Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Underlings like Brack and physicians like Clauberg suggested projects they knew to be consistent with Himmler’s ideas and policies. Brack’s passion for sterilization and castration could also have been related to his own experience as a patient who had undergone X-ray treatment, and had consulted a medical authority about his fears that the treatment might have caused bodily harm, specifically to his genitals. Brack was also the son of a gynecologist, and a failed medical student with medical aspirations of his own. By June 1942, at the height of the German military penetration into Russia, Brack became more specific and programmatic. Referring to consultations with his superior and with the head of the area in Poland where the greatest number of Jews was concentrated, he spoke of the necessity of carrying through “the whole Jewish action [the Final Solution]” but estimated that two million to three million of the ten million Jews in Europe were fit enough to work and therefore should be “preserved” but at the same time “rendered incapable of propagating.” Ordinary sterilization methods being used for hereditary diseases would take too much time and be too expensive, but “castration by X-ray ... is not only relatively cheap, but can be performed on many thousands in the shortest time.” He referred to “completed experiments”* and declared himself ready, even eager, to initiate such a project. But Himmler, ever the scientist, insisted that “sterilization by X-rays ... [be] tried out at least once in one camp in a series of experiments.”28 Schumann was chosen for the task and by late 1942, was at work on X-ray castration on Block 30 in Birkenau.

Schumann did not have Clauberg’s extraordinary standing in Auschwitz, but his experiments were, if anything, even more sinister. Comparing the two, Dr. Tadeusz S. understood Schumann to have been “ordered by somebody to do … experiments … not original. Clauberg was the only one with his own ideas …. Schumann was inspired by … ideologists.” Dr. Marie L. went further in declaring that Schumann’s “manner of proceeding revealed a total absence of knowledge of gynecological anatomy.”

Schumann’s appearance was also the opposite of Clauberg’s: tall, broad-shouldered, elegant in his Luftwaffe uniform, his face described by some as handsome and others as “brutish,” and thought by Dr. L. to be “a representative of the new German racist ideal.” Some inmates described him as correct but a prisoner secretary added that he was “cold” and “revealed no human feelings in regard to the prisoners.”29 Over all, these descriptions suggest a quiet, undistinguished version of Nazi-style hauteur, along with an attitude of detachment and absence of concern. His experimental policies were brutal and unrestrained. He
* In his Nuremberg defense, Brack claimed that, in referring to these nonexistent experiments, he had been manipulating Himmler by seeking to plant in his mind an alternative to the Final Solution as a way of stalling the whole process.27 The evidence is that Brack was manipulating Himmler, but in order to press ahead at full speed with the castration-sterilization project. Such a kernel of truth could have enabled him to utter his false testimony with something approaching conviction.   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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