Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
  Page 326  
Previous Page

Home Page
Home Page  
   Next Page
power reversal and became newly considerate toward inmates, Dr. B. went considerably further. With Allied armies approaching, he discussed with prisoner doctors possible arrangements for their escape from Nazi control, including the idea of providing them with SS uniforms. He then shook hands with them and “said goodbye in a very friendly way,” and as a last act took a pistol out of his drawer and gave it to one of them for their protection. While he admitted to an element of a self-serving motivation, he also later explained, “There existed the ... likelihood that another massacre … could happen…. I had a few pistols — why should they lie around?”

During the last days of Dachau, Dr. B was advised by prisoner friends to go into hiding for a short period because the atmosphere immediately after the Nazi defeat would be such that “anyone in an SS uniform [would] be beaten to death”; afterward he could emerge and clear himself with the inmates’ help. He did that briefly, was taken into custody under a false name by the Americans at Dachau, and for a time protected by former inmates who when brought in to identify SS personnel, intentionally “didn't see me.”

After about a year in custody his identity was discovered and he was put on trial. He told me that, at that time, “I personally did not feel guilty.” B. spoke of his sense of “togetherness” toward SS officers in prison with him and of his macabre feeling when some were given the death penalty. He began to be worried when it became clear that the Russians were in charge and might want to create a show trial.

Former prisoner doctors rallied behind Dr. B. with impressive testimony on his behalf. Women doctors from Block 10 notably validated his claim that the experiments he did there harmed no one and saved many lives. The professor who had been so close to him and Delmotte organized testimony from many who had worked in the Hygienic Institute and testified himself that Dr. B. “stood up for the rights of all prisoners … with admirable bravery [and] with truly cordial helpfulness … far beyond the usual laws of humanity.” The professor. told how B. had saved his life after a severe stomach hemorrhage and how “among the inmates of the Hygienic Institute a veritable ‘Dr. B.’ cult came into existence, which accorded him not only reverence and respect but also sincere gratitude and love.”

This professor expressed similar sentiments in a personal letter to Dr B., which included a warm and detailed account of the former’s experiences during the two years since the end of the war, and stated, “You know very well what I owe to you. I am convinced that without you I would not have stayed alive.” In addition, he wrote of his chagrin at finding the Hygienic Institute destroyed when he went back with an investigative commission to inspect the area, along with his pleasure at discovering that scientific records were still intact. In a later letter he asked Dr. B. about additional scientific data from the Hygienic Institute and suggested their publishing a joint article with the possible institu- […tional]  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
Previous Page  Back Page 326 Forward  Next Page