Nazi Medical Experimentation

Giuliana Glisenti 5th


During World War II German physicians did painful and deadly experiments on concentration camp prisoners without their permission.They performed these experiments at concentration camps like Sachsenhausen, Dachau, Natzweiler, Buchenwald, and Neuengamme, the scientists tested compounds to prevent diseases like Malaria, Typhus, Tuberculosis, Typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis. Nazi doctors killed thousands of Jews in Germany during this time period.

Nazi Medical Experimentation

At Dachau concentration camp a Nazi doctor named Sigmund Rascher placed about 300 prisoners in ice water for 2-5 hours while he monitored their heart rate, muscle control and core temperature he wrote down that about 80 of his victims died during the experiment. His main goal was to see how long a downed pilot could survive in the North Sea. This played a small role in the development of survival suits for cold water fishing boats and warming techniques for hypothermia patients. The doctors conducted research on vaccines, antibiotics, fertility, transplants,and eugenics. Some prisoners in auschwitz were chosen for medical experiments, they were injected with chemicals and doses of radiation, the purpose of these experiments was to find a means of mass sterilization. Some prisoners were also put in rooms with phosgene and mustard gas to test the antidotes.

Short Video

Below is a short video to explain what the prisoners went through while at the camps.

Nazi Medical Experimentation

Some Facts

  • Some of the experiments include: Freezing/ Hypothermia, Genetics, infectious diseases, surgery, sterilization and many more.

  • Nazi doctors performed these experiments and then when it was all over they escaped their crimes and lived the life their “subject” never did.

  • The Nazi doctors did 30 different experiments on the holocaust prisoners and when it was all over 15 of them were hung because of their crimes against humanity.

  • They did some of these experiments to find cures for diseases, or to help with war wounds and make amputations easier, they also conducted experiments to understand the human body better.

  • The 1947 Nuremberg Medical Code was established due to the horrible experiments and tests done to Jews, and Gypsies during the Holocaust.

  • When prisoners arrived at the camps elderly,women, and children were send straight to the gas chambers.

  • Most people didn't even know the Nazi Doctors were doing these terrible experiments to people until the Holocaust was over

  • The Nazis used poison to torture and kill many prisoners.

  • Nazis tried Transplant experiments so they would transplant limbs and joints but it also turned out as a failure so many prisoners were killed in the process.

  • During the Nuremberg Trials, 15 out of 23 doctors were found guilty of unthinkable war crimes.


There has been a lot of debate on whether or not doctors today should use some of the data from Nazi doctors to help with today's medicine. Very little useful science came out of the Nazis experiments, in fact most of their experiments were either useless, or scientifically unsound. The Holocaust was a terrible time, many Jews were tortured for "medical reason" when in the end it was just useless.


Jewish Virtual Library. "Nazi Medical Experiments: Background & Overview." Nazi Medical Experiments: Background & Overview, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. <>.

Kulturbesitz, Bildarchiv Preussischer. Nazi Medical Experiments. Digital image. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum., 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 1 Feb. 2016. <>.

National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md. Nazi Medical Experiments. Digital image. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md., 20 Aug. 2012. Web. 2 Feb. 2016. <>.

"Nazi Medical Experimentation." YouTube. YouTube, 6 Dec. 2012. Web. 02 Feb. 2016. <>.

Palmer, Brian. "Do Doctors Use Nazi Data in Their Research?" Slate. The Slate Group, 14 Aug. 2013. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.


Remember. "Medical Experiments of the Holocaust and Nazi Medicine." Medical Experiments of the Holocaust and Nazi Medicine |., 25 Apr. 1995. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. <>.

Tonge, Neil, Simon Adams, and Sean Sheehan. Documenting World War II. New York: Rosen Central, 2009. Print.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "NAZI MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS." NAZI MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 25 Jan. 2016. <>.

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