Sigmund Rascher : biography
Sigmund Rascher (12 February 1909 – 26 April 1945) was a German SS doctor. His deadly experiments on humans, which were carried out in the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, were judged inhumane and criminal during the Nuremberg Trials.
Early life and career
Rascher was born the third child of Hanns-August Rascher (1880–1952), a physician, and completed his secondary education in Konstanz in 1930 or 1931 (this is uncertain, as he himself used both dates). In 1933 he began studying medicine in Munich, where he also joined the NSDAP. The exact day of his joining is also uncertain, as there are two dates given: Rascher insisted that it was on March 1, whereas the documents show May 1.
After his (internship), he worked with his now divorced father in Basel, Switzerland, and also continued his studies there, joining the Swiss Voluntary Work Forces. In 1934 he moved to Munich to finish his studies, and received his doctorate in 1936.
In May 1936 year Rascher joined the SA. In 1939 he transferred to the SS with the rank of Gefreiter (Private).
In Munich Rascher worked with Prof. Trumpp from 1936 to 1938 on cancer diagnostics, supported by a stipend, and until 1939 was an assistant physician at Munich's Schwabinger Krankenhaus hospital.
Category:1909 births Category:1945 deaths Category:People from Munich Category:Dachau concentration camp personnel Category:Executed military personnel Category:Nazi physicians Category:SS officers Category:Holocaust perpetrators Category:Nazi human subject research
Personal life and execution
In an attempt to please Himmler by demonstrating that population growth could be accelerated by extending the childbearing age, Rascher publicized the fact that his wife had given birth to three children even after becoming 48 years of age, and Himmler used a photograph of Rascher's family as propaganda material. However, during her fourth "pregnancy", Mrs. Rascher was arrested for trying to kidnap a baby and an investigation revealed that her other three children had been either bought or kidnapped. Himmler felt betrayed by this conduct, and Rascher was arrested in April 1944. As well as complicity in the kidnappings of the three infants, Rascher was accused of financial irregularities, the murder of an assistant, and scientific fraud. He and his wife were executed.Michalczyk, p. 97 Rascher was executed in Dachau shortly before Allied forces liberated it, and his wife was hanged at an unknown location.Doctors From Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans by Vivien Spitz, p. 225
Career with the SS
In 1939 Rascher denounced his father, joined the SS, and was conscripted into the Luftwaffe. A relationship and eventually marriage to former singer Karoline "Nini" Diehl gained him direct access to Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Rascher's connection with Himmler gave him immense influence, even over his superiors. Diehl may have been a former lover of Himmler; she frequently corresponded with him and interceded with him on her husband's behalf.
A week after first meeting Himmler, Rascher presented a paper, "Report on the Development and Solution to Some of the Reichsfuehrer's Assigned Tasks During a Discussion Held on April 24, 1939". Rascher became involved in testing a plant extract as a cancer treatment. Kurt Blome, deputy of the Reich Health Leader (Reichsgesundheitsführer) and Plenipotentiary for Cancer Research in the Reich Research Council, favoured testing the extract on rodents, but Rascher insisted on using human test subjects. Himmler took Rascher's side and a Human Cancer Testing Station was established at Dachau. Blome worked on the project.
High altitude experimentsThe Master Plan: Himmler’s Scholars and the Holocaust
Rascher subsequently wrote back to Brandt, asking for permission to carry out his experiments at Dachau, and plans for the experiments were developed at a conference in early 1942 attended by Rascher and members of the Luftwaffe Medical Service. The experiments were carried out in the spring and summer of the same year, using a portable pressure chamber supplied by the Luftwaffe. The victims were locked in the chamber, the interior pressure of which was then lowered to a level corresponding to very high altitudes. The pressure could be very quickly altered, allowing Rascher to simulate the conditions which would be experienced by a pilot freefalling from altitude without oxygen. After viewing a report of one of the fatal experiments, Himmler remarked that if a subject should survive such treatment, he should be "pardoned" to life imprisonment. Rascher replied to Himmler that the victims had to date been merely Poles and Russians, and that he believed they should be given no amnesty of any sort.
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