Today, marks a dark day in history. It was the beginning of horrifying medical experiments conducted by Himmler and three others on Auschwitz prisoners.
So, how was this man able to commit such heinous acts? The answer to this question is by going back to his earlier years and looking at to how he became one of the most powerful men in Germany.
Before the second world war Heinrich Himmler served as a soldier in the German army in the first world war. Once the first war ended, he had various jobs, Himmler was even a chicken farmer for a time. When the 1920s came, Himmler joined the Nazi party, and after a few years he became in charge of all the Nazi party propaganda from 1926 till around 1930, his position changed just before the end of his propaganda leadership. In 1929, he was appointed as the leader of the SS (Schuzstaffel), and with this appointment, he also became Hitler’s personal bodyguard, and the year after Himmler was elected to the Reichstag.
Himmler had an obsession with ‘racial purity’ and it was that same obsession that he used to aid ‘Aryan breeding programmes’. When the second world war ensued, for Himmler it was the perfect event for him to pursue his other racial agendas, which cost the lives of six million Jews, and others that he and Hitler considered to be as ‘sub-human’.
It was in Berlin, that Himmler summoned a meeting to debate the possibility of using prisoners at the concentration camps like objects to conduct medical experiments on. The outcome of the meeting concluded with the agreement on a major medical experimentation programme taking place in Auschwitz. This programme ensured that no matter the experiment, it had to be conducted in such a way that gave the prisoner no inkling as to what was being done to them. At first these experiments took place on the female Jewish prisoners… the experiments included forms of sterilisation that took place either by uterine injections and/or substantial doses or radiation.
Later on they began experiments on Jewish male prisoners and this was after a consultation that took place with an X-Ray specialist in relation to potentially using X-Rays to neuter men, and using male Jewish prisoners to conduct these tests.
Hitler himself approved of this program, but he agreed to it as long as it remained highly classified. Throughout the years Himmler coordinated the development of Concentration camps right through Eastern Europe, and the establishment of a vast number of captive workers. In 1944, there was a failed attempted assassination of Hitler by Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg, and after that Himmler’s rank was enhanced even more.
Germany’s defeat was looming, and due to that Himmler decided to try and negotiate with the Allies. Of course, once Adolf Hitler found out about the events that took place he was enraged, and had Himmler stripped of all his posts. After Germany’s surrender, Himmler tried to flee under a fabricated name with no success as he was captured by the Allied forces. While in custody, Himmler committed suicide on the 23rd of May, 1945.
To find out in more detail about this part of history I highly recommend a book written by Peter Longerich, who is a professor of Modern German History, and has shown the light on this character who has remained an elusive figure in history… till now.