Criminal Doctors: Auschwitz

Criminal Doctors: Auschwitz

2014, History  -   9 Comments
Ratings: 8.07/10 from 30 users.

The letter from Viktor Brack was written in a dispassionate and matter-of-fact tone. In it, he described the processes by which Jewish prisoners could be sterilized and castrated. It was addressed to Heinrich Himmler, a top ranking Nazi official and one of the chief masterminds behind the Holocaust. So much of the history of the Nazi Party is unimaginably gruesome. This anecdote is no exception. But they are tales that need to be repeated throughout time lest we forget the potential atrocities of man. Criminal Doctors: Auschwitz recalls one particularly repulsive fragment of this history with blunt and exacting power.

The film presents dramatic readings of additional letters and other communications from the instigators of these atrocities. Blanketed over footage of the actual camp locations, they speak of the subjects who were chosen to undergo these monstrous medical experiments. Drs. Josef Mengele, Horst Schumann and others would perform x-ray examinations of each prisoner's genitalia, which often led to an intense burning of their intestines, severe infections and death. Electrical currents were applied to other subjects. Then there were the surgical procedures aimed at removing the prisoners' sexual organs, which some doctors performed with great glee and enthusiasm. Many of those who didn't die outright from these experiments would eventually perish from their wounds as they returned to work in the camps.

The communications featured in the film effectively conjure the sense of despair and degradation these human beings were forced to endure. They are stories of mutilation, agonizing death and of ghostly spaces marked by deafening symphonies of screams. We hear of the elaborate process by which each prisoner was divided and housed. One communication describes the pleasant courtyard not far removed from the billowing stacks of ash which erupted from one of many crematoriums. Another testifies to the medical dissection of 2-year old twin brothers.

Criminal Doctors: Auschwitz simply portrays an environment of unimaginable carnage. Forgoing the emotional flourish of a musical score or overly dramatic narration, the film presents this history in an honest and straightforward manner. This restraint makes the horrors of its narrative feel even more intimate and powerful.

Directed by: Emil Weiss

More great documentaries

9 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Roger Andout

    I am lost for words that doctors, above all, allowed themselves to be a part of such barbarity.

    1. Anna

      I'm not. I've seen how completely indifferent doctors can be towards their patients while I worked in long term care. Now I work in mental health/social services and it isn't really much better. I left LTC entirely 3 years ago. Almost every doctor in this part of the state (PA) swept their nursing home patients of opiates and benzodiazepine prescriptions when our state legislators passed the ridiculous new laws on opiates that have created a nightmare for the elderly and people with chronic injuries. Our overdose rates just keep climbing, but nevermind that. These laws were supposed to address the 'opiate epidemic' and they've failed miserably, but it appears that very few people care about the most vulnerable people in our society. Most doctors here didn't even try to defend their patients or take steps necessary to keep prescribing. They just cut them off completely. We were sending people in their 70s, 80s and 90s to the hospital, often ending up in the ICU for days, thanks to severe withdrawal when doctors took their prescriptions en masse almost overnight. Its nothing but senseless cruelty, but no one cares. I've seen people leave doctors' offices and other medical providers in tears openly talking about suicide and they're completely ignored more often than not. Its much easier to ignore them and breathe a sigh of relief when the 'problem' leaves than actually try to help. I never thought I would see such indifference to misery and suffering from so many medical care providers. It was honestly shocking to see, especially since many of those people talking about suicide went through with it. One would think that after the first few cases something would be done, but it wasn't. People simply do not care, and I've learned how few doctors really care about their patients as opposed to putting on an act for a hefty paycheck.

    2. George Floyd

      They were probably the only Doctors in History that were able to use twins in their research. Experiment on one and when this twin dies..... Kill the other "control" twin and compare autopsies. I would.. Probably get Nobel or find a cure for some disease. Disease like *********. That's worse than HIV. ********* affects behavior, Symptoms include stupidity, A need to impregnate a woman and run away, Violence, Murder, Rape, Rape, Raping white women, raping all women, Burning cities down, thievery and finally Rape.

  2. Jose

    What can I say?

  3. Sha

    Sad to think we may be heading in that direction once again, and on a broader base.

  4. Stephen Johnson

    And after the war, they were then recruited by the CIA.

    1. Jimbo

      Better then the Soviets getting them and their expertise. People are soft anymore.

  5. Micheal Feeney

    The audio of Criminal doctors is very poor.
    Micheal Feeney

    1. JD

      That will match the quality of data in the subject matter then, so, rather appropriate.