Nazi doctors carried out direct medical killings as part of “life unworthy of life” policy, as well as deathly experiments on concentration camp prisoners. German doctors were forced to do that according to the Nazi medical decisions. There were two racial programs which directed the entire work of the German physicians of that time:
– coercive sterilization,
– killing of “impaired” people.
Euthanasia program alone, the centers of which were in Hartheim, Somnenstein, Grafeneck, Bernburg, Brandeburg and Hademar, has launched into eternity about 100000 mentally and permanently sick people. They were murdered in carbon monoxide gas chambers. The systematic euthanasia procedures began in April 1940 and within three weeks all Jewish patients were to be murdered.
Along with that, Nazi obsession with an idea of complete erasure of the Jews out of Europe led to the elimination of Jewish physicians and the gradual exclusion and barring of Jews from medical practice altogether. In 1939 an amendment to the Nuremberg Laws nullified the medical licenses of all Jewish doctors. Jewish professors, among them well known authorities, were excluded from the universities and medical schools.
In June 1933 a sterilization law was introduced. Chronically sick and “asocial” Germans were sterilized. Physicians took part in “Heredity Health Courts” and performed the sterilization surgical procedures. Reliable estimates for the number of sterilizations fall between 200000 and 350000.
Further on, in their fulfillment of the Reich commands, the Nazi set up a series of pure extermination camps using gas chambers and specially trained personnel. SS doctors also practiced a murderous “epidemiology” sending prisoners with a contagious disease, especially typhus and scarlet fever, to the gas chambers, sometimes with their fellow patients, contagious or not, so that the entire block could be “disinfected”. In the medical blocks, SS doctors ordered and supervised, and sometimes themselves killed debilitated prisoners with phenol injections.