MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

Carl Clauberg

A conference attended by Himmler, Professor Karl Gebhardt, and Richard Glücks (the inspector of concentration camps) entrusted the search for the best method of sterilization—one that would make it possible to sterilize an unlimited number of people in the shortest possible time, and in the simplest way possible—to Professor Carl Clauberg, an authority in the treatment of infertility who worked during the war as head of the department of women’s diseases at the hospital in Chorzów (then Königshütte, Germany).

Clauberg set to work in barracks no. 30, part of the hospital complex in the women’s camp (sector BIa) in Birkenau, at the end of 1942. In April of the following year, Rudolf Höss put  block no. 10 in the main camp at Clauberg’s disposal. Between 150 and 400 Jewish women from various countries were held in two upstairs rooms.

Clauberg developed a method of non-surgical mass sterilization. Under the pretext of performing a gynecological examination, he first checked to make sure that the Fallopian tubes were open, and then introduced a specially prepared chemical irritant, which caused acute inflammation. This led to the growing together of the tubes within a few weeks, and thus their obstruction. X-rays were used to check the results of each procedure.

These procedures were carried out in a brutal way. Complications were frequent, including peritonitis and hemorrhages from the reproductive tract, leading to high fever and sepsis. Multiple organ failure and death frequently followed. While some of Clauberg’s Jewish patients died in this way, others were deliberately put to death so that autopsies could be carried out.