Holocaust Essay

2315 words - 10 pages

Can you imagine having no rights to your own body? How about being cut open with no sedatives or freezing to death in a tank of ice water? Most of the Holocaust victims who were test subjects in the Nazi medical experiments endured those things. According to Baruch C. Cohen’s “The Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi Experiments,” during the Nuremberg trials after World War II, twenty doctors were convicted and charged with “War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity...revealed evidence of sadistic human experiments conducted at the Dachau, Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps” (15). The Nuremberg trials brought fourth the attention to the ethics of the doctors while ...view middle of the document...

The Sterilization Law made sure people suffering from any genetic illness were forced into being sterilized. So basically if you were not to the liking of the Nazis then you were not allowed to have offspring. The Nuremberg Laws were health regulations the Jewish people had to subject themselves to. Lastly, Hitler started issuing orders to kill anyone who was incurably sick, by euthanasia. This was the start of the extermination of the non-German people.
While some doctors were performing the three ways of obtaining “racial cleansing”, most of the doctors at the different concentration camps started performing their own experiments. Each torturous act was characterized by many different features: “1. persons were forced to become subjects in very dangerous studies against their will” (Cohen 3), meaning the inmates did not have to give the doctors consent in order for them to run tests on them. “2. nearly all subjects endured incredible suffering, mutilation, and indescribable pain” (Cohen 3). The Nazi doctors refused to give the inmates any type of medication or sedative, because they wanted the inmates to suffer. Even though the Nazi doctors tried to say that it was all “research” they had one goal in mind, which leads to “3. the experiments often were deliberately designed to terminate in a fatal outcome for their victims” (Cohen 3). This shows that the Nazis were being unethical and they were going against a big part of the Hippocratic oath, “to do no harm”.
The Nazi experiments were put into three different categories: “Medico-Military Research; Miscellaneous, Ad Hoc Experiments; and Racially Motivated Experiments” (Cohen 3). The Medico-Military experiments were said to be for military and medical purposes, because they were necessary for the military to gain more knowledge of medical issues during wars. The Nazis also tried to justify themselves by saying that the inmates were going to die anyways, so the experiments did not really make a difference.
One of the main experiments the Nazis performed on the male inmates was the hypothermia experiment. They were conducted on men, because the Nazis wanted to see the best way to get to their German soldiers who would freeze to death in the Eastern Front. This experiment was primarily conducted at Dachau, under the supervision of Dr. Weltz and his assistant, Dr. Sigmund Rascher (Bekier 4). This medical experiment was publicized at a medical conference in 1942 titled “Medical Problems Arising from Sea and Winter”. The freezing experiment was broken up into two different parts. They first wanted to see how long it would take to lower the bodies temperature to the point of death and then they wanted to find the best way to resuscitate the victim. In order to freeze the victims the Nazis would put the victim in an icy tank of water for up to eight hours at a time (Bekier 4). Or another method would be to put the victim outside naked and strap them onto a stretcher “in sub-zero temperatures for...

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