Annas, George J. and Grodin, Michael A. The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human
Rights in Human Experimentation. New York: Oxford, 1992.
In a moving foreword to this book, Elie Wiesel wonders just how human beings with all the
training required to be physicians and researchers could possibly have conducted the
"experiments" of the death camps? That is indeed a pressing question for anyone interested in
fraud in science. How could Germany, the nation with the most Nobel Prizes before this war,
have had its scientists pull this sort of stuff. For that matter, how could the universities all over
Germany have cooperate with Hitler and his thugs? And they did cooperate.
There are various features to this anthology of papers. Thus, there is a fascinating article by
Proctor (Robert N.) "Nazi Doctors, Racial Medicine, and Human Experimentation," (pp. 17-31)
that emphasizes just how the Germans used science as social support for their racial hygienic
practices. In other words, from their perspective there was nothing illegal about their work on
sterilization and their treatment of the Jews.
He has this (p. 23) little quote:
I should also note that, as with the Sterilization Law, here, too, German racial theorists learned
from the Americans. In fact, Nazi physicians on more than one occasion argued that German
racial policies were relatively "liberal" compared with the treatment of blacks in the United
States. Evidence of this was usually taken from the fact that, in several souther states, a person
with 1/32nd black ancestry was legally black, whereas if someone were 1/8th Jewish in Germany
(and, for many purposes, 1/4th Jewish),that person was legally Aryan (a1/4th Jew could marry a
full-blooded German). Nazi physicians spent a great deal of time discussing American
miscegenation legislation; German medical journals reproduced charts showing the states in
which blacks could or could not marry whites, could or could not vote, and so forth.
Sadly, there is yet another area where Nazi physicians were able to draw support from the
American colleagues. In 1939, Germany's leading racial hygiene journal reported the refusal of
the American Medical Association to admit black physicians to its membership; 5,000 black
physicians had petitioned to join the all-white American body but were turned down. German
physicians only one year before, in 1938, had barred Jews from practicing medicine (except on
other Jews); Nazi racial theorists were thereby able to argue that Germany was "not alone" in its
efforts to preserve racial purity.
In other words, the Germans had reference groups they could and did use in determining the
morality-immorality of what they were doing in Germany. And it turns out that the U.S. was a
favorite referent. This was also true for sterilization: the Americans were doing it too.
Rationalization is an art form for most human beings. The Germans worked at it. Thus, they
could argue that the killing of the mentally retarded, the insane, and others identified as lives not
worth living as justified in time of war by the need for beds for wounded military personnel.
There is a personal statement here: "The Mengele Twins and Human Experimentation: A
Personal Account," by Eva Mozes-Kor, pp. 53-59, which for my first time, describes what the
hell Mengele was doing with his twin studies: "Mengele had two ty[es of research programs.
One set of experiments dealt with genetics and the other with germ warfare. In the germ
experiments, Mengele would inject one twin with the germ. Then, if and when that twin died, he
would kill the other twin in order to compare the organs at autopsy.
...One of the twins, who was 19 years old, told of experiments involving a set of teenage boys
and a set of teenage girls. Cross-transfusions were carried out in an attempt to "make boys into
girls and girls into boys." Some of the boys were castrated. Transfusions reactions were similarly
studied in the adolescent twins.
A set of Gypsy twins was brought back from Mengele's lav after they were swen back to back.
Mangele had attempted to create a Siamese twin by connecting blood vessels and organs. The
twins screamed day and night until gangrene set in, and after 3 days they died. Mengele also
attempted to connect the urinary tract of a 7-year-old girl to her own colon. Many experiments
were performed on the male and female genitals."