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Along with many ethnic minorities, homosexuals also were part of the “untermenschen” in the concentration camps. In Nazi Germany, homosexuality was seen as unacceptable by the majority of the population. Nazi doctors believed that they could “cure” homosexuality, which would then create more Aryans who could help continue the growth of the Aryan race19. At Buchenwald, Dr. Carl Vaernet was tasked with “curing” homosexuality in prisoners. To do this, Vaernet often injected his subjects with hormones. Vaernet also infamously castrated a number of men in hopes of “curing” them of their homosexuality; ultimately, Vaernet’s use of castration led to the death of fifteen men20. Another focus of the doctors’ medical research during the Holocaust dealt with dwarfism and disabilities. One of the best-known cases is present in the Ovitz siblings, all of whom suffered from pseudoachondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Pseudoachondroplasia is defined as “a genetic disorder with a distinct but variable phenotype of short stature, normal facial features, and progressive joint problems starting in adolescence.21” Despite their physical limitations, the Ovitz siblings had normal mental capacities. Due to their Jewish heritage, the Ovitz siblings were deported from Romania to Auschwitz. Dr. Mengele, being a naturally curious individual, quickly noticed the Ovitz siblings when they arrived at the concentration camp. Mengele spared the Ovitz siblings, instead opting to use them as subjects in his experiments. In his experiments, Mengele conducted radiological and laboratory investigations on the Ovitz siblings. The records from Mengele’s experiments on the Ovitz siblings have never been found, but it is generally accept that no medical breakthroughs came as a result of Mengele’s experiments on pseudoachondroplasia and dwarfism.22 19 Henderson, “German Doctors Urged to Shake Off Nazi Horrors,” 4. 20 Henderson, “German Doctors Urged to Shake Off Nazi Horrors,” 4. 21 Oliver Muensterer et al., “Pseudoachondroplasia and the Seven Ovitz siblings Who Survived Auschwitz,” Pediatric Radiology 42.4 (April 2012): 475. 22 Muensterer et al., “Pseduoachondroplasia,” 478-479.

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Profile for Tyler Bauer

Nazi Medical Experiments  

Nazi Medical Experiments