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Dr Karl Clauberg
The pioneer of modern sterilization techniques:
KARL CLAUBERG, NAZI DOCTOR

INFORMATION FOR
THIS ARTICLE FROM
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA
OF THE HOLOCAUST
AND THE GUIDE TO
THE MUSESUMS
AT AUSCHWITZ
SIMBAHAYAN
SA  MAYNILA

Professor Dr KARL CLAUBERG was an SS physician infamous for his experiments in sterilizing women prisoners at the Auschwitz extermination camp during World War II.  Clauberg was born at Wupperhof and served in the infantry during World War I. He later studied medicine at the universities of Kiel, Hamburg, and Graz, qualifying as a doctor in 1925. He had a successful medical career and in 1937 was appointed professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of Konigsberg. At the same time he was chief doctor at a women's clinic in Upper Silesia and published numerous papers in his specialty.

GYNECOLOGIST & NAZI BRIGADEFUHRER

Dr Clauberg was an enthusiastic Nazi, joining the party in 1933.  He quickly became a Gruppenfuhrer (lieutenant general) and a Brigadefuhrer in the SS. He also received the Nazi Golden Badge, given to party members for meritous service. Before beginning work at Auschwitz in 1942, Clauberg was a noted professor at the University of Kiel. At only 39, Clauberg received his Habilitation (an endowment that gave him lecturer and professorial abilities, based on extensive research in a scientific field) in 1937. Many of his scientific findings and contributions from that time are still used today. Progynon and Prolution were both developed by Clauberg and are used to treat infertility. Also, the "Clauberg Test" for testing progesterone action is still in use.

DIRECTOR OF STERILIZATION RESEARCH AT AUSCHWITZ

The Nazi sterilization research program was initiated in 1941. The purpose of his experiments was to attain the quickest method of biological extermination of the untermenschen (sub-human races). In 1942, because of Clauberg's work in gynecology, SS Commandant HEINRICH HIMMLER entrusted him with sterilization research experiments at Auschwitz. He had the cooperation of internee doctors there (including the Polish camp doctor, Wladyslaw Dering, whose experiments were later the subject of a famous libel case in England in 1964).

In Auschwitz, his main objective was to develop a serum by which women could be sterilized by injection. His subjects were women prisoners -- Jewish and Slavic -- from the infamous "Block 10".  Himmler gave his fullest support to the entire project. Dr Clauberg explained his objective in writing to Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS:

Should the investigations conducted by myself continue as expected and I foresee no obstacles then in the nearest future I hope to be able to say that a properly trained surgeon working in a suitably equipped surgery, with perhaps ten medical assistants, will most probably be in the position to sterilize several hundred or even 1,000 persons in the course of one day. ... Himmler was the one who first brought up the idea of creating an agent to produce blocking in the fallopian tubes instead of one which got rid of blockage. With Himmler's help, Clauberg began his experimentation on animals, discovering that only a 5%-10% solution of Formalin would inflame the fallopian tubes to the point of blockage. This was to have been used by the Nazi party to make sure that none of the untermenschen were allowed to breed. His basic procedure included injecting the women with a colored liquid to check for prior fallopian blockage. When it was determined that there was no blockage, he injected another substance into the cervix.

Based on documents and testimonies, this substance is believed to have been Formalin and/or Novocaine. At the largest capacity, Clauberg had more than 300 women in his famous Block 10. He encouraged them to stay by telling them that he would not only keep them from being sent to Birkenau (which meant imminent death), but also by telling them that he wanted to take them to his clinic in Konigshutte, very near Auschwitz.

In Himmler's eyes, Clauberg's experiments were so vital to the Nazi Biomedical Vision, that Himmler kept a personal file for himself on this sterilization by injection. Clauberg had a notable assistant during all of these developments -- Dr. Johannes Goebel -- who helped both in developing the serums and in performing the injections. A final count of the number that these two sterilized together is well over several thousands. Aside from blocking the fallopian tubes, these injections produced many side-effects. Many uterine membranes -- including the entire membrane of the womb in most women -- were burned away, and so were parts of many other vital organs. The ovaries of most women were severely damaged.

Auschwitz Commandant Hoss mentioned in his personal notes "the unmedical activities of SS doctors in the Auschwitz concentration camp". Aside from sterilization, the criminal activities of other doctors in Auschwitz consisted of sending inmates unable to work to gas chambers, of killing some of them with phenol injections, of supervising the gassing of millions of persons in the gas chambers, of assisting at executions and floggings, and of experimenting upon the bodies of living prisoners.

POST-WAR RESEARCH AND INDICTMENT

The experiments at Auschwitz lasted until 1944; they involved sterilization by means of injections into the womb, which caused unimaginable suffering to the victims.  Towards the end of the war, Russian troops began advancing towards Konigshutte, where Clauberg had his clinic. He fled to Ravensbruck and had some of his subjects sent there so that he could continue his sterilization studies there. Soon, he again had to flee, this time to Schleswig-Holstein, to be with Himmler. He was the only Auschwitz doctor to remain with Himmler until the end of the war.

Arrested by the Russians on June 8, 1945, he was sent to the Soviet Gulag for three years before being tried. Clauberg was tried in 1948 for his role in the "mass extermination of Soviet citizens." He was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment, but was released in 1955 under the German-Soviet prisoner repatriation agreement. Clauberg showed no regrets for his experiments, and even boasted of his "scientific achievements." At the initiative of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, an action to prosecute Clauberg was undertaken in the West German courts. The council accused Clauberg of "having caused severe bodily harm" to Jewish women. The Kiel police placed him under arrest, but on August 9, 1955, he died in a hospital shortly before the date of the trial.

PERSONAL REPUTATION

On a personal level, Dr. Clauberg was a man who most people found detestable. Many survivors speak of his crude, joking manner and of his general dislike by other camp authorities. One minor doctor interviewed after the war calls Clauberg "short, bald and unlikable". Dr Wirths, the head doctor at the camp is quoted as saying that, in the end, Clauberg had, "gone to the dogs, become an alcoholic, and a totally unscrupulous character." Wirth's brother, another doctor in the camp, described Clauberg as, "one of the worst characters I have ever met." Ironically, it seems, the only one who liked Clauberg was Himmler.
 


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