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The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (1986)

by Robert Jay Lifton

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859825,303 (4.01)11
A brilliant analysis and history of the crucial role that German doctors played in Nazi genocide.
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This huge study, taken on by Lifton, must have been very painful in its execution. If you hated Nazis and Aryans before you read this, you will become enraged at their presumptuous impression that THEIR race was the only one that should survive in this world. Ugh. Anyone could be a target for murder: elderly, people with mental illness, homosexuals, Romanians, ...and Jews.

However, when you see Animals as sentient beings, instead of flesh on a plate, you are not as shocked by cruelty to humans as flesh-eaters are. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
This book is essential in any quest to understand how someone could murder and torture during the day only to return home to their nice families at night. ( )
  Vantine | Apr 1, 2020 |
This is a new take on the Holocaust. The thesis is that the policy of the "final solution" was evolutionary, growing out of prior programs, such as euthanasia. A haunting phrase is used to describe Jews (and other subhumans): "Life Unworthy of Life." Lifton's point is that from the very beginning--forced sterilizations--physicians were the point people for every subsequent escalation of death, culminating in Auschwitz. The author provides context and research gathered from multiple sources, including interviews with survivors and SS doctors. The role of Jewish and Polish doctors is examined as well. Nazi doctors believed that the Fuhrer oath supplanted the Hippocratic oath; their patient was deemed to be the German volk, rather than individuals. Given that mindset, it made selections at the death campus (conducted almost exclusively by physcians) an acceptable activity. Lifton notes the reversal of reality: from healing people to killing them. His perceptive psychological profiles of people like Mengele are alone worth the price of admission. The medical dimension of the Holocaust seems to be central to the entire Nazi effort to exterminate the Jews. Doctors were the ones, for example, who supervised the delivery of Zyklon B pellets into the showers. Lifton has done history a major service by plumbing this heretofore under-appreciated aspect of Holocaust studies. The last section is devoted to a rather difficult examination of links between psychology and genocide. I couldn't get through that, and it seemed too specialized for someone more interested in history. ( )
  neddludd | Jun 11, 2013 |
Wonderfully written and well informing. ( )
  AxelleDarkleigh | Sep 16, 2010 |
This book makes very sad reading ( )
  GlenRalph | Jul 19, 2009 |
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A brilliant analysis and history of the crucial role that German doctors played in Nazi genocide.

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