New Data on Nazis' Victims Comes to Light
Victims' Stories of Nazi Medical Experiments Worse Than Thought; Could Reopen History Books
The Associated Press
NEW YORK Jan. 25 — A flood of new revelations about grisly medical experiments on Jews during World War II show there probably were thousands more victims than had been previously thought, an expert said Sunday.
So far, 1,778 Jewish victims of Nazi medical experiments from 33 countries have responded to Jewish groups dispersing money from Holocaust settlements recently reached through lawsuits filed in U.S. courts.
Their stories shocking even to those familiar with what was already known should prompt a re-examination of the magnitude of experimentation done by Dr. Josef Mengele and his Nazi cohorts, said Gideon Taylor, executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Materials Claims Against Germany.
A few of the written testimonies submitted to a settlement committee in the last year are being released Monday, Taylor said.
"We certainly didn't expect this number," Taylor said. He added that many of those who responded said they were more interested in having their stories known than in the $5,400 payouts, which will begin getting mailed this week.
Taylor said such a large number of people making claims indicates there were thousands more who died during the experiments or have died since. "Our knowledge has been significantly broadened," he said.
Data collected from the claimants show there were about 178 different types of medical experiments conducted in more than 30 camps and ghettos. Some victims were not Jewish, including a group of Polish nuns, Taylor said.
One 82-year-old man described an experiment in which Nazi dogs with poison on their teeth were let loose to chase him and another man and rip flesh from their legs.
A 73-year-old woman told of Mengele pulling her from a line of people headed to the gas chambers at Auschwitz to go to his laboratory, where she was injected with drugs and chemicals and "they made cuts into my body and left the wounds open for them to study."
"I was used as a guinea pig for medical experiments," she writes. At another point, she says, "As bad as the experiments were, without them I would not be here today to write this."
Reading the testimonies "forces you to believe the unbelievable," Taylor said. "These people have been through hell. There's no other way to describe it."
The victims' written statements will be given to Holocaust institutions, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Here is a list of the countries from which victims have responded and the number from each: Argentina, 6; Australia, 53; Austria, 6; Belgium, 12; Brazil, 10; Canada, 99; Chili, 1; Croatia, 1; Denmark, 6; France, 38; Germany, 65; Great Britain, 16; Greece, 5; Hungary, 182; Israel, 389; Italy, 3; Luxemburg, 1; Monaco, 1; Netherlands, 25; New Zealand, 2; Norway, 3; Peru, 1; Romania, 7; Serbia-Montenegro, 4; Slovak Republic, 66; South Africa, 3; Spain, 4; Sweden, 52; Switzerland, 6; United States, 707; Urugay, 1; Venezuela, 2 and Yugoslavia, 1.
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