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Herta Oberheuser

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Herta Oberheuser, the only woman physician brought to trial for medical experiments

Herta Oberheuser was the only female defendant in the medical trial. She performed her experiments as a physician in Ravensbrueck Concentration Camp, a camp for women.

Her experiments focused on deliberately inflicting wounds on the subjects. She would then infect the wounds with bacteria. At other times, she inserted foreign objects, such as wood, rusty nails, or dirt, into the wounds to see what would happen. When prisoners reached a state that made imminent death likely, they were often killed by gasoline injections into an arm vein, administered by Oberheuser herself with a 10cc syringe. Subjects would rear up, then suddenly collapse. The time from the injection to death was between three and five minutes, with the person being fully conscious until the last moment.

When asked during the trial why she performed these experiments, she insisted that 'only Polish nationals were used for the experiments.' Further, she explained that the people she killed were 'all hopeless cases, incapable of cure.' Of course, she was the one who made them hopeless, but this was lost on Oberheuser.

Obersheuser was sentenced to twenty years in prison, but she was released after approximately five years. She practiced as a pediatrician upon her release.