The experiments that German SS doctor Sigmund Rascher conducted leaned more towards human torture and it’s no wonder , he was a favorite of Heinrich Himmler. Because of this, Rascher enjoyed absolute power at the Dachau concentration camp when it came to selecting his victims. In this article, you will learn about some of the theories he worked on during World War II.
Rascher took full advantage of these perks during World War II because he believed no one would care about his actions during such violent wartime. He held the position of captain in the German Luftwaffe. He started out experimenting on humans for research pertaining to high altitude flight. He rigged a portable pressure chamber, which ultimately led to the deaths of many victims. Rascher also conducted “freezing experiments,” which took the lives of more than 100 people. Interestingly, he did document the best methods of warming someone if they were suffering from terminal hypothermia.
During his days at Dauchau, Rascher also created cyanide capsules that came in quite handy when spies and criminals wished to commit suicide. He also conducted blood coagulation experiments by testing the effects of a substance called Polygal. Made from beet and apple pectin, it showed promise in helping with the clotting of blood.
Rascher believed that using Polygal tablets could reduce bleeding from gunshot wounds that took place in combat or during surgery. He would give a Polygal tablet to a test subject and then shoot them in the neck or chest. Sometimes, they had arms or legs amputated without any anesthesia. An article was published on his experiments using Polygal, but the details of the human trials were not mentioned. He even went as far as to establish a company to manufacture the substance, which was manned by prisoners.
However, the misdeeds and greed of Rascher would come to play a role in his death. He wished to please Himmler by demonstrating that population growth could be accelerated by extending the childbearing age. Rascher began to publicize that his wife had given birth to three children after she turned 48 years old. Himmler was so impressed that he used a photo of Rascher’s family in his propaganda materials. But when Rascher’s wife was in what was supposed to be her fourth pregnancy, she was arrested for trying to kidnap a baby. An investigation was launched.
Authorities revealed that her three other children were not her own. The Raschers had either paid for the babies or kidnapped them. Himmler felt personally betrayed and had Rascher arrested in April 1944. The list of charges included the kidnappings of the three infants, financial irregularities, scientific fraud, and even the murder of one of his assistants. In the end, the German SS doctor was executed on April 26, 1945 in the Dachau concentration camp. His death took place right before the liberation of the camps took place by American forces. For her role in the deceitful plan, Rascher’s wife was hung at an undisclosed location.