Dark Side of Science

“Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children. ” Deuteronomy 4:9. (USHMM) Were the experiments that the Nazi’s conducted on the Jew’s beneficial or detrimental to the advancement of science? I think to understand the question we must understand the why, of the situation. For example Dr. Fritz Klein’s response to Dr. Ella Lingens-Reiner when she asked, “How can you reconcile that (the ash coming from the chimneys) with your oath as a doctor? His answer was, “Of course I am a doctor and I want to preserve life. And out of respect for human life, I would remove a gangrenous appendix from a diseased body. The Jew is the gangrenous appendix in the body of mankind. ”(Lifton 12) Reichsfuhre Josef Mengle was known as the “Angel of Death”. Mengle’s area of expertise was genetics and twins. He wrote his medical dissertation on how the structure of the lower jaw differed between the races. The twins he kept as pets, isolating them from the rest of the camp, giving them treats of candy and clothes, bribing them for before he would perform horrific experiments on them. The twins would endure daily blood draws and injections in the eye in hopes that he (Mengle) would be able to change their eye color. He even went so far as to sew a set of twins together to see if he could create “Siamese twins”. On Mengle’s orders, children suffering from noma were put to death in order for pathology investigations to be carried out. Organs and even complete heads of children were preserved and sent in jars to institutions including the Medical Academy in Graz, Austria. (Bard 1) More often than not, there was no real medical knowledge gained from any of his experiments. Sigmund Rascher however focused his experiments on high altitude sickness and hypothermia on Dachau camp prisoners. (Harvard) The experiments of high altitude were meant to push the limits of human endurance and existence. Prisoners were often placed in a low pressure chamber and the pressure was raised within. Most died, some did not. The hypothermia experiments were also meant to test the strength of the human body. The purpose behind these experiments, were to find the most effective way to re-warm a person who had been exposed to freezing temperatures. Bard 1) Carl Clauberg also had Auschwitz prisoners at his disposal; he injected chemical substances into women’s uterus’ and ovaries to find a “cheap and effective method of sterilization”. Herta Oberheuser, killed children with oil and evipan injections. Her “research” (and I use that term loosely) focused on deliberately inflicting wounds on prisoners, to simulate the combat wounds of German soldiers. Oberheuser would rub wood, rusty nails, slivers of glass, dirt and sawdust into the wounds of prisoners. (Bard 1) Karl Brandt preformed Sulfanilamide experiments at Ravensbrueck between July 1942 – September 1943. These experiments were conducted for the benefit of the German soldiers. These experiments were to test the effectiveness of sulfanilamide and other drugs as treatments for infected wounds. (Sulfa drug testing was also going on in other parts of the world). Brant was also instrument in the study on bone, muscle, nerve regeneration, and bone transplant experiments. These also were preformed on inmates at the Ravensbrueck camp. (Harvard) The pro and cons of Germany’s bio-medical vision. The experiments that the Nazi’s preformed on the Jew’s were varied. But how has these crimes committed against man benefited or hurt the advancement of medicine. But what we have to understand is that science is amoral. (Orac 1) It is the people who use science, use it as a method, a tool for measuring things, it is these people whose morals the experiments reflect. For example a chainsaw is just that; a chainsaw, it has no notion of right or wrong, as a tool it can be used for evil or good. It is the person wielding the chainsaw one must worry about. The same can be said about the Nazi doctors, they were so focused on their Aryan bio-medical vision, they didn’t see the forest for the trees. However, they did produce some rather life altering inventions, such as: the electron microscope and they established the link between asbestos and lung cancer. “In addition Nazi Germany also forbid the use of the pesticide DDT on the grounds that it was a health hazard and instead used a german produced version known as cyclone-b. ” (Kemp 1) “Also Nazi scientist were among the first in the world to warn of the dangers of radiation; asbestos, lead, cadmium, and mercury. ” (Kemp 1) “Indeed German physicist and engineers developed what was in essence the first cruise missile (V-1)” (Orac 1) In conclusion I believe that the Third Reich Regime did stumble upon some very amazing medical findings. However the results of the experiments are unreliable do to the poor health of the patients, in combination with their unhealthy living conditions. The information the scientific community has learned is invaluable. And while the experiments themselves remain un-reproducible, and the lives are un-replaceable, we as a society are armed with a knowledge that no one can take away. “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never. ” (Wiesel 32)

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