Photo: The above photo shows the room where much of the medical abuse that happened at Dachau took place. My heart felt as though it weighed ten pounds when I walked into this room. The emotion I felt in this space, that far exceeded the sadness and empathy I felt when reading about this abuse at Dachau, lead me to write the following post.
All my life I have wanted to be a doctor, and I have always looked up to those in the Medical field. After my first year of Pre-Med I now especially admire those who put in the mass amount of difficult work to do anything in medicine. Doctors are incredibly skilled individuals who make use of a vast variety and depth of knowledge, and because of this, doctors have a lot of power. The knowledge that they accumulate over the course of 8+ years is meant to help them heal and save the sick and dying, but just like any other knowledge that is in our brains, how they use the knowledge is up to them. It sickens me that anyone would ever choose to use this knowledge for evil, but this is unfortunately what I witnessed on Thursday at Dachau concentration camp.
The museum at Dachau explained how prisoners were used in medical experiments. These tests included forcing selected prisoners to drink nothing but sea water, suffer in a chamber testing air pressure effects, consume unexplored biochemicals, experience induced hypothermia, and many others. Most of these tests were lead by Dr. Rascher who was under direction from Heinrich Himmler. Although some claimed the tests were being used to improve technology for the Nazi Navy, most realized the experiments were solely another tragic and barbaric form of torture. Dr. Rascher and the other doctors at Dachau tortured and killed over 1000 innocent prisoners at the camp. Although this number is only a small fraction of the total number of victims to perish from medical expiration during the Nazi rule, I was still overwhelmingly struck by the evil in this act. Everything that happened at Dachau and that the Nazis did is sickening and breaks my heart, but the miss-use of valuable and powerful knowledge in the case of these experiments rocked me to my core. It is terrible that knowledge that is supposed to be used to bring back life into the world took the precious lives of so many.
This experience made me look at my life in many ways, but it especially made me realize that every little thing I am learning is powerful and can help me serve the world for good. It made me aware of the dangers of evil in medicine and I will now be even more prone to look for abuse of knowledge and fight it as I pursue my career. I will forever have the victims of this terror in my heart and use the material I am learning to better the world and bring life to it, for them and for many others.