Healthcare provided by the SS in German concentration camps is said to have been of very low quality, if it existed at all. Inmates too sick or injured to be cured quickly are said to have been killed in order to get rid of “useless eaters.” But like so many aspects of the orthodox Holocaust story, this is mostly a myth.

Then as now, most skilled physicians either have their own practice or find attractive employment in larger medical practices or hospitals. A prison or detention camp is the least-likely place anyone would voluntarily work at, as the quality of working atmosphere and clientele are the worst imaginable. As a result, the quality and dedication of physicians working there is the lowest, and so is the quality of care. This is true for all societies. In a war, when camp populations soar but staff cannot be increased due to many physicians and nurses having to care for wounded soldiers and civilians, the quality of care inevitably declines even further.

In that situation, Germany’s camp authorities attempted to let the inmates organize camp life by themselves, supervised only by a few officials. This included healthcare, for which inmate physicians and nurses were frequently used. However, as French camp veteran Paul Rassinier has aptly described for the wartime camps at Buchenwald and Dora, lack of SS supervision and corruption led to unscrupulous criminal prisoners and scheming political inmates filling favorable positions on the basis of connections and favors, rather than according to skill. Therefore, inmates who had been physicians in their civilian lives often ended up doing menial labor, while criminals and political fanatics ended up playing doctors; they accepted patients by their importance in the pecking order or by how much they could pay, rather than by who was most in need of help. The results were catastrophic. (See Rassinier 2022.)


While there is reason to believe that the situation at the Auschwitz camps was similar to that reported by Paul Rassinier, the extant documentation on medical service provided at those camps is vast. It irrefutably proves that the SS policy was at all times to do anything they could in order to preserve and reinstate the health of all inmates, and to care even for those inmates who were incurably sick.

For instance, at least 25 x-ray books have been preserved containing the names of 34,876 inmates who were x-rayed in order to diagnose diseases or injuries, very frequently followed by all kinds of surgeries. Frequent reports of the Auschwitz inmate hospital listed surgeries performed, among other things. Daily reports on inmate deployment showed, at times, a staggering number of inmates lodged in the camp who were unfit for labor, none of whom was ever killed. Patients suffering terminally from tuberculosis were nursed for months on end, with daily records of the disease’s progression, until they eventually died. None of them was killed.

The SS established a branch of its hygiene institute in Rajsko, a village near Auschwitz. Tens of thousands of inmates who contracted typhus were admitted to the inmate infirmary and nursed back to health. The Rajsko institute did tens of thousands of tests on stool and blood samples of these inmates to make sure they were indeed cured, before they were released back to the normal camp population.

When Eduard Wirths became SS garrison physician of Auschwitz in September 1942, the camp saw its first truly dedicated physician determined to make a difference for the welfare of all inmates. He set in motion not only a huge project to improve the camp’s sanitary infrastructure, but also the construction of a huge inmate hospital in Construction Sector III of the Birkenau Camp. This was to have more than 100 barracks, at the costs of hundreds of millions of dollars in today’s currency, where the sick inmates of all camps of the entire wider region were to be admitted and treated with the most modern equipment. The construction of this hospital made steady progress throughout 1943 and 1944, but was ultimately halted and abandoned in late summer of 1944 due to the deteriorating war situation.

A relatively honest description of the healthcare and sanitary conditions at the Monowitz Camp was co-authored in 1946 by the Italian physician Primo Levi who had been incarcerated in that camp since early 1944. As well-equipped as the Monowitz hospital was according to his description, if an inmate required more care than this facility could provide, he was transferred to Birkenau, where the facilities were even better.

In summary: the Birkenau Camp cannot have been both a camp where tens of thousands of sick and injured inmates, unfit for labor, were cared for with great effort in order to cure them, and a camp where hundreds of thousands of the inmates unfit for labor were slaughtered wholesale. While the first claim can be substantiated with a rich documentation and with many witness accounts of survivors who were treated in the infirmaries, the second claim is substantiated only by claims that contradict themselves, contradict the extant documentation, contradict material traces, and contradict technical possibilities.

(For more details, see Mattogno 2016a, esp. pp. 42-72; Mattogno 2023, Part 1, all entries on health-related issues, the improvement of sanitary facilities, and the presence of inmates unfit for labor.)

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