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The Holocaust History Project.

Medical Experiments


I am doing a research paper on the Holocaust. My subject is "the medical experiments on the children of the Holocaust." I would greatly appreciate it if you could supply me with any books, references, articles, essays, etc. that would help me with this project.

Brian Harmon answers:

I can point you to some sources that should give an introduction to the subject. The first is Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp edited by Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum. The two chapters authored by Helena Kubica entitled "The Crimes of Josef Mengele" and "Children" and the chapter named "Nazi Doctors" by Robert Jay Lifton and Amy Hackett should give a good overview of what was done to children in Auschwitz.

For a more thorough examination, Robert Jay Lifton wrote a book called The Nazi Doctors which also deals with the psychology of the perpetrators.

Lastly, the memoirs of inmate physician Dr. Miklos Nyiszli should be particularly illuminating. Dr. Nyiszli worked directly under Dr. Mengele during his time in Auschwitz.

There is another book entitled Children of the Flames which covers Mengele's use of twins for his lethal experiments in Auschwitz, I haven't read the book so I can't offer much more than the title.

Hope this is some help to you,

- Brian Harmon


  • "Nazi Doctors" by Robert Jay Lifton and Amy Hackett. in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp ed. by Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1994. Chapter 12, pp 301-316.

  • "The Crimes of Josef Mengele" by Helena Kubica. In ibid. Chapter 13, pp 317-362.

  • "Children" by Helena Kubica. In ibid. Chapter 17, pp 412-427.

  • The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton. Basic Books, Inc. New York, NY, 1986.

  • Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszli. Translated by Tibere Kramer. Arcade publications, 1993.

  • Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitzby Lucette Matalon Lagnado and Sheila Cohn Dekel. Penguin USA, 1992.

Another Question

As a student in criminological sciences, I'm working on my thesis. This thesis handles about medical experiments during the second world war in concentration camps. I received already a lot of information about these experiments as such and about the ethical questions but it is hard to find reliable and scientific information concerning the consequences of these experiments on account of the victims and this in social, psychological and medical point of view.

You could really help me by sending these info or pointing out the sources where I can find the asked info.

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

I am one of the persons in the Holocaust History project that responds to questions such as yours. It is possible that other of my colleagues will also add to what I am writing.

Part of the answer to your questions lies in Volumes I and II of the Nurnberg Military Tribunal. This covers the so-called "Medical Trial." Over the next few months the entire series of war criminal trials held in Nuremberg will appear on the Holocaust History web-page.

As I am doing the transcriptions you may follow the progress of this process by visiting my private web-page:


and selecting: Nazi War Crime Trials: Nuernberg Military Tribunal (part of Volume 1 on-line). I should have up to 200 pages on-line by this evening.

A few other sources (of many others) residing in my private library=20 which you might seek out are:

Criminal Experiments on Human Beings in Auschwitz and War Research Laboratories: Twenty Women Prisoners' Accounts
Lore Shelley (editor)
c. 1991, Mellen Research Press (San Francisco)
ISBN 0-7734-9884-2

Medical Block, Buchenwald
Walter Poller
c. 1961, Souvenir Press (London)

Murderous Science: Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies and Others, Germany 1933-1945
Benno Müller-Hill
English Edition
Translated by Geroge R. Fraser
c. 1988, Oxford University Press (Oxford)
ISBN 0-19-261555-6

When Medicine Went Mad: Bioethics and the Holocaust
Arthur L. Caplan (editor)
c. 1992, Humana Press (New Jersey)
ISBN 0-89603-235-3

Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis
Robert N. Proctor
c. 1988, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Mass.)
ISBN 0-674-74580-9

Experiment 'E' : A Report from an Extermination Laboratory
Leon Szalet
c. 1945, Didier Publishers (New York)

The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation
George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin
c. 1992, Oxford University Press (New York)
ISBN 0-19-507042-9

The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killings and the Psychology of Genocide
Robert J. Lifton
c. 1986, Basic Books (New York)
ISBN 0-465-04904-4

Ethics and Extermination: Reflections on Nazi Genocide
Michael Burleigh
c. 1997, Cambridge University Press (Cambs. England)
ISBN 0-521-58211-3

Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine=20 and Racial Hygiene
Go"tz Aly et al.
Translated by Belinda Cooper
English Edition c. 1994, The Johns Hopkins Press (Baltimore)
ISBN 0-8018-4775-3

Doctors Under Hitler
Michael H. Kater
c. 1989, The University of North Carollina Press (Chapel Hill)
ISBN 0-8078-1842-9

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE


I am a graduate student looking for sites related to the medical experiments that were done during the Holocaust, not Mengale(sp). If you could possibly give me suggestions on some sites that may have information on this subject it would be very helpful.

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

Thank you for your query.

It's Mengele!

There is an enormous amount of information and documentation on the medical experiments performed on hapless prisoners by Nazi physicians. I don't know that you will find very much on the web except for the book mentioned below. I am giving you, however, a number of sources in books which are usually found in most libraries.

