Nazis consider sterilising Jewish women workforce

The leader of the SS Heinrich Himmler, during a visit to the Mauthausen concentration camp where prisoners endured starvation and hard labour excavating stone in the quarries.

The leader of the SS Heinrich Himmler, during a visit to the Mauthausen concentration camp where prisoners endured starvation and hard labour excavating stone in the camp quarries.

As the German war situation worsened, labour shortages became apparent as more and more men were called up to the armed forces. One Nazi solution was to make more use of forced labour, either foreign workers who were press ganged into working in Germany, or make more use of concentration camp prisoners, including the Jews.

There was now more discrimination in how Jewish prisoners were dealt with. The extermination ‘camps’ such as Sobibor, which were designed to kill everyone who entered them, continued to operate until late in 1943. Other facilities, such as Auschwitz, were dividing prisoners into those fit to work and those to be killed immediately.

Heinrich Himmler, the ‘Reichsführer-SS’ was interested in any scheme which would further the aim of exterminating every Jew in Europe whilst at the same time keeping them as a ‘labour resource’. This was just a new variant on an idea that had been explored earlier:

Dear Reich Leader,

Today I am fulfilling my obligation to report to you from time to time about the state of my research work…

The method I contrived to achieve the sterilization of the female organism without operation is as good as perfected. It can be performed by a single injection made through the entrance of the uterus in the course of the customary gynecological examination known to every physician. If I say that the method is “as good as perfected” this means:

1. Still to be worked out are only minor improvements of the method.

2. Already today it could be put to practical use in the course of our regular eugenic sterilization and could thus replace the operation.

As to the question which you, Reich Leader, asked me almost a one year ago, i.e., how much time would probably be required to sterilize 1,000 women by using this method. Today I can answer you with regard to the future as follows:

If my researches continue to have the same results as up to now – and there is no reason to doubt that – then the moment is not far off when I can say:

“One adequately trained physician in one adequately equipped place, with perhaps 10 assistants (the number of assistants in conformity with the speed desired) will most likely be able to deal with several hundred, if not even 1,000 per day”.

Letter from Professor Clauberg to Himmler, June 7 1943, on his research concerning sterilization of women [Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals – Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol 1, p. 730]

It is not known how many women suffered during the course of Claubourg’s ‘experiments’.

The 'deportation'  of jewish women and their families from Russia in 1941.

The ‘deportation’ of jewish women and their families from Russia in 1941.

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