Josef Mengele and the Nazi doctors tortured men, women and children and did medical experiments of unspeakable horror during the Holocaust. Victims were put into pressure chambers, tested with drugs, castrated, frozen to death. Children were exposed to experimental surgeries performed without anesthesia, transfusions of blood from one to another, isolation endurance, reaction to various stimuli. The Nazi doctors made injections with lethal germs, sex change operations, removal of organs and limbs.



Medical Experiments:

High-Altitude 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.

Incendiary Bomb Experiments
to test the effect of various pharmaceutical preparations on phosphorous burns. These burns were inflicted on the victims with phosphorous matter taken from incendiary bombs, and caused severe pain, suffering, and serious bodily injury.

Freezing Experiments
to investigate the most effective means of treating persons who had been severely chilled or frozen. The victims were forced to remain in a tank of ice water for up to 3 hours. Extreme rigor developed in a short time. Numerous victims died in the course of these experiments. After the survivors were severely chilled, rewarming was attempted by various means. In another series of experiments, the victims were kept naked outdoors for many hours at temperatures below freezing. The victims screamed with pain as their bodies froze.


Sea-water Experiments
to study various methods of making sea water drinkable. The victims were deprived of all food and given only chemically processed sea water. Such experiments caused great pain and suffering and resulted in serious bodily injury to the victims.

Malaria Experiments
to investigate immunization for and treatment of malaria. The victims were infected by mosquitoes or by injections of extracts of the mucous glands of mosquitoes. After having contracted malaria the victims were treated with various drugs to test their relative efficacy. Over 1,000 victims were used in these experiments. Many died and others suffered severe pain and permanent disability.

Mustard Gas Experiments
to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by Mustard gas. Wounds deliberately inflicted on the victims were infected with Mustard gas. Some of the victims died as a result of these experiments and others suffered intense pain and injury.

Sulfanilamide Experiments
to investigate the effectiveness of sulfanilamide. Wounds deliberately inflicted on the victims were infected with bacteria such as streptococcus, gas gangrene, and tetanus. Circulation of blood was interrupted by tying off blood vessels at both ends of the wound to create a condition similar to that of a battlefield wound. Infection was aggravated by forcing wood shavings and ground glass into the wounds. The infection was treated with sulfanilamide and other drugs to determine their effectiveness. Many victims died as a result of these experiments and others suffered serious injury and intense agony.

Spotted Fever (Typhus) Experiments
to investigate the effectiveness of spotted fever and other vaccines. Numerous victims were deliberately infected with spotted fever virus in order to keep the virus alive - over 90 percent of the victims died as a result.

Experiments with Poison
to investigate the effect of various poisons upon human beings. The poisons were secretly administered to the victims in their food. The victims died as a result of the poison or were killed immediately in order to permit autopsies. In or about September 1944 the victims were shot with poison bullets and suffered torture and death.


The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of millions of Jews by the Nazi regime during World War 2. In 1933 approximately nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed.

The European Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust. But Jews were not the only group singled out for persecution by Hitler’s Nazi regime. As many as one-half million Gypsies, at least 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons, and more than three million Soviet prisoners-of-war also fell victim to Nazi genocide. Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists, Polish intelligentsia and other undesirables were also victims of the hate and aggression carried out by the Nazis.


The number of children killed during the Holocaust is not fathomable and full statistics for the tragic fate of children who died will never be known. Some estimates range as high as 1.5 million murdered children. This figure includes more than 1.2 million Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands of institutionalized handicapped children who were murdered under Nazi rule in Germany and occupied Europe.


Holocaust Deaths

Country/Region

Estimate

Germany (1938 Borders)

130,000

Austria

65,000

Belgium & Luxembourg

29,000

Bulgaria

7,000

Czechoslovakia

277,000

France

83,000

Greece

65,000

Hungary & Ukraine

402,000

Italy

8,000

Netherlands

106,000

Norway

760

Poland & USSR

4,565,000

Romania

220,000

Yugoslavia

60,000

TOTAL

6,017,760


Source:
Nizkor Project statistics derived from Yad Vashem and Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution.


The world outside Nazi Europe received numerous press reports in the 1930s about the persecution of Jews. By 1942 the governments of the United States and Great Britain had confirmed reports about the Final Solution - Germany's intent to kill all the Jews of Europe. However, influenced by antisemitism and fear of a massive influx of refugees, neither country modified their refugee politics. No specific attempts to stop or slow the genocide were made until mounting pressure eventually forced the United States to undertake limited rescue efforts in 1944.

In Europe, rampant antisemitism incited citizens of many German-occupied countries to collaborate with the Nazis in their genocidal policies. There were, however, individuals and groups in every occupied nation who, at great personal risk, helped hide those targeted by the Nazis.

One nation, Denmark, saved most of its Jews in a nighttime rescue operation in 1943 in which Jews were ferried in fishing boats to safety in neutral Sweden.


- Louis Bülow
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