Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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The Experimental Impulse 
Another theme in the diary is Kremer’s sense of being victimized by the “medical establishment,” which rejected his two pet scientific theories. One of those theories was constructed around his claim to have demonstrated the inheritance of traumatically acquired deformities, an idea at odds with all scientific evidence, then and now, and which especially violated the Nazi focus on pure heredity. He had in fact been reproached by the rector of his university for having published an article entitled “A Noteworthy Contribution to the Problem of Heredity in Traumatic Deformations.” His second theory involved a claim that white blood cells and other phagocytes (cells that absorb and digest foreign bodies) are actually tissue cells (from other organs and areas of the body) that have undergone decay or “retrogression.” Here he considered his Auschwitz research especially valuable because the “fresh samples” (taken just before death) he obtained there enabled him to study degenerative effects that could not be attributed to post-mortem changes.54

For while Kremer had been appointed titular professor, he had never been given an actual chair and brooded in his diary about “establishing a small laboratory of my own … once the war is over … [because] I have brought materials from Auschwitz which absolutely must be worked on.” Auschwitz was to be the source of scientific breakthrough and revenge; and that anticipation, along with his general Nazification as well as his combination of overweening ambition and limited talent, contributed to his degree of numbed detachment, which was extraordinary even for Auschwitz doctors. Kremer was imprisoned for ten years in Poland, and again tried back home in Münster, where he was sentenced to another ten years, considered already served. He died in 1965.55  
Male Experimental Block  
A male experimental block was also created from part of Block 28, within the medical area of the main camp. Emil Kaschub, an advanced medical student, was also sponsored by Wirths, who brought him to the block and solicitously inquired about his research needs. Relatively healthy Jewish inmates were subjected to having toxic substances rubbed into their arms and legs, causing severely infected areas and extensive abcesses. The idea apparently was to gain information that would help one recognize attempts by German malingerers to produce such responses in order to avoid military service.56 A prisoner who had worked as a nurse on this block identified some of the material used as “petroleum substances,” which could be injected as well as rubbed into the skin, and gave rise to large inflammations and abscesses containing blackish liquid that “smelled of petroleum” and had to be drained.

The second series of experiments involved applications of lead acetate to various parts of the body, causing painful burns and various forms of discoloration. With both sets of experiments, specimens were sent to laboratories for study, and elaborate photographic work was done to  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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