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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2010
If your buying this then you have to keep one thing in mind. this is one woman's story of how she saw the Nuremberg trial concerning the doctors. there is about three chapters about her time there, and the rest is a chapter on each type of experiment. the book is well written if not a little strange in the layout as you don't really need her part in this type of book . however the parts written on the experiments on the doctors, though they may be short do shine a light on what was done and to who by who. So for those starting to look into this crime I highly recomend it and even those a bit more ahead will find names and dates and other assorted facts that they may not know.

In short, interesting, informative, well written. I cant mark someone down for what they didnt write as there are giant thick tomes out there on the same subject,this was just another persons involvement in the story
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VINE VOICEon 4 January 2016
In 1946, Vivien Spitz travelled to Nuremberg, Germany, to report verbatim proceedings at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. She reported on the medical case of 20 Nazi doctors and three medical assistants. This book tells of medical experiments conducted in Nazi Germany and considers the Holocaust, medical ethics, human rights and the barbaric depths to which human beings can descend. This was particularly apposite in Europe which had long adhered to the Hippocratic oath which demanded that medicine was practiced for the benefit of the sick. Spitz put all her memories of the horror of the Nazi doctors' trial to the back of her mind until the late 1980's a teacher in Denver referred to the Holohoax. The teacher, who claimed she was teaching critical thinking, was demoted while Spitz 'hauled out transcripts, material and original press photographs (she) brought from Nuremberg' , began to give lectures about the Holocaust and became actively involved in promoting Holocaust Awareness.

Unwisely, Spitz, asked Elie Wiesel to provide the foreword. Unwisely because Wiesel is an unabashed Zionist for whom the Holocaust is a unique example of genocide which has resulted in him denying other examples such as that of the Armenians in 1915. Neither, according to Wiesel, can Israel do any wrong. This is not to deny the reality of his life in a Nazi concentration camp, nor to invalidate his observations that many of those who committed atrocities were highly intelligent and qualified persons. He is naive is assuming that anyone in Nazi Germany could simply have slipped away or said no to the scientific experiments. He claimed 'the killers could have decided not to kill' but professional training is only one element in a human being's psyche.

A second foreword by Frederick Adams points out, 'it was the doctors that upheld the ethics of medicine that were ostracised'. No science can be divorced from its human context. It was in the United States that eugenics theory was vigorously implemented. US doctors practiced the worst forms of tyranny as a result and provided the model on which Nazi Germany based its sterilisation laws. The difference was Nazis took the American model to its logical conclusion and, having disregarded liberal theory, expanded those eligible for sterilisation to include those with 'congenital mental defects, schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis, hereditary epilepsy and severe alcoholism'. Adams lists a number of non-consensual experiments carried out in post-Nuremberg America. Other examples of medicine having been betrayed are given and one wonders whether physician-assisted suicide is different in kind or degree.

Spitz arrived in Nuremberg shortly after the main Nazi leaders had been hanged for their crimes. Court reporters sat for fifteen minutes, recorded what they heard, with assistance from a German monitor, wrote up their reports which was then compared with the court's electronic recording. She admits it was hard to remain dispassionate emotionally as the various forms of experimentation were read out and examined. This is clear from her description of Karl Brandt, 'Adolf Hitler's personal physician and chief architect of the programme that turned doctors into torturers and murderers despite their Hippocratic Oath to heal and cure'. Brandt and six others were sentenced to death, five received life sentences, four varying terms of imprisonment and seven found not guilty.

In 1939 the Nazis applied Aryan racial theories which included illegal euthanasia which, by 1940, was no longer a secret to the extent that Himmler ordered its discontinuation. Other programmes included high-altitude experiments at Dachau for which eight defendants were charged and of which Rudolph Brandt and Wolfram Sievers were found guilty and sentenced to death. Freezing experiments were conducted for the benefit of the German Air Force whose pilots crashed into the sea. Malaria experiments were carried out between February 1942 and April 1945. Dr Karl Schilling argued in a separated trial that his work was for the benefit of science and he should be allowed to continue with it. He failed to appreciate that it was against medical ethics to kill and was hanged.

