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Medical Experimentation: Oberhauser & Schumann


Dr. Herta Oberhauser killed prisoners with oil and evipan injections, removed their limbs and vital organs, rubbed ground glass and sawdust into wounds. She drew a twenty-year sentence as a war criminal, but was released in 1952 and became a family doctor at Stocksee in Germany. Her license to practice medicine was revoked in 1960 (Laska, Vera. ed. Women in the Resistance and in the Holocaust: The Voices of Eyewitnesses. CT: Greenwood Press, 1983, p. 223).


Himmler, writing to SS-Oberführer Brack, on August 11, 1942, expressed an interest in sterilization experiments involving the use of x-rays. In April of 1944, he received a report of the work of Dr. Horst Schumann "on the influence of X-rays on human genital glands" at Auschwitz. The report included the following statement:

Previously you have asked Oberführer Brack to perform this work, and you supported it by providing the adequate material in the concentration camp Auschwitz. I point especially to the second part of this work, which shows that by those means castration of males is almost impossible or requires an effort which does not pay. As I have convinced myself, operative castration requires not more than 6 to 7 minutes, and therefore can be performed more reliably and quicker than castration by X-rays.

Schumann set up an X ray station at Auschwitz in 1942, in the woman's camp Bla. Here men and women were forcibly sterilized by being positioned repeatedly for several minutes between two x-ray machines, the rays aiming at their sexual organs. Most subjects died after great suffering, or were gassed immediately because the radiation burns from which they suffered rendered them unfit for work. Men's testicles were removed and sent to Breslau for histopathological examination.

The frequently following ovariotomies were performed also by the Polish prisoner, Dr. Wladyslav Dering. Dering once bet with an SS man that he could perform ten ovariotomies in an afternoon, and won his bet. Some of his victims survived. Dering was declared a war criminal but eluded justice and for a time practiced medicine in British Somaliland (Laska, Vera. ed. Women in the Resistance and in the Holocaust: The Voices of Eyewitnesses. CT: Greenwood Press, 1983, p. 223; Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Vol. 3, p. 965).

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Source: The Nizkor Project