Medical Experiments in Auschwitz Conducted by I.G. Farben
(from the book "I.G. Farben - from Anilin to forced labor" by Jörg Hunger and Paul Sander)
Scientific experiments were also done in other concentration camps. A decisive fact is that IG employee SS major Dr. med. Helmuth Vetter, stationed in several concentration camps, participated in these experiments by order of Bayer Leverkusen.
At the same time as Dr. Joseph Mengele, experimented in Auschwitz with medications that were designated "B-1012", B-1034", "3382" or "Rutenol". The test preparations were not only applied to those prisoners who were ill, but also to healthy ones. These people were first infected on purpose through pills, powdered substances, injections or enemas. Many of the medications caused the victims to vomit or have bloody diarrhoea. In most cases the prisoners died as a result of the experiments.
In the Auschwitz files correspondence was discovered between the camp commander and Bayer Leverkusen. It dealt with the sale of 150 female prisoners for experimental purposes: "With a view to the planned experiments with a new sleep-inducing drug we would appreciate it if you could place a number of prisoners at our disposal (…)" – "We confirm your response, but consider the price of 200 RM per woman to be too high. We propose to pay no more than 170 RM per woman. If this is acceptable to you, the women will be placed in our possession. We need some 150 women (…)" – "We confirm your approval of the agreement. Please prepare for us 150 women in the best health possible (…)" – "Received the order for 150 women. Despite their macerated condition they were considered satisfactory. We will keep you informed of the developments regarding the experiments (…)" – "The experiments were performed. All test persons died. We will contact you shortly about a new shipment (…)"
A former Auschwitz prisoner testified: "There was a large ward of tuberculars on block 20. The Bayer Company sent medications in unmarked and unnamed ampoules. The tuberculars were injected with this. These unfortunate people were never killed in the gas chambers. One only had to wait for them to die, which did not take long (…) 150 Jewish women that had been bought from the camp attendant by Bayer, (…) served for experiments with unknown hormonal preparations."
Parallel to the tests by Behringwerke and Bayer Leverkusen the chemical-pharmaceutical and serologic-bacteriological department at Hoechst started experimenting on Auschwitz prisoners with their new typhus fever preparation “3582”. The first series of tests had results that were far from satisfactory. Of the 50 test persons 15 died; the typhus fever drug led to vomiting and exhaustion. Part of the Auschwitz concentration camp was quarantined, which led to an extension of the tests to the concentration camp in Buchenwald . In the journal of the "Department for typhus fever and viral research of the concentration camp Buchenwald" we find on January 10th, 1943: "As suggested by the IG Farbenindustrie A.G. the following were tested as typhus fever medications: a) preparation 3582 <Akridin> of the chem. pharm. and sero-bact. Department Hoechst – Prof. Lautenschläger and Dr. Weber – (therapeutic test A), b) methylene blue, formerly tested on mice by Prof. Kiekuth, Elberfeld (therapeutic test M)."
The first and also the second series of therapeutic tests, held in Buchenwald between March 31st and April 11th 1943 , were negative due to insufficient contamination of the tested prisoners. Neither did the experiments in Auschwitz show evident successes.
The scientific value of all these experiments, whether ordered by the IG Farben or not, was in fact zero. The test persons were in bad physical condition, caused by forced labor, insufficient and wrong nutrition and diseases in the concentration camp. In addition to this there were generally bad sanitary circumstances in the laboratories. "The test results in the concentration camps, as the IG laboratory specialists should have known, could not be compared to results made under normal circumstances".
The SS physician Dr. Hoven testified to this during the Nuremberg Trial: "It should be generally known, and especially in German scientific circles, that the SS did not have notable scientists at its disposal. It is clear that the experiments in the concentration camps with IG preparations only took place in the interests of the IG, which strived with all means to determine the effectiveness of these preparations. They let the SS deal with the – shall I say – dirty work in the concentration camps. It was not the IG’s intention to make any of this public, but rather to put up a smoke screen around the experiments so that (…) they could keep any profits to themselves. Not the SS but the IG took the initiative for the concentration camp experiments."