The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide


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Photograph showing two boys sitting in a garden after liberation. The two boys, Hirsh Litmanowicz and Saul Oren-Hornfeld were misused for medical experiments in Sachsenhausen

© Sachsenhausen Memorial

Science + Suffering: Children as Victims of Medical Experiments in Concentration Camps

Dr. Astrid Ley, Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, Oranienburg (Germany)

Tue 6 Jun 2017

Time: 6:30pm - 8pm

6:00pm - 6:30pm – Exhibition view

6.30pm - 8:00pm – Lecture by Dr Astrid Ley 

Part of The Wiener Library's Science + Suffering event series. 

Experiments with concentration camp prisoners began immediately after the outbreak war in autumn 1939. In the last two years of the war, even children were misused by Nazi doctors for medical experiments in the camps. The geneticist Dr. Josef Mengele, who was the camp physician in Auschwitz from May 1943, carried out genetic research on children twins. The immunologist Dr. Arnold Dohmen undertook hepatitis experiments on Jewish boys in Sachsenhausen from September 1944. The lung doctor Dr. Kurt Heißmeyer in January 1945 infected Jewish children in Neuengamme for test purposes with tuberculosis pathogens.

Dr Astrid Ley's talk addresses the following questions. Why were experiments made on children in concentration camps? Where these experiments just the apex of morally uninhibited research in the "Third Reich," or were there other reasons as well?

Chaired by Professor Paul Weindling, Oxford Brookes University.

About the Speaker

Dr Astrid Ley is a historian  of medicine and deputy head of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial near Berlin. Her main research interest is medicine under National Socialism and, in particular, medical crimes and medical care in concentration camps. She will be in residence at The Wiener Library as an EHRI Fellow in June 2017, focusing on the moral dilemmas faced by inmate physicians.


Image credit: Hirsh Litmanowicz and Saul Oren-Hornfeld, two of boys misused for medical experiments in Sachsenhausen, after the liberation, June 1945. © Sachsenhausen Memorial


With support from the Wellcome Trust.

Location: The Wiener Library - click for map

Image - wellcome_logo_black_4.jpg

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