During World War II, a high-ranking Nazi physician, Dr. Josef Mengele, rose to infamy for carrying out evil, sadistic experiments on prisoners of the Nazis. In 1943, Mengele was stationed at Auschwitz-Birkenau -- concentration camps where numerous Poles, homosexuals, Soviets, Jews, and Roma met horrible and untimely deaths.
Mengele would inspect incoming camp prisoners and assign them to work, experimentation, and purportedly the gas chambers.
Mengele carried out his barbarism with indifference. His social Darwinist views called for the sterilization of those deemed genetically inferior, mentally deficient, physically deformed, or afflicted with other disorders.
Auschwitz was the cesspool in which the detached but demented mind of Mengele fed. The prisoners suffered the most unhygienic of conditions in their barracks. Typhus and diarrhea proliferated along with human parasites. In this gulag, Mengele sought to understand genetic engineering and thereby eliminate so-called inferior gene pools from the human population.
His sadistic perversity included the dissection of live infants, sterilization and castration without anesthetic, burning victims with incendiary bombs, and conducting high-voltage electric shock, hypothermia, malaria, mustard gas, poison, etc. experiments.
Mengele especially desired twins for his unethical experiments. Child subjects suffered such indignities as chemical injections into their eyes, amputations, and other grotesque surgeries. Surviving subjects were routinely murdered afterward for dissection.
A Nazi Legacy
John Hayward was a biology professor at the University of Victoria who pioneered hypothermia research. He looked for ways to protect people who had the mishap to be dunked into the extremely cold water off Vancouver Island. Hayward’s research generated controversy when he used hypothermia data from Nazi experiments.
Hayward defended his action: “I don’t want to have to use the Nazi data, but there is no other and will be no other in an ethical world. I’ve rationalized it a bit. But not to use it would be equally bad. I’m trying to make something constructive out of it. I use it with my guard up, but it’s useful.”
Hayward and associates later developed the Thermofloat jacket that is credited with saving “countless lives” of people exposed to cold water.
Angels of Death Resurrected
It was not just that the Nazi experiments were repulsive, but the very use of data from the experiments was ethically questionable.
Jews were among groups singled out for transportation to the Auschwitz camps, where Mengele’s depravity earned him the appellation Angel of Death. So, it would seemingly be unthinkable and flabbergasting for the victimized people of such horrors to resort to the dastardly deeds of their Nazi tormentors.
Yet, as reported in The Guardian, a foremost physician and medical ethicist, Dr. Jacques Michel, has urged the prosecution of Israeli doctors culpable for “thousands of unauthorised and often illegal experiments on small children and geriatric and psychiatric patients in Israeli hospitals.”
“These doctors should be punished very
severely because they really are criminals,” said Michel.
Kim Petersen is a writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
Other Recent Articles by Kim Petersen
Hating the Bible
* The Progressive Paradox: Defining Viability
* The Shame
* The Wrong Direction
* The Pornography of War