Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
 
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The Experimental Impulse 
 
also a doctor, referred to Clauberg as “one of the worst characters I ever met.”*

Clauberg’s assistant in Auschwitz, Dr. Johannes Goebel, worked on producing the necessary caustic substance as well as improved X-ray tracing material and, although not a physician, was given the prerogative of performing many of the injections.15 The number of women these two men are believed to have sterilized in this fashion has been estimated from seven hundred to “several thousand.”16 According to the nurse Sylvia Friedmann, when a woman died after injection Clauberg “showed absolutely no interest, no reaction, as though the matter didn't concern him at all.” There were a number of such deaths.17

As Russian troops approached Königsshütte, Clauberg fled to Ravensbrück and arranged for some of his research victims to be sent there as weil; despite the extreme chaos, he continued with his sterilization experiments. But with the approach of the Allied armies three months later, he fled again, this time to Schleswig-Holstein, seeking to join the last group of loyal SS leaders surrounding Himmler, the only Auschwitz doctor to do so. But Himmler was captured and committed suicide; and Clauberg too was captured by the Russians on 8 June 1945. Imprisoned in the Soviet Union for three years before being tried, he was then convicted of war crimes and sentenced to twenty-five years’ imprisonment. But following Stalin’s death (in 1953), and various diplomatic agreements, Clauberg was repatriated with other Germans in October 1955. He was not only unrepentant but grandiose and bizarre: he listed on his professional card various Nazi medical organizations, including the “City of Mothers” he had run as part of his involvement in “positive eugenics,” and advertised for a secretary under his own name. When interviewed by the press, he spoke proudly of his work at Königsshütte and Auschwitz and claimed, “I was able to perfect an absolutely new method of sterilization ... [which] would be of great use today in certain cases.”18

After various pressures from survivor groups and others, Clauberg was arrested in November 1955; but for a considerable time, the German Chamber of Medicine, the official body of the profession, resisted action against him that would divest him of his title of doctor of medicine. A group of former prisoner physicians of Auschwitz issued an impressive declaration condemning Clauberg’s actions there as being “in total disaccord with the sworn duty of every doctor,” and bitterly decrying the fact that “such medical practitioners who … put themselves at the service of National-Socialism to destroy human lives … are today in a position to practice once more the profession which they have profaned in such a scandalous manner.”19 The German Chamber of Medicine finally did remove Clauberg’s license. But when he died, suddenly and mysteriously, in his prison cell on 9 August 1957, the general belief was that he was
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* He added, “it was said he [Clauberg] was a Jew himself [of course, he was not]: at any rate he looked like it. And [also] because he was extremely careful to obscure his traces.”   
 
THE NAZI DOCTORS:
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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