High-Altitude Experiments


A prisoner in a compression chamber loses consciousness (and later dies) during an experiment to determine altitudes at which aircraft crews could survive without oxygen. Dachau, Germany, 1942. (NARA Photo)

From about March 1942 to about August 1942 experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp, for the benefit of the German Air Force, to investigate the limits of human endurance and existence at extremely high altitudes. The experiments were carried out in a low-pressure chamber in which atmospheric conditions and pressures prevailing at high altitude (up to 68,000 feet) could be duplicated.

The experimental subjects were placed in the low-pressure chamber and thereafter the simulated altitude therein was raised. Many victims died as a result of these experiments and others suffered grave injury, torture, and ill-treatment. The defendants Karl Brandt, Handloser, Schroeder, Gebhardt, Rudolf Brandt, Mrugowsky, Poppendick, Sievers, Ruff, Romberg, Becker-Freyseng, and Weltz are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.

 

 

 


Sources: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10. Nuremberg, October 1946 - April 1949. Washington D.C.: U.S. G.P.O, 1949-1953.