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 Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Marek P., vividly described how deadly injections were given in the same hospital room where he routinely assisted with surgical operations: 
This time there was a table prepared with syringes. The phenol was in a bottle. There was cotton — everything you needed for an injection. There was also alcohol, as with ordinary injections — and rubber tourniquets. There was just one table … and the right hand [of the victim] was put out on a kind of support table [to hold the arm steady], as with a regular intravenous injection, [and] the rubber tourniquet on the arm to apply the pressure to make the vein visible — all in the usual way.  … Mengele [who performed this killing] then rubbed alcohol on the spot, just under the elbow, that he was using for the injection, and then injected the phenol. … He did it as though he were performing regular surgery.
Before long the technique was changed to injecting the phenol directly into the heart. Some witnesses thought that the change was made because the veins were sometimes hard to locate, but the real reason seems to have been the greater killing efficiency of a direct cardiac injection. Patients injected by vein might linger for minutes or even an hour or more. “It took them a long time to kill by intravenous injections, so they invented a faster method” was the way Dr. P. put it. (According to some testimony, many women prisoners continued to be injected by vein, after they were told that they were to receive “an inoculation.”)

Then a place was decided upon: “Room 1,” which became notorious; and later, as a Polish prisoner doctor told me, an innocuous-appearing room used as a laboratory by the Hygienic Institute (“It wasn't a special room [of] which the prisoners about to be injected needed to be suspicious”).

The “concentrated aqueous solution of phenol” that was developed proved “inexpensive, easy to use, and absolutely effective when introduced into the heart ventricle,” so that an injection of ten to fifteen milliliters into the heart caused death within fifteen seconds. The solution was put in a bottle resembling a thermos flask, and the person giving the injection poured it into a small bowl from which he filled the hypodermic. A large syringe and a long needle were employed, and the execution was performed by driving the long needle into the fifth [rib] space."12

At the Frankfurt trial, Dr. Klodzinski recalled the scene: “Sometimes it was still morning, sometimes noon, when those selected were taken to Block 20. Wearing a shirt, with a blanket and in wooden clogs, they were led into Block 20 through a side door. Those who could no longer walk were carried there on a stretcher. They were put in a corridor.” Then the order to close the block was given (Blocksperre), and there was “dead silence” on the block: “All the patients on the block knew what was going on.” Although Klodzinski stated that “most of those selected themselves  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
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