Professor Dr KARL CLAUBERG was an
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
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 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
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.
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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