Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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found, to make dental X rays in the expectation of finding tooth infections. And he claimed that the women were later smuggled out of the block by means of a system that included declaring them dead and bribing the “brothel capo” to let them make their exit with the group of prostitutes who lived on Block 10 but left daily for work on other blocks. When Dr. B. himself was on trial, women he had in this way experimented upon testified to the life-saving nature of his actions, as did several prisoner doctors, male and female.

Yet Ernst B. was candid enough to describe, during our interview, the multiplicity of elements that motivated him to do the experiments. There was the satisfaction of getting individual people out of Clauberg’s ward and, thereby “getting at Clauberg [whom he and his chief hated].” Also, it meant helping “a relative of one of the inmates in my command with whom I was good friends.” In addition, he had heard that Clauberg’s experimental victims included “physicians and [other] highly qualified women.” It helped to discover that the brothel made “it not so . . . difficult as we had thought to get them out.”

But in addition to all that, Dr. B. had a motive similar to the motives of many others doing experiments: “These experiments … interested me.” The opportunity to have available the necessary people for such experiments "would have been most difficult … under any other circumstances.” In other words, he too was drawn to the experimental opportunity Auschwitz provided an admission confirmed by his having worked with male research subjects, who were in no danger from Clauberg.

While we shall discuss Dr. B. at greater length in chapter 16, we can say here that, for Nazi doctors in Auschwitz and other camps, the impulse to experiment was powerful and many-sided; and so extensive was the atmosphere of human experimentation that expressions of it, feigned or partially feigned, could, at least on rare occasions, be used for the specific purpose of saving lives.  
Further Contradictions 
The Hygienic Institute’s small unit on Block 10 was a source of further contradiction. It was generally thought of as a haven — no selections, pleasant working conditions, and real medical duties having to do with bacteriological and hematological problems. To some extent that unit extended the generally benign atmosphere of the Hygienic Institute’s central Auschwitz location in Raisko, a town on the outskirts of Auschwitz. Thus Dr. Marie L. could commend the “very competent medical staff, Jewish men and women work[ing] there” as "a great help to us because they were “always ready to do secretly the analyses needed” by which she meant submitting reports, usually negative, that helped patients. And considerable makework, very large numbers of blood and urine analyses and fecal, saliva, and throat cultures, was carried on in the Block 10 unit.
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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