Volumes I and II, of the Nuernberg Military Tribunals dealing with what is known "The Medical Case." The collection (15 volumes) is partially available on the web, and are also available in most major libraries. You may read the first 508 pages of Volume I on my personal web-page:


The text so far covers high altitude, freezing, malaria, lost (mustard) gas, sulfanilamide, bone muscle and nerve transplantation and regeneration, sea-water, epidemic jaundice, and typhus experiments. I hope to have the next 500 pages up in a few months. Once a complete volume is transcribed it can also be viewed at the Holocaust History web-site.

A few other very good sources of information are:

The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide
Robert J. Lifton
c. 1986, Basic Books (New York)
ISBN 0-465-04904-4

Medical Experiments on Human Beings in Auschwitz & War Research Laboratories(Twenty Women Prisoners' Accounts)
Lore Shelley, Editor
c. 1991, Mellen Research University Press (San Francisco)
ISBN 0-7734-9884-2

Murderous Science
Benno Muller-Hill
c. 1988, Oxford University Press (Oxford)
ISBN 0-19-261555-6

Doctors of Death (four volumes)
Philippe Aziz
c. 1976, Fermi Publishers (Geneva)

Final Solutions: Biology, Prejudice, and Genocide
Richard M.Lerner
c. 1992, Pennsylvania State University Press
ISBN 0-271-00793-1

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE


At present I am planning on writing a research essay (for university) which will look at whether or not we should be using any of the data and research produced through Nazi experimentation. I was wondering whether you could reccommend any books, or articles that I should read, preferably ones which look at both sides to the argument.

Thanking you in advance for your co-operation.

Andrew Mathis responds:

I am one of the volunteers who answers questions submitted to the Holocaust History Project.

This is obviously an emotion-laden issue, and I think I can sum it up with a personal anecdote before giving you a Web-based resource that will give you what you're looking for.

About ten years ago, a local radio talk-show host, who is Jewish, told the story of a woman who, while interned at Auschwitz, was the victim of horrendous medical experiments. She was able to survive but had life-long medical problems. The host suggested that, if the medical files on her from Auschwitz were made available, we might learn the extent of what was done to her and how to correct it.

My father, who is also Jewish, took a very hard line on the issue, stating (in paraphrase), "We should allow absolutely no good whatsoever to come out of what transpired in those places." In his opinion, it didn't matter if the cure for cancer was found through those experiments. In this case, for him, the end would not justify the means.

I hope I've demonstrated to some extent how divided Jews, medical professionals, and others are on the ethics of using Nazi medical research on internees. You'll certainly find much on both sides of the debate here:


Good luck on your project.

Andrew E. Mathis, Ph.D.


I am doing a Doctor's degree. My research is about the medical experimentation under the nazism. I know that in Nazi Conspiracy and Agression, vol. VI, page 175 (acccording to Hannah Arendt bibliography) there's an evidence about a new National Health Law that would allow to exterminate also German people not "racial wanted". I've been searched for it in your archives with no succes. Please, could you send me this information by e-mail?

Thanks in advance for your help,

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

I am one of the persons at the Holocaust History Project that responds to questions from our visitors. It is possible that you will receive other answers from my colleagues.

The citation that you give above (Vol. VI, p. 175) is not correct. That page corresponds to something entirely different.

There is a wealth of information on this subject both on the web and in published books, all of which are in my personal library and can usually be found in any good university library.

Some important aspects regarding medical experimentation by the Nazis can be found in Vol. 1 and 2 of the Nuernberg Military Tribunals. You may peruse the complete text as published in those two books by visiting my personal web-site:


I suggest that you scroll down to the Table of Contents and select those parts of these huge tomes that are of interest to you. The layout is as close to that on the originals as HTML language allows. Use the little blue arrows to turn the pages.

A few other sources that are germane to your work are:

Euthanasie im NS-Staat
Ernst Klee
c. 1995, Fischer Verlag
ISBN 3-596-24326-9


Dokumente zur "Euthanasie"
Erns Klee
c. 1986, Fischer Verlag
ISBN 3-596-24327-0


Life Unworthy of Life
James Glass
c. 1997, Basic Books
ISBN 0-465-09844-4

The Origins of Nazi Genocide
Henry Friedlander
c. 1995, North Carolina University Press
ISBN 0-8078-2208-6
The page facing the frontispiece of this book has a facsimile reproduction of Hitler's authorization for euthanasia, dated 2 September, 1939. The so-called Sterilization Law was issued on 14 July, 1933 (p. 26)


Final Solutions: Biology, Prejudice and Genocide
Richard Lerner
c. 1992, Pennsylvania University Press
ISBN 0-271-00793-1


R. J. Rummel
c. 1992, Transaction Press


When Medicine Went Mad
Arthur Caplan (Ed.)
c. 1992, Humana Press
ISBN 0-89603-235-3


Medizin ohne Menschlichkeist
A. Mitsscherlich (Ed.)
c. 1995, Fischer Press


By Trust Betrayed

Hugh Gregory Gallagher
c. 1990, Henry Holt
ISBN 0-8050-0749-0


Racial Hygiene
Robert N. Proctor
c. 1988, Harvard University Press
ISBN 0-674-74580-9

Good luck with your thesis!

Harry W. Mazal OBE

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