January 30, 1954

Human Behavior in the Concentration Camp

JAMA. 1954;154(5):459. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940390083041

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This book was written by a Dutch physician who was himself a prisoner of the Nazis in a camp where wholesale exterminations were carried out. Although his family was sent to the gas chambers and he was subjected to unbelievably bad conditions, he has written with astonishing objectivity. The first half of the book describes the general and medical aspects of the German concentration camps, and although it forms a necessary background for the last half it contains little that has not been published previously. One point that stands out above all others is the farcical character of sanitation and medical treatment in a camp where the prime object was to destroy life, not to save it. The author also has something to say about the inhuman experiments performed on prisoners by German physicians. Although the number of these physicians was relatively small, they reported their experiments in detail to

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