Cold water immersion experiment at Dachau concentration camp presided over by Professor Holzlöhner (left) and Dr Rascher (right).
Taken from: Hanauske-Abel, Hartmut M. "Not a Slippery Slope or Sudden Subversion: German Medicine and National Socialism in 1933". British Medical Journal 313 (7 December 1996): 1453-1463.
This is an AHRC funded project running from 1 October 2007 to 30 September 2010.
Although coercive human experiments are among the most notorious features of Nazism, there is no overview as to their extent, or guide to the fragmented literature and sources. Estimates of the overall numbers of experiments vary greatly. Recent historical opinion that the number of victims was relatively few is contradicted by the unexpectedly high number of compensation claimants by victims of experiments over the past five years.
This project funded by the Arts and Humanities Council aims to provide a biographical analysis of the persons who were experimented on or otherwise abused for medical research in national Socialist Germany and in territories under German occupation 1938-1945. The basic task is to identify how many victims and perpetrators there were, and develop biographical profiles, by comprehensive trawls through war crimes and Holocaust archives. The analysis will establish a structural history of the unethical experiments in terms of when and why they occurred.
Currently the project database contains biographical data for nearly 4000 victims of medical experiments under National Socialism.
The project covers all experiments and other coercive medical abuses for research in camps and prisons, and other situations where subjects were not at liberty. The analysis extends to cases of extracting body fluids and using body parts as anatomical specimens. It also includes the medical and psychological observation of groups in coercive situations (as studies of Sinti and Roma adolescents), establishing links to their subsequent deportation and murder.
The outputs of the project will be a comprehensive database, a monograph, on the perpetrators and victims of Nazi coerced experiments. Two PhD dissertations will examine records and the political policies shaping institutions.
Selected Conference Papers
•Dr. Anna von Villiez: “Secret experiments - Destroyed Privacy: Biographical research into the stigmatised victims of sterilisation experiments under German National Socialism.” Presented at Oxford Brookes University’s History of Medicine Seminar Series, February 2010.
•Aleksandra Loewenau: “To prevent the next generation: Jewish women as subjects for sterilisation experiments, castration, and abortion in Auschwitz-Birkenau.” Presented at the conference “Before and Beyond Auschwitz: New conflicts and alternative routes among exclusion, identity and diversity,” Macerata University, Italy, January 2010.
-“Sterilisation Experiments in Auschwitz-Birkenau.” Presented at the “Ninth biennial International MTSU Holocaust Studies Conference,” Middle Tennessee University, US, October 2009.
-“Polish Catholic Priests in Dachau Concentration Camp.” Presented as part of “Grant-in Aid” at the Immigration History Research Center, Minnesota University, US, August 2009.
-“Wladyslaw Dering: Prison-Physician Assistant of SS Doctor in Auschwitz-Birkenau.” Presented at the “2009 International Summer Research Workshop: Exploring the Newly Opened ITS Archive,” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, US, August 2009.
-“Roles and merits of The Association of Ex-Political Prisoners of German Prisons and Concentration Camps: Polish survivors in Great Britain.” Presented at the conference “Beyond Camps and Forced Labour: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution,” Imperial War Museum in London, January 2009.
-“Survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and war criminal? Two sides of Dr. Wladyslaw Dering.” Presented at the “War, Representation and Documentary - Postgraduate Conference,” Wellcome Trust, London, June 2008.
•Nichola Hunt: “Nameless Victims: Nazi Human Experiments on Russians in WW2: Statistics, Stories and Stereotypes.” Presented at:
“Beyond Camps and Forced Labour,” Imperial War Museum, January 2009.
“Brookes Winter Symposium,” Oxford Brookes University, December 2008.
“History of Medicine Research Student Conference,” Wellcome Centre, London, June 2008.
-“The Holocaust and Collective Memory.” Presented at the Oxford Brookes Winter Symposium, December 2007.
• Aleksandra Loewenau. “Roles and Merits of the Polish Association of Ex-Political Prisoners of German Prisons and Concentration Camps: Polish Survivors in Great Britain.” David Cesarani, Suzanne Bardgett, Jessica Reinisch and Johannes-Dieter Steinert (eds.). Survivors of Nazi persecution in Europe after the Second World War. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2010.
• Nichola Hunt: ‘Nameless Victims: Nazi Human Experiments on Russians in WWII: Statistics, Stories and Stereotypes’ David Cesarani, Suzanne Bardgett, Jessica Reinisch and Johannes-Dieter Steinert (eds.). Survivors of Nazi persecution in Europe after the Second World War. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2010.
Selected Awards and Fellowships
•Aleksandra Loewenau: “Oxford Brookes University Research/ Conference Abroad Scheme,” 2009.
-“International Fellowship” to attend the “Ninth biennial International MTSU Holocaust Studies Conference,” Middle Tennessee University, US, October 2009.
-“Grant-in-Aid” from the Immigration History Research Center, Minnesota University, US, August 2009.
-Fellow at the “2009 International Summer Research Workshop: Exploring the Newly Opened ITS Archive,” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, US, August 2009.
-“Arts and Humanities Research Council Abroad Conference Scheme,” 2009.
-Fellow at the Kluge Centre at the Library of Congress, the AHRC/ESRC Scholarship Scheme American Library of Congress, February-June 2009.
-Fellow at the “Access, Collaboration and Public Engagement” Wellcome Trust Research Resources in Medical History Winter Workshop 2008 in Dublin, Ireland, December 2008.
•Nichola Hunt: AHRC funded research trip, Washington DC, February-April 2010.
-Kluge fellowship at the Library of Congress, US, February-April 2009 (funded by the Library of Congress and AHRC).
-Fellow at the “Annual Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilisation,” Northwestern University, Chicago, June-July 2008 (funded by the Holocaust Education Foundation).
-Oxford Brookes Student Travel Grant (Language tuition in St. Petersburg, Russia).
-Russian Archival Training Trip to Moscow, April 2008 (participation funded by AHRC).
•Workshop: “Comparing Victims: Research into the Life Histories of Victim Groups.” 25 September 2008, Oxford Brookes University.
- Julia Smethurst
- Kamila Uzarczyk (Medical University of Wroclaw)
- Herwig Czech (Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance, Vienna)
- Vladimir Petrovic