Nazi Experiments on Jewish Skeletons Bared for First Time in Documentary

Norway TV Station Runs Film With Gruesome Footage


Published October 11, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A Norwegian broadcaster for the first time aired footage of the room where Nazi scientists displayed the skeletons of Jews as teaching aids for race theories.

NRK 1, a public broadcaster, earlier this month aired a documentary about the 86 people whom the scientists selected to be killed and serve as display specimens at the University of Strasbourg, France, during World War II. The footage shows the display room and the boxes in which the preserved skeletons were encased. The actual skeletons were buried a few decades ago. The film-makers said it was the first time a television crew had gained access to the former display room.

Professor August Hirt, an SS captain who served as chairman of the Reich University in Strasbourg until his suicide in 1945, tasked two researchers in 1943 to select 109 prisoners for the collection at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland. The prisoners were to be transported alive and murdered at the university.

He wrote to SS commander Heinrich Himmler that the university’s existing collection included specimens of many races, but no Jews.

“The war in the East now offers us the opportunity to remedy this deficiency,” reads the letter, appearing in the Oct. 1 the documentary. “We are able to provide a document that illustrates that the Jewish-Bolshevik commissioners represent a disgusting but characteristic type of sub-human.”

Of the 109 prisoners selected at Auschwitz, only 86 survived the journey to Strasbourg, 29 women and 57 men. In the documentary, NRK traced the story of one of the victims, a 17 year-old boy from Norway named Frank Sachnowitz, whose brother survived Auschwitz.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love.
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.