at the front might also have been responsible — that is, fear of facing enemy justice. But in his representation of himself at his trial, Klehr suggested the very opposite of repentance and little of the healer seemed to be present in him in the courtroom He was convicted at the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial and sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional fifteen years of hard labor.37 (I shall discuss in chapter 20 this kind of contradictory behavior in connection with the Auschwitz self of the Nazi doctors.)

Klehr was estimated to have participated in the murder of between 10,000 and 30,000 persons (through selection or actual injections). Only 475 cases could be directly proven, plus complicity in about 2,000 more deaths. His sentence of 475 counts, for murders committed “on his own initiative (Eifer) with particular deceit (Heimtücke),” was the highest imposed at the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial. When the sentences were  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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