Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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have one or both twins put to death so that he could obtain needed scientific information from post-mortem study (see also pages 349-54). Her later reluctance to testify against Mengele had to do not only with his having saved her life, which could be reason enough, but with her need for her own distancing and numbing in relationship to the “scientific” project she was part of.

Sometimes a prisoner doctor could cling to self-aggrandizing scientific accuracy at the possible expense of others’ lives. For example, one Jewish professor insisted upon identifying as a special form of tuberculosis a syndrome of bone infection encountered in Auschwitz and (as Dr. Jacob R. described) tried to persuade everybody to agree with him, until colleagues pressed him not to because it was known that “at Auschwitz the diagnosis of tuberculosis was tantamount to death — at least for Jews.”

More usual was the code among prisoner physicians that, even with straightforward clinical research — as in work done in the laboratories of the Hygienic Institute — one avoided reporting results that could harm inmates. Therefore, in the case of diphtheria, as Dr. Michael Z. tells us, a positive report would have meant selection for the gas chambers and therefore signing their death warrant. He added, “How many tens of sputum specimens where Koch [tuberculosis] bacilli were swarming do we report as negative?” We may say that the true healing task of the prisoner doctor was to make use of his or her knowledge not only of medical science but of Auschwitz medicalized killing in making reports and diagnoses whether accurate or falsified that would best sustain the lives of prisoners 
The Noma Office: Berthold Epstein  
That principle was very much at issue in one of the many examples of research collaboration between SS and prisoner doctors in Auschwitz.

One prisoner doctor described a sequence in which Mengele approached Professor Berthold Epstein a distinguished prisoner pediatrician, proposing that, in return for “an extension of his life,” he help prepare research that Mengele could publish under his own name. Epstein was granted a day to think the matter over. As an old man from an assimilated Czech Jewish background in Prague who “had extravagant notions of honor,” he was indignant that Mengele “wanted to rob him of his soul.” But his colleagues quickly convinced him that “an attitude of this kind at a distance of three hundred meters from a crematorium was far from being realistic”; and that, “under the pretext of scientific research,” prisoner doctors could do a great deal of good for other inmates and also enhance their own status.

Epstein then proposed research on the treatment of noma, a severe,  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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