The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/euthanasia/euthanasia.02

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: The "Creative" death certificates
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
From: Ken McVay 
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Canada
Keywords: Hadamar

Archive/File: places/germany/euthanasia/euthanasia.02
Last-modified: 1994/04/22

"Concerning the `humanity' of this form of killing claimed by Brandt,
another man who worked at Hadamar and looked into the gas chamber through a
side window spoke of `a horrible sight when the patients gradually
collapsed and fell over one another,' and added, `I shall never get this
picture out of my mind.<66>

We shall find this sequence, including the doctor's central role in it, to
be strikingly similar to the killing sequence at Auschwitz.

Given the medical cover-up of killing, _every death certificate had to be
falsified_. The key principle employed in choosing the false cause of death
was medical credibility: assigning a disease consistent with a patient's
prior physical and mental state, a disease that he or she _could_ have
contracted. Designated causes of death could include almost anything -
infectious diseases, pneumonia, diseases of the heart, lung, brain, or
other major organs. Skill at this falsification process was an important
part of the `medical experience' of the killing doctors, and younger ones
learned it during their `training' with their medical superiors and
predecessors. To help them, they were given written guides specifiying
important details necessary for consistency.

One such guide, for instance, focused upon septicemia (bacteria in the
bloodstream) as a cause of death, referred to bacterial infection of the
skin as a possible source, and listed the sequence of symptoms and therapy
to be mentioned. The document included additional useful tips: unclean
mental patients often have boils which they scratch; and, `It is most
expedient to figure four days for the basic illness [bacterial infection]
and five days for the resultant sepsis'; and, this diagnosis `should not be
used with patients who are meticulously clean' but `is preferable for young
strong patients who smear readily,' but in that case `seven to eight days
have to be allowed for the illness to take effect, since their circulation
is relatively more resistant.'<67>

It is no exageration to say that the primary -- perhaps the only --
_medical_ function of the killing doctors was to determine the most
believable falsification of each patient-victim's death certificate.

Maintaining these medical illusions required an extensive bureaucracy of
deception. Every falsification in this `bloated apparatus' had to be
`covered by two more.' For instance, at each killing center, there was a
`Special Registry Office,' which had a subdivision whose specific task it
was to determine a suitable death date for each patient. On the death
certificate prepared by the doctor, the date of death was always omitted,
to be provided by this department. On the basis of its `timecards' and
`death files,' it could prevent the recording of large numbers of deaths at
a particular place during a particular time sequence.<68>

<66> Note: I overlooked inclusion of this end-note when I first
     transcribed the material - if anyone has Lifton's book handy,
     I'd appreciate it if they would send me the correct citation. knm.

<67> Heyde Trial, pp. 396-99; see also pp. 399-406
<68> Ernst Klee, "Tot und seziert" [65], pp. 409-16; Klee, "Euthanasia"[3]
     p. 344

Extracted from--------------------------------------------------- 
THE NAZI DOCTORS: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide.
Lifton, Robert Jay,       London: Papermac, 1986 (Reprinted 1990)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.