Informed Testimonies: Medical Experiments in Nazi Concentration Camps in the Reports of Physician-Prisoners from Czechoslovakia

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Michal Simunek (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague)

"Informed Testimonies: Medical Experiments in Nazi Concentration Camps In the Reports of Physician-Prisoners from Czechoslovakia, 1945–1989"

(Introduced by: Aleksandra Loewenaum Oxford Brookes University)



This paper was presented to the international symposium:

"Reassessing Nazi Human Experiments and Coerced Research, 1933-1945: New Findings, Interpretations and Problems"

4 - 7 July 2013, Wadham College, Oxford


Convened by Paul Weindling (Oxford Brookes University), Marius Turda (Oxford Brookes University), and Volker Roelcke (University of Giessen).

Kindly funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and the University of Giessen


Abstract: Hundreds of victims of Nazi medical experiments from former Czechoslovakia have given their testimonies in connection with compensation proceedings in the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast, relatively few witness reports by physicians who were imprisoned in the Nazi camps were published after the war. The aim of this contribution is to summarise their main characteristics and points and to set them in a proper context. Special attention is paid to connections with the IMT (F. Bláha) and to the limited possibilities of investigation which the Czechoslovak authorities had to deal with in the post-war period and during the Cold War. Finally, the contribution also describes an overlooked group of SS-physicians from Sudetenland who worked in the camps and some of whom have also participated in carrying out the medical experiments.


Bio: Michal Simunek maintains research interests in the history of eugenics, with a particular focus on its role in modern racism and its application in the Czech lands; and in the history of biopolitics. He is a member of the History of Race and Eugenics Research Group.



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