During the Second World War, the Nazis conducted numerous medical experiments on people who had been interned in the various concentration camps, and POW camps as well. These experiments were not only for the sake of either medical knowledge (very little of which was gained) or lust for murder, but rather the sheer, disgusting sadism of those carrying them out.

Inmates of the various concentration camps in the Third Reich, as well as captured POWs (mainly Soviets), were subjected to terrible experiments by some 200 or so German doctors. The actions of these twisted doctors were made completely public to the thousands of other doctors in Germany, though not a single one publicly protested these experiments. Not even during or after the lectures that these death doctors gave in Berlin in regards to their experiments did one give any sign of objection. Possibly this was due to their fear of retribution on the part of the SS, but serious questions about how the Hippocratic Oath applies must be considered.

Some of the gruesome experiments included; placing prisoners in pressure chambers to subject them to high-altitude testing until they ceased breathing; injecting prisoners with lethal doses of typhus, and jaundice; subjecting prisoners to 'freezing' experiments in ice water, or exposed naked in the snow until they froze to death; prisoners were shot with poison bullets, as well as gassed with mustard gas; hundreds of Polish women were given gas gangrene wounds, and allowed to die while being studied; other Polish women were subjected to obscene bone grafting experiments; Gypsies were given nothing but salt water, to see how long they would survive; massive sterilization experiments were conducted, looking for a way to preserve the supposedly 'inferior' slave laborers of the Nazis, while preventing them from breeding; the study of skulls was undertaken by many Third Reich doctors, who liked to study the skulls of the 'inferior races', the skulls were often sent to them with the flesh still around them...

The list of atrocities goes on and on.

Some of the more infamous Nazi doctors:
Karl Gebhardt - Hanged
Fritz Fischer - Life in Prison
Adolf Pokorny - Acquitted
August Hirt - Hanged
Sigmund Rascher - Hanged
Edwin Katzenellenbogen - Life in Prison

Since the end of the war, there has been a debate on how much of the findings of these experiments should be looked at. The first argument is, "We should use this knowledge, however gruesomely it was attained, to help people in the present. Let not their sacrifices have been in vain". The counter-argument is, "By using this information, we would be admitting that these were valid experiments, and that course would not discourage it from happening again".

Some of the information regarding human survival in freezing water has since been studied and applied.

A more in depth look at some of the abhorrent Nazi methods:

  • Eye Dying - The Nazis were fascinated with eye color. One form of torture their twisted doctors would do is to put certain chemicals in the eyes of their prisoners to try and make their eyes change color. This, of course was a very painful experience and most of their prisoners went away blind.

  • Twins Experimentation - The Nazis were also fascinated by twins. Twins who survived the holocaust had different experiences, but many of them remember all sorts of horrors they had to go through. They were taken to labs, injected, blood drawn, body parts measured, used for all sorts medical experiments without their consent. Now they have had to suffer from many diseases and medical problems that no one can explain. Through twins Nazi experimenter Josef Mengele thought he could genetically engineer a flawless race.

  • Hot Bath - The victim was placed in warm water and the temperature was slowly increased. Many victims died due to shock if they were warmed up to quickly.

  • Internal Irrigation - A frozen victim would have water heated to an extreme temperature irrigated to the stomach, bladder and intestines. No one survived this harsh, cruel experiment.

  • Cryogenics - One way they executed this form of torture was by the “icy vat method,” as it was called. The selections were made of young healthly Jews or Russians. They were usually stripped naked and prepared for the experiment. A insulated probe which measured the drop in the body temperature was inserted into the rectum. The probe was held in place by a expandable metal ring which was adjusted to open inside the rectum to hold the probe firmly in place. The victim was then placed in the vat of cold water and started to freeze. It was learned that most victims lost consciousness and died when the body temperature dropped to 25 C (77 F).

These are just a few examples of some of the horrid techniques the Nazis used. It demonstrates humankind at its worst. Hopefully, nothing of this sort shall ever be done again. Let these serve as examples, and to remind us never, ever to torture a fellow human being.

On a lighter note, and I'm surprised that Ninja9 did not mention this, but perhaps the most infamous doctor of them all was Josef Mengele, who was in charge of the "medical research" at Auschwitz and oversaw most, if not all, of the cruel forms of torture listed above.

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