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Bad Science

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Bad Science

On Monday, November 15th, 1982 the New York Times published an article entitled "Out of Death, a Zest for Life." The title caught my eye because it seemed to be the only one that didn't have to do with politics, the economy, or terrorism. The author, Nadine Brozan, wrote this article based on an interview with a woman named Dr. Gisella Perl. Dr. Perl was a Hungarian gynecologist and a survivor of the Holocaust from one of its most famous death camps; Auschwitz.

As a prisoner, she was allowed to work as a doctor who was forced to aid Dr. Josef Mengele. Dr. Mengele was a man who practiced very bizarre, unethical medical experiments on the prisoners of Auschwitz and he eventually became known as "the doctor of death" or "the angel of death." Dr, Perl said, "One of the greatest crimes in Auschwitz was to be pregnant." (Brozan C: 20) Not only did Dr. Mengele perform horrible experiments on pregnant women, but he also preformed tests on handicapped prisoners and twins (which he is most famous for).

Dr. Mengele tricked Dr. Perl into sending the pregnant woman to him. "He said that they would go to another camp for better nutrition....I learned that they were all taken to the research block to be used as guinea pigs, and then the two lives would be thrown in the crematorium." (Brozan C: 20) As far as sanitation was concerned at Auschwitz, there really wasn't any. It is a fact that Dr. Mengele's hospital had no beds, no operating tools, not even bandages. (Brozan C: 20) When compared to the hospitals in the United States, I feel that a hospital in Auschwitz does not deserve the title, "hospital." Apparently, Dr. Perl felt the same way. She took it upon herself to find the women held prisoner in the camp, and some how made them deliver their babies prematurely (Brozan C: 20). "Hundreds of times I had premature deliveries. No one will ever know what it meant to me to destroy those babies, but if I had not done it, both mother and child would have been cruelly murdered." (Brozan C: 20) It really makes me think how horrible it must have been for Dr. Perl. A very powerful quote taken from the article has her saying, "God, you owe me a life, a living baby." For her to say this every time she enters the delivery rooms makes it difficult to imagine the massive amounts of babies she delivered that did not possess a life; that had even gotten the opportunity to take a breath of air.

Dr. Perl had good intentions for her actions. At least she got to spare one of the two lives from the evil hands of Mengele. "Dr. Mengele was particularly cold and cynical" (Posner & Ware 27). However, what about the rest of the "guinea pigs" he used for experiments? In order to understand what happened to the less fortunate (those that did not have the help of Dr. Perl), it would help to understand the way Dr. Mengele operated his sick bay. Mengele had several prison doctors working underneath him (one being Dr. Perl). The doctors were rarely informed as to why they were ordered to do most of the procedures they did (27) For example, Mengele made the staff working under him write a report for each woman brought into the "hospital" (Posner & Ware 28) Then, they would have to estimate how long they thought the patient would have to stay under the care of a doctor (Posner & Ware 28). If it was shorter than four weeks, Mengele would reprimand them, asking them how they called themselves a doctor, and made the patient stay longer (Posner & Ware 29). While one would think of this as an act of kindness, Mengele had an ulterior motive. Any patient who stayed in his sick bay for longer than four weeks was ordered to the crematorium immediately to free up space for his experiments (29).

The wickedness of Dr. Mengele did not stop there. He was obsessed with performing medical experiments on prisoners, especially twins, although he claims to have never harmed anybody during his "play time"( Posner & Ware 25). Menegele was so interested in twins because through their DNA, he was trying to create a way to increase the birth rate of the Aryan race. In a sense, he was "playing God" because he was genetically engineering humans to fit the Aryan profile (fair skin, blue eyes, blond hair and tall). There was one occasion when Dr. Mengele actually stopped an SS truck carrying prisoners to the crematorium and made a twin by the name of RenÐ"© Slotkin get off the truck. "He stopped the truck because they were going to kill his twins." (Posner & Ware 29) The doctor was so fixated on obtaining twins for his studies that "he attended railhead selections even when it wasn't his turn; he could be seen bargaining with the SS doctors on duty to set the twins aside for him." (Posner



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