The Nazis tried to justify their experiments on the grounds the results could be used to treat military casualties. Sulfanilamide experiments were carried out at the women's concentration camp in Ravensbrueck. Amongst those convicted was Herta Oberheuser, the only female amongst the defendants, who was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment, later reduced to ten, for her role in killing healthy children and removing their limbs. After her release she served as a family doctor until she was recognised and lost her licence to practice. Rather like Myra Hindley the idea that a woman could be involved in killing children made it worse in the eyes of the public. Similarly, the actions of Nazi doctors generally in conducting inhuman experiments on the basis of racial ideology gives the impression that Harold Shipman was a well balanced individual. Evidence of the use of gas chambers was given by Waffen SS member Kurt Gerstein. Gernstein was a covert anti-Nazi sympathiser whose account of the gassing of Jews has been confirmed, although his exact role and the strange manner of his death have never been fully explained. His account of the fanaticism of those involved in killing Jews is haunting.

Such fanaticism affected Spitz who was living at the Grand Hotel when it was bombed by Nazi sympathisers. During her time in Nuremberg she did not develop relationships with Germans, not even the housekeeper at the flat where she stayed initially. She went to Nuremberg because she was proud of her German heritage but did so completely ignorant of anti-Semitism which became clear only during the trial. She had no knowledge of Hitler's Final Solution but, given her youth, this is not surprising as a parallel study of the life of Hitler's private secretary, Traudl Junge, who was equally naive about the politics of the period demonstrates. Though useful as a source the book is generally disappointing being a mish-mash of narrative and documentation. Three stars.
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on 5 December 2013
although this was an interesting read I felt it took too long to 'get to the point'
this isn't the best book I've read and it was repetitive in parts
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on 25 January 2007
This book is one of the most informative books I have ever read on the Holocaust. I have recently visited Poland, I spent a week learning about the Large Jewish Community before the war, and the varied process's the Nazi party used for their mass extermination. I visited Auschwitz, Majdanek, Triblinka and Plaszow concentration camps. Out of the 6 books I read whilst on my visit, this is the one that most stands out for me.

It gives a detailed account of what conversations and statements were made at the Nuremberg trials including Testimonies from survivors of the horrendous experiments. Each chapter is related to a different experiment carried out by Nazi `doctors'. It was not only incredibly interesting, but it provoked me to research the holocaust even more as, after my visit I am even more curious to know every single detail about the atrocious events that occurred.

This book did the perfect job by describing the manner and the place every experiment was operated in. Some pictures of the `results' of the experiments are included, and it is because of these pictures and the detailed testimonies and accounts of the various Experiments that took place, that I would not recommend this book to the emotionally fragile. Then again - if you want to know, there's only one way to find out. After all, I am only 16, and I found this book amazing.
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on 20 July 2008
A disturbing but flawed book on one of the darkest chapters in world history. The court transcripts are disjointed and whole pages spread out a few lines onto the whole page. Depth and analysis is not what this book is about and I found the whole thing disjointed and in the end not very satisfying.
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on 4 March 2006
I bought this book because the author was present at the doctor trials. I had hoped for a comprehensive account of the doctors and their actions but it isn't. There is a chapter devoted to the each of the various experiments but I found them generally brief, there are excerpts from the victims testimonies though. It is a book describing what she saw and heard during her time in Nuremberg but isn't a detailed account of who the doctors were and what they did. Even though it was a bit short it was ok, hence three stars.
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on 20 April 2009
I am fascinated by certain aspects of the 2nd world war. As in how can one section of humans be so cruel and pure evil to another. I have watched the SHOAH documentary. Which was breathtaking. I stumbled across this book on Amazon and decided it looked good. I wasn't wrong. Vivien Spitz takes you right into the heart of the broken Germany at the end of the war. She gives a first hand account of the Nuremberg Trials. What she describes to us that are actual facts from victims giving evidence is chilling. Some of the images in the book are very harrowing. We must never forget.
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on 17 September 2016
Propaganda of the victors and hidden rulers....
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on 18 April 2016
Brilliant book. Very well written and informative. A fantastic insight into some of the horrors of concentration camps.
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on 25 February 2009
Doctors From Hell is an excellent factual read and one of the best for detail on the medical experiments carried out during the holocaust.This is one to keep for my personal library collection.
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