Did Nazi Research Actually Contribute Anything Valuable To Medical Science?

Published February 25, 2016
Updated May 4, 2018

It goes without saying that Nazi research into medical science was brutal and inhumane, but did they also discover anything useful or beneficial?

Nazi Medicine Mustard Gas

An inmate subjected to mustard gas. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Some life meant very little to the Nazis, who herded millions of people out of their homes and into indefinite detention, heavy labor, and a gruesome waiting game until death. Nazi Germany operated a constellation of thousands of concentration camps, as well as a network of forced-labor facilities and specialized killing centers.

These prisons took in so many people, who were held under such inhumane conditions, that it was inevitable that some medical researchers would seize the opportunity to conduct evil science experiments on the available living human bodies.

Usually, this sort of thing is either tightly regulated or forbidden entirely, but since Nazis didn’t view the life of a concentration camp inmate as worth the paperwork to kill them, tens of thousands of prisoners could be reduced to so many lab rats.

Nazi medical experiments fell into three broad categories: trauma research with military applications; pharmaceutical and surgical research; and long-term impact research aimed at validating pseudoscientific Nazi race theory. The findings were predictably mixed…

Richard Stockton
Richard Stockton is a freelance science and technology writer from Sacramento, California.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Stockton, Richard. "Did Nazi Research Actually Contribute Anything Valuable To Medical Science?." AllThatsInteresting.com, February 25, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/nazi-research. Accessed June 15, 2024.