Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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The Experimental Impulse 
admitted that Himmler’s words “made a great impression on me.” Brack in any case extended the shared fantasy to include assembly-line sterilization “quite imperceptibly” from behind a counter where the ignorant victim was required to fill in forms for about two or three minutes:  
The official sitting behind the counter could operate the installation in such a way as to turn a switch which would activate the two valves simultaneously (since the irradiation has to operate from both sides). With a two-valve installation about 150-200 persons could then be sterilized per day, and therefore, with twenty such installations as many as 3,000-4,000 persons per day … As to the expenses for such a two-valve system, I can only give a rough estimate of approximately 20,000-30,000 RM (Reichsmarks).22 
The idea was consistent with not only the larger Nazi biomedical vision but also the specific characteristics of Heinrich Himmler’s thought. Himmler, Joachim Fest has accurately noted, wished to see himself as “not a murderer but a patron of science.” He was, moreover, a patron who took an active part in determining the concepts and methods of scientific enterprises under his auspices. In the Nazi movement, he was the pseudo-medical scientist par excellence, the personal and ideological epitome of the healing-killing reversal.* Trained initially in agriculture, he combined nature mysticism with a kind of biomechanics and fancied himself something of a medical visionary. He combined Rosenberg’s racial vision with Walther Darré’s agricultural mysticism: it is believed to have been Darré “who urged Himmler to transfer his attention from the breeding of herbs and the raising of chickens to human beings.”25† And Himmler’s wife Margarete, a nurse, is said to have interested him in “homeopathy, mesmerism, oat-straw baths, and herbalism.” As Joachim Fest makes clear, Himmler’s language was consistently biomedical: “There was talk of ‘fields of racial experiment,’ ‘nordification,’ ‘aids to procreation,’ ‘the foundations of our blood,’ ‘fundamental biological laws,’ ‘the ruination of our blood,’ ‘breeding of new human type,’ or ‘the botanical garden of Germanic blood’ — truly the visions of a poultry farmer from Waltrudenng!” 26
* Himmler’s vision had varying gradations of absurdity and pseudo science. For instance, he was an ardent believer (as were Hitler and Göring) in such expressions of mystical racism as the idea that the lost continent of Atlantis had been the original homeland of the Aryans, and that Aryans had not evolved from monkeys or apes like the rest of mankind but had descended to earth from the heavens where they had been preserved in ice from the beginning of time. Himmler, in fact, in 1937 established a meteorology division in the Ahnenerbe (see pages 284-87) to “prove” this “cosmic-ice” theory, though publicly the purpose of the new division was announced as developing new techniques for long-range weather prediction. Sympathetic to nature healing and an equally ardent critic of traditionalism and “Christian” prejudices of establishment doctors, he could view human experimentation in concentration camps as a form of liberation from these constraints in the name of bold scientific innovation.24

†Darré, the Reich farmers’ leader and Reich food minister, was a “blood and soil” ideological theorist who glorified the German peasant as the driving force of history.   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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