25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients

25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients

Jacob Miller - July 28, 2017

The Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on a large number of prisoners conducted in concentration camps during World War II and the Holocaust. The most common populations for experimentations were the Romani Gypsies, Soviet POWs, the disabled, homosexuals, twins and Jews.

The Nazi physicians and their assistants forced prisoners to participate in barbaric experiments. The experiments are considered medical torture and resulted in trauma, disfigurement, permanent disability, and death.

At Auschwitz and other camps under the direction of Eduard Wirths and Aribert Heim, inmates were subjected to horrific treatments allegedly designed to help German military personnel in combat situations, develop new weapons, and aid in the recovery of military personnel who had been injured. Carl Vaernet conducted experiments in attempts to ‘cure’ homosexuality.

Among the litany of horrific experiments were the experiments on twins designed to show the genetic similarities of twins, performed on nearly 1,500 sets of twins. Only 200 people survived these studies. Other studies included bone, muscle, and nerve transplantation experiments, experiments on the effects of head injury, freezing and hypothermia experiments, malaria treatment experiments, mustard gas experiments, experiments of making seawater drinkable, sterilization and fertility experiments, and experiments on the effects of high altitudes on humans.

After the war, these torturous crimes were tried at what is known as the Doctors’ Trial. The Nazi doctors argued that their experiments were of military necessity. This defense was wholeheartedly rejected by the Tribunal. There was no way to apply this defense to the twin experiments conducted by Josef Mengele which had no connection to military necessity at all.

25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Twins Yehudit and Lea, some of Mengele’s test subjects. they and their mother survived the war. 1930s. Pinterest
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Eduard, Elisabeth, and Alexander Hornemann. The boys, victims of tuberculosis medical experiments at Neuengamme concentration camp, were murdered shortly before liberation. Elisabeth died of typhus in Auschwitz. Guenther Schwarberg
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Seven-year-old Jacqueline Morgenstern, later a victim of tuberculosis medical experiments at the Neuengamme concentration camp. She was murdered just before the liberation of the camp. Paris, France, 1940. Guenther Schwarberg
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Twins were often subjected to horrendous Nazi experiments to try to understand their unique genetic similarities. Pinterest
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
“Mengele’s Twins”. The Malek family lived in the village of Moisei in Transylvania under Hungarian rule. Josef Malek and his wife Mathilda had six children including two sets of twins. In May 1944 the family was sent to Auschwitz. Following the war, the surviving twins returned to Romania and stayed in a children’s home in Cluj. This photograph was taken in the home and shows the young twins Eliyahu and Yaakov Malek. Pinterest
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Nazi physician Carl Clauberg (at left), who performed medical experiments on prisoners in Block 10 of the Auschwitz camp. Poland, between 1941 and 1944. Instytut Pamieci Narodowej
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Josef Mengele and the medical experiments to investigate the limits of human endurance and existence at extremely high altitudes. The victims were placed in the low-pressure chamber and thereafter the simulated altitude therein was raised. Many victims died as a result of these experiments and others suffered grave injury, torture, and ill-treatment. Pinterest
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
A victim of a Nazi medical experiment is immersed in icy water at the Dachau concentration camp. SS doctor Sigmund Rascher oversees the experiment. Germany, 1942. Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
A cold water immersion experiment at Dachau concentration camp presided over by Professor Ernst Holzlöhner (left) and Dr. Sigmund Rascher (right). The subject is wearing an experimental Luftwaffe garment. Haaretz
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
A Soviet prisoner of war, victim of a tuberculosis medical experiment at Neuengamme concentration camp. Germany, late 1944. Guenther Schwarberg
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
A hand of a prisoner with signs of an experiment made by Dr Emil Kaschub. He used various toxic substances to inject and see what it causes. The aim of his research was to find methods of faking injuries among German soldiers. Auschwitz
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
A photo taken by the members of Soviet medical team documenting criminal experiments performed on prisoners in the camp. Auschwitz

25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Soviet soldiers inspect a box containing poison used in medical experiments. Auschwitz, Poland, after January 27, 1945. Wytwornia Filmow Dokumentalnych I Fabularnych
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
United Nations personnel vaccinate an 11-year-old concentration camp survivor who was a victim of medical experiments at the Auschwitz camp. Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp, Germany, May 1946. United Nations Archives and Records Management Section
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Four Polish women arrive at the Nuremberg train station to serve as prosecution witnesses at the Doctors Trial. From left to right are Jadwiga Dzido, Maria Broel-Plater, Maria Kusmierczuk, and Wladislawa Karolewska. December 15, 1946. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Concentration camp survivor Jadwiga Dzido shows her scarred leg to the Nuremberg court, while an expert medical witness explains the nature of the procedures inflicted on her in the Ravensbrück concentration camp on November 22, 1942. The experiments, including injections of highly potent bacteria, were performed by defendants Herta Oberheuser and Fritz Ernst Fischer. December 20, 1946. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
A war crimes investigation photo of the disfigured leg of a survivor from Ravensbrueck, Polish political prisoner Helena Hegier (Rafalska), who was subjected to medical experiments in 1942. This photograph was entered as evidence for the prosecution at the Medical Trial in Nuremberg. The disfiguring scars resulted from incisions made by medical personnel that were purposely infected with bacteria, dirt, and slivers of glass. DIZ Muenchen GMBH, Sueddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Friedrich Hoffman, holding a stack of death records, testifies about the murder of 324 Catholic priests who were exposed to malaria during Nazi medical experiments at Dachau concentration camp. Dachau, Germany, November 22, 1945. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Victor Brack, one of the Nazi doctors on trial for having conducted medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Nuremberg, Germany, August 1947. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Herta Oberhauser, who was a physician at the Ravenbrueck concentration camp, is sentenced at the Doctors Trial in Nuremberg. Oberhauser was found guilty of performing medical experiments on camp inmates and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Nuremberg, Germany, August 20, 1947. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Wladislava Karolewska, a victim of medical experiments at the Ravensbrueck camp, was one of four Polish women who appeared as prosecution witnesses at the Doctors Trial. Nuremberg, Germany, December 22, 1946. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Waldemar Hoven, head SS doctor at the Buchenwald concentration camp, during his trial before an American military tribunal. Hoven conducted medical experiments on prisoners. Nuremberg, Germany, June 23, 1947. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Nazi physician Carl Clauberg, who performed medical experiments on prisoners in Block 10 of the Auschwitz camp. Place and date uncertain. Dokumentationsarchiv des Oesterreichischen Widerstandes
25 Images of the Nazi Medical Experiments: Murderous Doctors and Tortured Patients
Josef Mengele, German physician and SS captain. In 1943, he was named SS garrison physician (Standortartz) of Auschwitz. In that capacity, he was responsible for the differentiation and selection of those fit to work and those destined for gassing. Mengele also carried out human experiments on camp inmates, especially twins. Place and date uncertain. National Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau

 

Sources For Further Reading:

History Collection – The 10 Cruelest Human Experimentation Cases in History

The Lancet – Nazi Medicine And Research On Human Beings

Boston University – Should Doctors Learn from Nazi Medical Research on Holocaust Victims?

Holocaust Memorial Museum – The Doctors Trial

Famous Trail – The Nuremberg Trials: The Doctors Trial

The Irish Times – Is It Acceptable To Use Data From Nazi Medical Experiments?

History Collection – 16 of the Worst Experiments the Government Performed On Humans

History Collection – The True Story Behind Japan’s WWII Human Experiment Division

History Collection – Evil Doctors and Scientists From World War II

Jewish Telegraphic Agency – German Physician Loses Medical License for Torturing Nazi Victims

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