Medical Experiments

Arnold Shay
Arnold Shay

Medical experiments were unethical procedures typically performed on prisoners of concentration camps without any form of consent.


Several different types of medical experiments were performed. Some focused on aiding the survival rates of the German military. For example, camp doctors tried to use prisoners in freezing experiments in an attempt to find an effective treatment for hypothermia. Others focused on testing and producing new medicine and treatment methods that could be beneficial for the German military and the German “master race.”


Sometimes, inmates were operated on just to see if they would heal and survive the procedure. Dr. Josef Mengele performed some of the most infamous experiments in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He became known as the “Angel of Death,” since he was also partially in charge of the selection process for the new arrivals at the ramp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Dr. Mengele was among a number of medical doctors that participated in performing these experiments.


Numerous victims of these cruel medical procedures did not survive. Będzin survivor Arnold Shay was a victim of these experiments.


For more information on medical experiments:

USHMM: Nazi Medical Experiments