Testimony uncovered by accident offers new details on Nazi medical experiments

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Newly discovered testimony provides brutal new details about Nazi medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners, including reportedly locking one man inside a glass cage with thousands of mosquitoes in order to infect him with malaria.

An archivist recently stumbled upon an undated, three-page deposition submitted by a Jewish survivor of several concentration camps while cataloging Jewish Agency files at the Central Zionist Archive, Haaretz reported Monday.

The deposition, believed to have been recorded in the early postwar period, is the testimony of Heinz Reimer, a Jewish survivor of Dachau, Mauthausen and other camps. Reimer tells of undergoing Nazi hypothermia experiments at Dachau in which he and other prisoners were on multiple occasions immersed in ice water and then in boiling water.

His testimony is part of an application Reimer submitted requesting financial assistance from the Jewish Agency.

Reimer reported that along with other tortures he endured in the camps, he was purposely infected with various diseases by Nazi doctors in order to test cures for them.

While part of the testimony has been published, Patrick Casiano, the archivist at the Central Zionist Archive who discovered the document, told Haaretz it was the first time that the full three-page testimony has been available to historians.

In his testimony, Reimer names several Nazi doctors who experimented on him and told of being infected with malaria and syphilis so the doctors could then test various cures on him.

Rather than infecting him with an injection, the doctors, Reimer testified according to Haaretz, “locked me up every day for two hours in a glass cage and I had to endure thousands of Anopheles mosquitoes on my body.”

“Once I could no longer stand the pain I made an attempt of resistance against the mosquitoes while I assumed that this would not be seen. But the doctor, if you want to call this beast like this, saw my attempt of resistance in the mirror. For this I received seven days of strict detention. But before I was led away to the detention, I received 25 lashes with a leather bullwhip.”

Further details about Reimer’s life after filing the testimony were not immediately available, according to Haaretz.

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