MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

FORMER GERMAN NAZI
CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP

Other doctor-perpetrators

From 1941 to 1944, the camp SS physicians Friedrich Entress, Helmuth Vetter, Eduard Wirths, and to a lesser extent Fritz Klein, Werner Rhode, Hans Wilhelm König, Victor Capesius (head of the camp pharmacy), and Bruno Weber (director of the SS Hygiene Institute in Rajsko) used Auschwitz prisoners in tests of the tolerance and effectiveness of new medical preparations or drugs designated by the code names B-1012, B-1034, B-1036, 3582, and P-111. They also used prisoners as experimental subjects in tests of the drugs Rutenol and Periston. They were acting on behalf of IG Farbenindustrie, and mostly of Bayer, which was a part of IG Farbenindustrie. They gave these drugs in various forms and doses to prisoners suffering from contagious diseases. The patients forced to take them suffered from disturbances of the digestive tract including bloody vomiting, painful bloody diarrhea containing flecks of mucous membranes, and impairment of the circulatory system.

The medical experiments surely include, as well, the operations carried out by SS physicians Friedrich Entress, Horst Fischer, Heinz Thilo, and Fritz Klein, who did not possess qualifications as surgeons. The operations were completely unnecessary from the medical point of view, and were only carried out for practice. Other procedures carried out for training purposes included inducing pneumothorax (collapsed lungs) in prisoners with tuberculosis, and performing spinal taps on prisoners with meningitis. Accounts and memoirs by former prisoners also include descriptions of other sorts of experiments, the purposes of which cannot be objectively established.

The prisoners were already living under conditions that were extreme in every imaginable way, and these experiments were a death sentence for many of them. The fate of their experimental subjects was a matter of indifference for the SS physicians. In order to cover their tracks, they often ordered the victims of their experiments killed by lethal injection of phenol to the heart, or in the gas chambers.