Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Handlungen] in this manner, it would have been almost unbearable for them.” He was being a bit ambiguous about whether he actually saw himself as having performed “criminal acts” or as merely being exposed to them or to the potential for performing them. But it is of some significance that it was in relation to a parent-centered conscience that he came closest to associating his own behavior with the idea of criminality.  
SS Colleagues 
A remarkable aspect of Dr. B.’s adaptation was that his closeness to prisoner doctors did not seem to interfere with his integration with SS colleagues. He tended to defend their behavior and to minimize differences between them and himself, despite glaring evidence to the contrary.

A case in point was his attitude toward his chief, Bruno Weber. Most inmates feared Weber, who seemed to them unfeeling a stickler for regulations and dangerous But Dr. B claimed that Weber had a very “bad press” with inmates because “he appeared to be cold ... and a ... good SS physician” but, “in fact, in a practical way he helped more inmates than I did because of his higher position. The kernel of truth in B .’s claim is that the beneficent atmosphere of the Hygienic Institute would have been impossible without a certain amount of “closet decency” from Weber. But B. needed to go further, to see differences between himself and Weber as no more than differences in “bedside manner” (see page 195). He explained that Weber “played this role … of the stern SS physician” because he was “fearful” of being caught violating SS rules — and that, because of his “ambition .… to make a career in the SS.” Whenever I would point out criminal actions of these other SS doctors - for instance, Weber's participation in selections and in lethal human experiments - B. would neither deny nor condemn that behavior but simply attribute it to the Auschwitz atmosphere or “Auschwitz mentality.” I believe he was trying to tell me that he was no different from them, that he too was part of that Auschwitz atmosphere and Auschwitz mentality that he lived and worked as part of their community and in considerable measure thought like them. His exaggerated claim to sameness was undoubtedly a measure of his integration into that group as well.

During the interview in which he told me about SS doctors contribution to technical problems in burning bodies, I asked him whether he himself would have considered helping with that kind of task and his answer was clearly affirmative: if a “hygienic catastrophe” could have been avoided, he would have certainly “as a matter of course contributed [his] knowledge as with any other problem I also was for me it was also everyday living, you see.“ He was saying to me again and again: I, too, was one of them.  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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