Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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direct extension of the biomedical vision, but also mention other forms of experimentation and scientific enterprise, including the establishment of a museum collection of Jewish skulls provided by Auschwitz.  
Block 10 
The center for these experimental projects was the notorious Block 10, a place that could be considered to be quintessential Auschwitz. Made up mostly of women prisoners, it was located in the men's camp, and the windows were kept closed and shuttered or boarded so that communication with the outside was totally cut off. One woman prisoner doctor who spent a year there described how, from the first night, she gained a lasting impression of having been transferred to a “horror place” that resembled both hell and a mental institution. And if one could peek out, one would witness executions, prisoners being shot to death in the courtyard of the infamous Block 11.

At the same time, inmates on the block were completely vulnerable to visits and surveillance of various kinds by SS doctors and, on occasion, by nonmedical officers: “A continuous coming and going of SS ….[so that] we never felt safe.” For any visit could mean new danger, and inmates therefore “awaited with impatience … the evening when we would be locked up as animals in a cage but … nonetheless felt freer.”¹

Another woman prisoner doctor, Adelaide Hautval, told of the five hundred women “guinea pigs,” all Jewish, from various countries in Europe, who were usually selected directly from transports, according to the needs of the Nazi physician experimenters: “Some required married women, others young girls, a third a mixture of all the categories.” Overall conditions were superior to those in the women’s camp, because there the “guinea pigs … would have died before the results of the experiments could have been assessed.” Inmates suffered from hunger, nonetheless, and from the constant uncertainty about “What will it be this time?” For they had absorbed the Auschwitz principle that anything is permitted. At the same time the women deeply feared a transfer to Birkenau where they knew death was more likely, because in Block 10 there was at least a hope that “maybe they will still let us live after this,” though few believed that possible.²

The block was divided into separate research areas: those of Professor Clauberg Professor Schumann (both sterilizers), Dr. Wirths and his brother (who studied pre-cancerous growths of the cervix) and a special area for studies conducted by the Hygienic Institute.

Inevitably, there was a dimension of Auschwitz schizophrenia: in this case, the twenty-two prostitutes — mostly Germans, Poles, and Russians — the only non-Jewish residents of Block 10. On Himmler's orders, the SS opened bordellos at Auschwitz and other camps. Available to élite  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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