You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

December 28: Mass Sterilization

December 28, 2015

220px-Carl_Clauberg_1Nazi doctor Carl Clauberg began to sterilize Jewish and Roma women with formaldehyde injections and X-rays at the Auschwitz concentration camp on this date in 1942. Clauberg had been a respected gynecology researcher and fertility doctor who became a committed Nazi and sought permission from Heinrich Himmler to pursue sterilization experimentation upon captive women “so that,” he wrote to Himmler, “I shall be able to report in the foreseeable future that one experienced physician, with an appropriately equipped office and the aid of ten auxiliary personnel, will be able to carry out in the course of a single day the sterilization of hundreds, or even 1,000 women.” At least 700 women were sterilized at his hands, without anesthesia. After fleeing Auschwitz in anticipation of the advance of the Red Army in 1944, Clauberg continued his abusive research at the Ravensbruck concentration camp. He was tried for war crimes by the USSR and sentenced to 25 years in prison, but was released after seven years as part of a German-Soviet repatriation agreement. Clauberg was actually allowed to resume work at his pre-war clinic, but after publicly boasting of his “research” at Auschwitz, a public outcry led to his arrest in 1955. He died of a heart attack before his trial began.

“Before mass sterilization experiments arose during the Holocaust, many women had already been sterilized throughout Germany... the experiments conducted during the Holocaust were done to find the quickest way to sterilize large numbers of women. The methods were painful, and most women who suffered through them died, either after sterilization, or as a result of it.” —Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and After