Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Doubling: The Faustian Bargain 
Auschwitz self sufficiently to remain inwardly divided and unable to imagine any possibility of resolution and renewal — either legally, morally, or psychologically.

Within the Auschwitz structure, significant doubling included future goals and even a sense of hope. Styles of doubling varied because each Nazi doctor created his Auschwitz self out of his prior self, with its particular history, and with his own psychological mechanisms. But in all Nazi doctors, prior self and Auschwitz self were connected by the overall Nazi ethos and the general authority of the regime. Doubling was a shared theme among them. 
Doubling and Institutions 
Indeed, Auschwitz as an institution — as an atrocity-producing situation — ran on doubling. An atrocity-producing situation is one so structured externally (in this case, institutionally) that the average person entering it (in this case, as part of the German authority) will commit or become associated with atrocities. Always important to an atrocity-producing situation is its capacity to motivate individuals psychologically toward engaging in atrocity.27

In an institution as powerful as Auschwitz, the external environment could set the tone for much of an individual doctor's “internal environment.” The demand for doubling was part of the environmental message immediately perceived by Nazi doctors, the implicit command to bring forth a self that could adapt to killing without one’s feeling oneself a murderer. Doubling became not just an individual enterprise but a shared psychological process, the group norm, part of the Auschwitz “weather.” And that group process was intensified by the general awareness that, whatever went on in other camps, Auschwitz was the great technical center of the Final Solution. One had to double in order that one’s life and work there not be interfered with either by the corpses one helped to produce or by those “living dead” (the Muselmänner) all around one.

Inevitably, the Auschwitz pressure toward doubling extended to prisoner doctors, the most flagrant examples of whom were those who came to work closely with the Nazis — Dering, Zenkteller, Adam T., and Samuel. Even those prisoner doctors who held strongly to their healing ethos, and underwent minimal doubling, inadvertently contributed to Nazi doctors’ doubling simply by working with them, as they had to, and thereby in some degree confirmed a Nazi doctor’s Auschwitz self.

Doubling undoubtedly. occurred extensively in nonmedical Auschwitz personnel as well. Rudolf Höss told how noncommissioned officers regularly involved in selections “pour[ed] out their hearts” to him about the difficulty of their work (their prior self speaking) — but went on doing that work (their Auschwitz self directing behavior). Höss described the Auschwitz choices: “either to become cruel. to become heartless and no longer  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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