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!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war?
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah:
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • 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.