What are the most terrifying scientific experiments

"Breathing lasted up to 30 minutes. At 4 minutes, TP (the test subject) began to sweat and shake his head. At 5 minutes, cramps occurred, between 6 and 10 minutes breathing became faster, TP - unconscious after 11 minutes." For up to 30 minutes, breathing slowed down to 3 breaths per minute and then stopped completely.

In between there was strong cyanosis and foam at the mouth. EKG was written in 3 departments at 5 minute intervals. After the respiration was stopped, the ECG was recorded continuously until the heart stopped completely. Then, about 1 hour after breathing has stopped, start the dissection. "

The Dachau concentration camp doctor Sigmund Rascher describes how he tortured a "37-year-old Jew in good general condition" to death in one of his cruel experiments.

Rascher's vacuum tests allegedly dealt with the question of what pilots of military aircraft suffer when they have to leave the aircraft at high altitude.

Most of the time, the situation was simulated in vacuum chambers. 70 to 80 of the 200 inmates mistreated in this way died immediately as a result of the attempt. The others suffered permanent damage.

The world only learned of the extent of the attempts under the guise of medicine in the Third Reich through the Nuremberg Medical Trials in 1946/47.

Before the First American Military Tribunal, 20 doctors and three non-medical professionals had to answer for the killings and human experiments in concentration camps, hospitals and sanatoriums. The selection of the accused does not reflect the scope or variety of the crimes.

Some perpetrators in white had committed suicide, could not be found, or the relevant evidence was not yet available. Rascher wasn't there either - under unclear circumstances he was shot before the end of the war. On October 25, 1946, the indictment was read out. Main charges: war crimes and crimes against humanity. The trial lasted from December 9, 1946 to August 20, 1947.

"There is nothing more threatening than when doctors become murderers," says Robert Jay Lifton when asked why the medical crimes are even more disturbing than other atrocities during the Nazi era. "It is the perversion of healing to killing."

Last weekend, Lifton spoke at the "Medicine and Conscience" congress in Nuremberg. The Harvard psychiatrist's book "The Nazi Doctors", published in 1986, was the first in-depth study of psychological adaptations and deformations in both perpetrators and victims.

In interviews, Lifton researched how doctors rationalized their participation in mass murder: "After the murder, they examined the organs. Some doctors felt that they could legitimize their activities as research."

"I could never have imagined that before"

"Working in the processes has shaped me to this day," said Arno Hamburger at the start of the congress. He was born in 1923 and took part in the medical process as an interpreter. Today he is the chairman of the Jewish Community in Nuremberg.

"I had never imagined before that there could be doctors who could carry out such experiments on people. I had never imagined before that people could do something to other people like these monsters - and that they could do it too be able to document and coolly weigh which people are to be tortured to death. "

The hypothermia experiments were just as brutal as the negative pressure experiments. The victims were immersed in ice water for up to three hours - or until they died - where they were strangled or otherwise deprived of their oxygen supply. Or they had to endure naked in freezing temperatures outside.

The survivors were then examined to see how quickly their bodies warmed up again - sometimes using "animal warmth". That was the cynical description of the doctors when naked camp inmates had to cuddle up to the nearly dead.

Reporting hinders

On February 17, 1943, Heinrich Himmler, Reichsf├╝hrer SS, urged more quickly to accelerate the hypothermia experiments "so that the last winter cold can still be used".

Even before he was able to investigate how extreme heights affected the organism, Rascher wrote to Himmler: During a "medical selection course in which high-altitude research plays a very important role - due to the somewhat higher summit height of the English fighter planes Regret mentioned that unfortunately we have not yet been able to carry out any experiments with human material, as the experiments are very dangerous and no one volunteers to do so (...)

The experiments, in which the test subjects can of course die, are absolutely important for high-altitude research and cannot be carried out on monkeys, as has been attempted so far, because the monkey offers completely different experimental conditions. "

A medical assistant from Himmler replied quickly to Rascher: "I can inform you that prisoners for high-altitude research will of course be made available. I would like to take the opportunity to convey my warm wishes to you about the birth of your son."

Targeted injured and poisoned

In the Ravensbr├╝ck concentration camp, prisoners were injured while testing the drug sulfonamide. Purulent ulcers were inflicted on others; some had to inhale war gases or drink sea water.

In the Buchenwald concentration camp, vaccinations against typhus and hepatitis were tested. About a third of the camp inmates who had to take part in these experiments died as a result. In Auschwitz, children were burned all over their bodies; other inmates were given even less food than other camp inmates when they tried to starve.

In Auschwitz, gynecologists tested sterilization by injecting formalin into the uterus of women.

Josef Mengele, from May 1943 the doctor in charge in the women's camp at Auschwitz, carried out several other cruel human experiments in experiments with typhus infection on twins.

For the historian Hans-Walter Schmuhl from the University of Bielefeld "the common interpretation is wrong that the medical profession in the first half of the 20th century was too scientific and for this reason could make people the object of their experiments".