New online lesson: "Medical crimes at KL Auschwitz"
"Medical crimes at KL Auschwitz" is a new online lesson of the Museum that discusses mainly the history of experiments that German doctors conducted on prisoners of Auschwitz. It was created by Teresa Wontor-Cichy from the Research Center of the Museum.
"The victims of the experimentation, inmates of Auschwitz, many of them of Jewish origin, came from various locations all around Europe occupied by Germans. Children were also experimented on. In working with them, German physicians recognized no principles proper for medical practice. As a rule, they violated the most elementary principles of humanitarianism, and medical ethics and deontology. That is why the experiments conducted on inmates should be considered a crime perpetrated by physicians following the Nazi ideology," says the opening chapter.
'Each chapter of the lesson takes a closer look at the story of different experiments conducted at Auschwitz, including mass sterilization of men and women, heredity research by Dr. Josef Mengele, and the effects of the starvation disease, and the testing of new drugs. Also mentioned are surgeries made with no medical purpose by SS doctors for "self-training," and a project of creating a collection of human skeletons supervised by Dr. August Hirth,' said Agnieszka Juskowiak-Sawicka, the head of E-learning at the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust.
The lesson includes fragments of testimonies and trial accounts of men and women, survivors of the experiments, photographs, documents, and biographies of the perpetrators. Much space is devoted to participation in the crimes of universities and research institutes in the Third Reich.
"All the German physicians conducting medical experiments in Auschwitz gathered material necessary for the scientific papers to be written. Some of them were phrased in an absolutely innocent way that may even mislead, suggesting that the experiments they made were aimed at improving the health condition of the camp's inmates or served the general prevention of dangerous diseases. However, as most of the planned scientific works were never written, the conclusions of their authors remain unknown. Their modus operandi, only known from the testimonies of inmates and the archives, offers a terrifying and inhuman picture of the committed crimes. For it turns out that the fundamental principle of medicine, namely saving human life as the supreme value was no more than an empty slogan for the physicians representing eminent research centers and universities of the Third Reich, when their science was spurred by criminal ideology," wrote Teresa Wontor-Cichy in the conclusion of the lesson.
"Medical crimes at KL Auschwitz" is available in English and Polish.