During the reign of Adolf Hitler Europe was taken into a state of chaos. Doctors were called to the extermination camps such as Auschwitz and Dachau. The reason was simple to them. They thought they were there to try to unlock secrets of genetic engineering but today it seems they were there just to kill camp inmates as painfully as possible. People have called these horrific experiments "The results of some peoples ambitious and zealousness  to the Nazi vision of Ayran supremacy."   


These experiments were divided into two parts. First to see the time it takes to lower the body temperature until death will come. Next, was to see how best to revive the frozen victims. These experiments were held to try and stimulate the conditions that the German soldiers were suffering on the Eastern front. Some patients were placed into icy vats  full of cold water. While others were strapped to stretchers and placed outside in Auschwitz's sub-zero temperatures, naked. Most victims died or lost consciousness when their body temperature dropped to 25 degrees Celsius.  

Many experiments were conducted to try to find a way of reviving the victims that survived the freezing experiments. One test was called the Sun Lamp. Patients were placed under lamps that were extremely hot and would sometimes burn the skin. One young man was repeatedly cooled to unconsciousness then revived by the Sun Lamps until he was pouring sweat. He died after many tests were taken.
This method seemed to prove the best way to revive victims after their body temperature was cooled. The patients were placed in warm water that would slowly increase, and raise the body temperature. If the water was too hot the victim would die from shock. One other method, that was suggested by Heinrich Himmler, was to try to use women to warm some of the frozen victims. There was some successes in this, but it was not as efficient as the Hot Bath.
For this experiment water was heated to a hot temperature that was close to blistering. Then the doctors would forcefully irrigate this hot water into the frozen victim's stomach, bladder, and their intestines. All of the victims appear to have died from this testing.
These experiments were very broad and specialized. They were conducted to "refine the master race" and to determine the causes of defects. Dr. Josef Mengele's research on the twins and other Auschwitz inmates  was based on genetics.


Dr. Josef Mengele began his research in May of 1943 at Auschwitz, Poland. Mengele's experiments were funded through a grant by the German Research Council.  He was fascinated by twins, dwarfs, cripples, and what he called " exotic specimens". Mengele had a special likeness for the younger twins. He was known to give them special care, like extra food and clothing and he allowed them to keep their hair. He would even give them candy when they were corporative. Despite the fact that some survivors can call him a nice man that would act like their father, Mengele is more famously known as the "Angel of Death".

Mengele was also fascinated by eyes and eye color. Mengele tried to change the color of  patients eyes genetically by injecting dye into their eyes. This usually resulted in painful infections and even blindness. After a victim would die, he took out their eyes and would tack them onto the wall in his office. He would also take blood samples from one twin then put the sample in the other twin. This mostly caused headaches and high fevers for several days. Mengele placed patients in isolation cages and subjected them to a variety of stimuli just to see their reactions. He would inject twins with infectious agents to watch how long it takes to succumb to various diseases. He removed victims limbs in surgical procedures with out any anesthetic. Mengele also castrated and sterilized almost all of the twins. After Mengele collected all the data he wanted from a patient, they were killed by a single injection of chloroform in the heart. He would take special care to make sure that twins were killed at the same time. Then they were dissected and their organs were taken to research centers.


One pair of unfortunate Hungarian twins arrived at Auschwitz late in 1943. They were taken to Josef Mengele right away. The pair was described as athletic, handsome, around the age of eighteen, and of having lots of body hair. Mengele took several days to examine the Hungarian twins. He had their whole body closely measured and x-rayed and had them be photographed in several different positions including standing with their arms up in order to photograph their underarm hair. He then had tubes forced down their noses and into their lungs and then they were ventilated with gas. This caused them to cough so badly that they had to be restrained. The twin's saliva was collected  and examined.
For the experiment the twins were set in hot water until they almost passed out. Then Mengele had them strapped onto tables and had their hair plucked out; they had to be placed back into the hot water several times. Next, they were totally shaven off of any hair that was still remaining and photographed again. After many other traumas, that were quite disgusting, the pair of young Hungarians were injected in there hearts with poison. They were dead after only three weeks at Auschwitz. Their organs were dissected and sent to the Institute of Biological Racial and Evolutionary Research in Berlin.



Dr. Herta Oberheuser, in order to kill them, would inject oil and evipan into children's blood streams. While the children were still conscious, she removed their vital organs and limbs with no anesthetics. They usually had about 3-5 minutes before death would come. Herta also focused on inflicting wounds that were similar to the wounds the German soldiers got on patients. She would then rub objects such as; glass, wood, rusty nails, and sawdust into the wounds.  Herta was the only female defendant at the Nuremberg Medical Trials. She received a 20 year sentence, but only served 10. After being released in the April of 1952, she became a family doctor in Stocksee, Germany. Her license was revoked in 1958.


