Nazi Experiments

The Dark Side

Experiments on Twins

Experiments on twin children in concentration camps were created to show the similarities and differences in the genetics of twins, as well as to see if the human body can be unnaturally manipulated. The central leader of the experiments was Josef Mengele, who from 1943 to 1944 performed experiments on nearly 1,500 sets of imprisoned twins at Auschwitz. About 200 individuals survived these studies. The twins were arranged by age and sex and kept in barrack between experiments, which ranged from injection of different dyes into the eyes of twins to see whether it would change their color to literally sewing twins together in attempts to create conjoined twins.


Bone, muscle, and nerve transplantation experiments

From about September 1942 to about December 1943 experiments were conducted at the Ravensbrück concentration camp, for the benefit of the German Armed Forces, to study bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration, and bone transplantation from one person to another.[citation needed] Sections of bones, muscles, and nerves were removed from the subjects without use of anesthesia. As a result of these operations, many victims suffered intense agony, mutilation, and permanent disability.


Sterilization experiments

The Law for the Prevention of Genetically Defective Progeny was passed on 14 July 1933, which legalized the involuntary sterilization of persons with diseases claimed to be hereditary: weak-mindedness, schizophrenia, alcohol abuse, insanity, blindness, deafness, and physical deformities. The law was used to encourage growth of the Aryan race through the sterilization of persons who fell under the quota of being genetically defective. 1% of citizens between the age of 17 to 24 had been sterilized within 2 years of the law passing. Within 4 years, 300,000 patients had been sterilized. From about March 1941 to about January 1945, sterilization experiments were conducted at Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, and other places by Dr. Carl Clauberg. The purpose of these experiments was to develop a method of sterilization which would be suitable for sterilizing millions of people with a minimum of time and effort. These experiments were conducted by means of X-ray, surgery and various drugs. Thousands of victims were sterilized. Aside from its experimentation, the Nazi government sterilized around 400,000 individuals as part of its compulsory sterilization program. Intravenous injections of solutions speculated to contain iodine and silver nitrate were successful, but had unwanted side effects such as vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain, and cervical cancer. Therefore, radiation treatment became the favored choice of sterilization. Specific amounts of exposure to radiation destroyed a person’s ability to produce ova or sperm. The radiation was administered through deception. Prisoners were brought into a room and asked to complete forms, which took two to three minutes. In this time, the radiation treatment was administered and, unknown to the prisoners, they were rendered completely sterile. Many suffered severe radiation burns.


Freezing experiments

In 1941, the Luftwaffe conducted experiments with the intent of discovering means to prevent and treat hypothermia. One study forced subjects to endure a tank of ice water for up to five hours.

"Exitus" (death) table compiled by Dr Sigmund Rascher


Attempt no. Water temperature Body temperature when removed from the water Body temperature at death Time in water Time of death

5 5.2 °C (41.4 °F) 27.7 °C (81.9 °F) 27.7 °C (81.9 °F) 66' 66'

13 6 °C (43 °F) 29.2 °C (84.6 °F) 29.2 °C (84.6 °F) 80' 87'

14 4 °C (39 °F) 27.8 °C (82.0 °F) 27.5 °C (81.5 °F) 95'

16 4 °C (39 °F) 28.7 °C (83.7 °F) 26 °C (79 °F) 60' 74'

23 4.5 °C (40.1 °F) 27.8 °C (82.0 °F) 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) 57' 65'

25 4.6 °C (40.3 °F) 27.8 °C (82.0 °F) 26.6 °C (79.9 °F) 51' 65'

4.2 °C (39.6 °F) 26.7 °C (80.1 °F) 25.9 °C (78.6 °F) 53' 53'


Another study placed prisoners naked in the open air for several hours with temperatures as low as −6 °C (21 °F). Besides studying the physical effects of cold exposure, the experimenters also assessed different methods of rewarming survivors.

The freezing/hypothermia experiments were conducted for the Nazi high command to simulate the conditions the armies suffered on the Eastern Front, as the German forces were ill-prepared for the cold weather they encountered. Many experiments were conducted on captured Russian troops; the Nazis wondered whether their genetics gave them superior resistance to cold. The principal locales were Dachau and Auschwitz. Dr Sigmund Rascher, an SS doctor based at Dachau, reported directly to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and publicized the results of his freezing experiments at the 1942 medical conference entitled "Medical Problems Arising from Sea and Winter". Approximately 100 people are reported to have died as a result of these experiments.