Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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over competing alternatives; no longer subject to the German “torn condition.” Rather, it was to become part of “a monolithic unit, bound together by blood and fate.”90 In applying that communal cure, the Nazis created something on the order of “racial time” as an ultimate dimension in which took place the cosmic struggle for Aryan health and against Jewish infection — ultimate, because it allegedly determined the outcome of events in conventional historical time (the First World War, Weimar, etc.) In its primal nature and timelessness, “racial time” was a vulgarized counterpart of what Eliade has called “mythic time,”91 and connected every act of mass murder to a vision of mystical unity.

The violent cure must draw, however selectively, upon existing intellectual tradition. The Nazis found that tradition in Nietzsche, whom they interpreted as advocating war as therapy for weakness and the cultivation of “that deep impersonal hatred, that cold-blooded murderousness coupled with a good conscience, that communal, organizing zest in the destruction of the enemy” as a path to collective health.92* Above all, Nietzsche’s vision was one of all-consuming illness and cure. The condition, he declared, was “not … sickness but sickliness,” by which he meant perpetual weakness and concern with morality.93 Nietzsche went on to declare that “one is healthy when … one feels that the ‘bite’ of conscience is like a dog biting on a stone — when one is ashamed of one’s remorse,” and one can attribute “more health of soul” to a criminal who “does not slander his deed after it is done” than to the sinner who “abase[s] himself before the cross.”94

To be sure the Nazis said nothing of Nietzsche’s repeated mocking of German chauvinism ( German had become an argument. Deutschland, Deutschland über alles a principle; the Teutons … the ‘moral world order’ in history)95 of anti-Semitism, and of  “the morality of races and classes.” What mattered was that Nietzsche could bring to a vision of cure what he himself called  “the magic power of extremes” and his declaration, that “we have to be destroyers.”96

That one-sided Nietzschean vision was more important to the Nazis than any formal psychological system They did sponsor scientific-psychological work claiming to demonstrate the role of the Jew as the “anti-type,” so constructed biologically and sociologically as to have a disintegrative effect on the larger German community.97 And they had some sympathy for Jungian psychology, particularly at the time of Jung’s collaboration with Nazi psychiatry and his insistence on distinctions between the Aryan and the Jewish unconscious.98 But more fundamentally the Nazis rejected introspective psychology because, as Rosenberg insisted, “the Nordic soul is not contemplative and … does not lose itself
* Nietzsche had nothing to do with the nation- and race-centered “German ideology” long prominent in German intellectual life, and specifically important to the development of Nazi ideology. Such towering independent cultural visionaries who have made militant metaphorical calls for killing in the name of healing are probably necessary to genocidal movements for legitimizing their own literal application of that principle.   
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

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