Hannah IrwinEnglish llMs. Fischer January 12 2018During the holocaust physicians conducted painful and sometimes deadly experiments. These experiments were made on thousands of concentration camp prisoners. There were three main categories that these experiments were in. The first one is aimed at facilitating the survival of military, the second one is developing and testing treatments and medicine for illness and injuries, and the third was to advance the racial and ideological tenets of the Nazi worldview.

Trauma experiments were undertaken by commission from the German military, and they usually tried to answer direct questions about the damage human beings were likely to suffer in combat. One experiment that was used on prisoners was for high altitude and low pressure that the body can handle. To test the effects of low pressure, they hung prisoners in parachute harnesses and sealed them inside a pressure chamber. Some victims were unconscious to stimulate a passed out pilot, and others were wide awake. Another experiment done on prisoners was the effects of drinking sea water.

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90 gypsies were isolated in a room and were only given sea water. Within days many of them were dying from dehydration. Another experiment that was used on prisoners was to test survival gear. They did this by putting the prisoners in the survival gear and dropping them into freezing water. They then used various methods on how to reheat the body from these freezing temperatures.

There were five main ways that they used to test the best way to bring the body temperature back up. The first one is a sun lamp. Victims were put under these lamps that were hot enough to burn the skin.

The next way was internal irrigation, which is to put boiling water into the frozen persons stomach, bladder, and intestines. All victims placed in this experiment died right after. Next is the hot bath. The victim was placed in warm water and the temperature was slowly increased.

This method proved to be the best. Many victims died do to shock if they were warmed up to quickly. Then there was warming by body heat. This included women lying on top of the frozen men and using body heat to warm them back up. There was also research for different drugs and experimental surgeries. Doctors at Ravensbruck tested the antibiotics by gashing the legs of prisoners and rubbing in wood shavings, ground glass, and infected matter. To simulate gangrene, blood vessels were tied off or cut, and wounds weren’t allowed to heal.

After an inmate was all used up, the body would be autopsied for clues to see how effective the drugs had been. Other drugs and surgical procedures were tried out at many camps. At Sachsenhausen, prisoners were splashed with mustard gas and various remedies were applied to the chemical burns. Near the end of the experiments, inmates were shot with poisoned bullets to test their lethality.

Between 1943 and 1944, prisoners at Buchenwald were exposed to burning phosphorus from bombs to test burn treatments and grafting techniques.From the survivors of the holocaust that were in these experiments there were many physiological effects that took place from these experiments. There tends to be five main  psychological themes in survivors have been described.

The first one is  the death imprint, which is related to anxiety about death. The second one is death guilt. Death guilt is epitomized by the question “Why did I survive, while he, she, or they did not?” the third one is the survivor syndrome or psychic numbing which the diminished capacity to feel. Psychologists have recognized that psychic numbing as a necessary psychological defense against overwhelming images. This can easily out live its usefulness and develop into withdrawal, apathy, depression, and despair.

The fourth has to do with survivor sensitivity or suspicion of counterfeit nurturance, so many people with this resent any help from people because they see it as a sign of weakness. The fifth and final is the survivor’s struggle for meaning. They tend to look for meaning on why all of this has happened to them.