Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
  Page 163  
Previous Page

Home Page
Home Page  
   Next Page
Chapter 8  

Selections on the Ramp  
  They were all doctors.   
  — Auschwitz survivor   
The Victims’ Experience 
To Jews arriving at the ramp, nothing medical seemed to be occurring — though much of their experience there was orchestrated by Nazi doctors. It was a terrifying scene of vast confusion, in many ways an extension of a journey of persecution that had begun when they were driven from their homes, and continued through the days or weeks of the slow, cruel, dehumanizing train journey to the camp in brutally overcrowded railroad boxcars. Arriving Jews usually saw the SS doctor standing on the ramp as just another SS officer with absolute power over them. Many had little sense that a selection process of any kind was taking place.

The experience of Marianne F., who arrived at Auschwitz from Czechoslovakia in early 1943 as a seventeen-year-old girl, is typical. First, the bizarre reception:  
We arrived at night .... Because you arrived at night, you saw miles of lights — and the fire from the ... crematoria. And then screaming and the whistles and the “Out, out!" [now she shouted] “Raus! raus! raus! raus!” [colloquial German for “Out!”], and the uniformed men and the SS with the dogs, and the striped prisoners — we, of course, at that time didn’t know who they were — and they said, “Throw everything out. Line up — immediately!”
And then the confusing, rapid-fire selections: 
They separated you and then lined up everybody in fives, . . . and there were two men standing .... On one side, was the doctor, one was Mengele, . . . and on the other side was the ... Arbeitsführer, which was  
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
Previous Page  Back Page 163 Forward  Next Page