May 28, 2024

German scientists collaborated with Nazis

Historical study documents politicised research

A seven-year-long investigation of Germany’s largest research organisation has confirmed that scientists worked hand in hand with the Nazi regime in order to conduct lethal experiments. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft remains Germany’s major funding body, with a budget of about US$1.9 billion. The study found that after Hitler assumed power, the foundation collaborated “almost completely and without scruple”.

Close cooperation with politicians began in the 20s, when Germany was struggling to cope with its loss in World War I. Scientists of the time felt that their work should support national interests. When the Nazis came to power, many scientists sought funding for projects which would be popular with the new regime. Medical researchers focused mainly on genetics, in line with the Nazis’ racist ideology. “The scientists clearly used the totalitarian system to have the freedom of conducting lethal experiments,” says Wolfgang Eckart, of Heidelberg University. ~ BMJ, Feb 16

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Nazi doctors