Dr. Johann Kremer replaced a sick doctor on August 30, 1942 at Auschwitz. Kremer's job was to carry out assessments of prisoners trying to gain entrance into the hospital; he ordered most of them to be killed by phenol injection. Kremer would often question prisoners before they were injected. He asked things like their weight before imprisonment and what medicines taken before imprisonment. He then would sometimes have them photographed. Kremer kept a diary of the gassings he witnessed at Auschwitz. Here is one entry:

September 5, 1942

     "In the morning attended a special action* from the women's concentration camp (Muslims*); the most dreadful of horrors. ... In the evening towards 8:00 attended another special action from Holland. Because of the special rations they get a fifth of a liter of schnapps, 5 cigarettes, 100g Salami and bread, the men all clamor to take part in such actions. Today and tomorrow (Sunday) work."
* the gassings were referred to as "special actions"
* the women's camp was generally known as "Muslims"


Dr. Karl Brandt was Hitler's personal physician and the became the highest authority, the Reich Commissioner for Sanitation and Health. Karl participated in the euthanasia program which was the execution by gas or lethal injections in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums to the aged, the insane, the incurably ill, and deformed children. Brandt called them "useless eaters" that burdened the German war machine. Brandt was found guilty of war crimes at the Nuremberg Medical Trials and was executed on June 2, 1948, at Landsburg prison in Bavaria.


Dr. Carl Clauberg arrived at Auschwitz in the December of 1942; he received Block 10 for his medical experiments. Clauberg injected chemical substances into wombs of thousands of Jewish and Gypsy women. The injections caused them sterilization, horrible pain, inflamed ovaries, bursting spasms in their stomachs, and bleeding. Clauberg also repeatedly placed men and women between two x-ray machines for several minutes, resulting in radiation burns that made them either unfit for work and to be gassed or they would die from the burns. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in a Soviet Union Trial but after seven years he was pardoned.  Clauberg then held a press conference where he boasted about his scientific work at Auschwitz. Survivor groups protested and Clauberg was arrested in 1955 and died in the August of 1957 shortly before his trial was to begin.


Irma Grese

*known as the " Blond Angel of Death"

*was concentration camp guard and in charge of 18,000 female prisoners

*helped with the removal of women's breasts 

*had many affairs with the doctors at Auschwitz, including Mengele

Frau Ilse

*collected skin of prisoners, dead and alive, if they had a tattoo she liked

*turned skin into book covers, gloves, lampshades, and other furniture

Dr. Sigmund Rascher

*in charge of the military medical experiments; such as the Hypothermia and High Altitude experiments

*split open skulls, while patients were alive and conscious, to examine effects of experiments

Dr. Philip Bouhler *head of euthanasia program with Himmler
Dr. Leonardo Counti *killed large number of Germans with "unsound minds"

Dr. Seigfried Handloser

*chief doctor at Buchenwald
Dr. Klaus Schilling

*in charge of the malaria experiments

*injected tropical diseases into patients

Dr. Bruno Weber

*tried to brain wash and use mind control on patients by giving them high doses of morphine

Dr. Julius Hallervorden

*examined brains of people in the euthanasia program





*blood experiments

*live vivisections

*cyanide salts injected

*Hepatitis experiments

*electroshock therapy

*punctured children's livers or removed them

*put lead into various parts of bodies

*Noma experiments


*skinned for tattoos

*Yellow Fever, smallpox, paratyphoid A&B, cholera, and TB was injected into patients

*tried curing homosexuality by horrific experiments

*injected fresh blood into typhus patients

*burned patients were injected with poison in their wounds


*Hypothermia experiments

*High Altitude experiments

*patients injected with Malaria

* people were experimented on more than once for different experiments


*wounds inflicted with gang grene

*transplantation of bones

*sterilization of women


*Gypsies pumped full of poison bullets

*jaundice and other diseases injected into patients

At the Nuremberg Medical Trials, 24 German physicians were tried. Out of the 24, eight were acquitted, fifteen found guilty, seven were sentenced to death, and eight were imprisoned. Mengele was not among these 24, he had escaped to South America, before Auschwitz was found by the Allies, and died there in a drowning accident in 1979. The Trials began in the October of 1946 and lasted until the August of 1947.
Many of these experiments seem stupid and to have no meaning. The truth is they all were stupid and had no meaning. The Germans conducted these experiments to find a way to make a "superior race" of Aryan Germans. It didn't happen, all it did was cause pain to millions of innocent people of all ages. We can't change what has happened. All we can do is make sure it never happens again. What these doctors did was wrong and against everything being a doctor is about. They ended lives when they were supposed to save them. What made these people do this no one knows;  maybe they thought they were helping in the long run. All we know is that they didn't.
You might be shocked to know, but the Nazi Party was not the only group famous for their gruesome experiments during WW2.  Click below for some more information about the Japanese experiments on the Chinese and prisoners of war.



Lakota McCune

7th Social Studies

Rossville Jr. High

Holocaust Project