Little Grey Rabbit's Historical Skepticism Blog

Holocaust blinkers or Himmler the budding cancer epidemiologist

Posted in Experiments, Miscellanous by littlegreyrabbit on February 6, 2011

Nothing can better illustrate the stultifying dead hand of Holocaust pieties than a paper published in late 2009 looking at differing cancer rates between European heritage Jews who emigrated before WW2 and those who emigrate after.  The complete journal article is here or there is a news article in Haaretz.

Cancer rates were compared between two groups of European born Israeli Jews: 258,048 who left Europe after the war and 57,496 who emigrated before or during the conflict.  Both groups have higher cancer rates than other Jewish (eg Sephardic) or non-Jewish (eg. Arab) ethnic groups.  The study concludes there is a 17% higher rate of cancer amongst those emigrating after WW2 and suggests malnutrition or “the traumas of the Holocaust” are responsible, the reported difference being strongest in the 1940-1945 group.

Sensibly the study excluded those who had emigrated after 1989 and so avoided the contaminating influence of the large influx from the Soviet Union.  One surprising fact about the demographics is there is not the dip in numbers of those born between 1940 and 1945 (highlighted in red) that I always assumed there would be.

Group Nonexposed group, No. (%) Exposed group, No. (%)
Men Women Men Women
Total 444 484 (100.0) 463 952 (100.0) 1 804 978 (100.0) 2 206 286 (100.0)
Birth cohort
1920–1924 158 052 (35.6) 161 125 (34.7) 397 834 (22.0) 519 343 (23.5)
1925–1929 127 525 (28.7) 132 929 (28.7) 342 575 (19.0) 492 743 (22.3)
1930–1934 102 040 (22.9) 112 007 (24.1) 326 174 (18.1) 387 166 (17.6)
1935–1939 39 129 (8.8) 40 244 (8.7) 338 512 (18.8) 377 733 (17.1)
1940–1945 17 738 (4.0) 17 647 (3.8) 399 883 (22.1) 429 301 (19.5)


Pacholegg, Polygal and Puzzling friendships.

Posted in Experiments, Other Camps, Resistance and Psychological Warfare by littlegreyrabbit on January 17, 2011

Recently my attention was drawn to an overall excellent article regarding Anton Pacholegg, a  rather incredible witness from Dachau, and his testimony regarding human skin leather production at Dachau, which can be read here.  Overall the biographical detail and the subsequent career of Anton Pacholegg makes Dr Joachim Neander’s article fascinating, although I would disagree with some points of interpretation.

Anton Pacholegg was also heavily involved with one of  Dr Sigismund Rascher’s more infamous projects, the development of an anti-coagulant for the pre-surgical treatment of wounded soldiers, Polygal.  The concept being that given this drug would greatly reduce bleeding and thereby improve survival prospects.  Without doubt a worthwhile concept, a typical summary of this aspect of Rascher’s career might be as follows:

Another of Rascher’s major research efforts focused on the introduction of a pectin-based preparation, Polygal, to promte blood clotting.  He predicted that the prophylactic use of Polygal tablets would reduce bleeding from wounds sustained in combat or during surgical procedures.  The agent was also recommended for the control of spontaneous gastrointestinal and pulmonary hemorrhages.  Combat woulds were simulated by the amputation of the viable extremities of camp prisoners without anesthesia or by shooting the prisoners through the neck and chest.

Rascher also claimed that oral premedication with Polygal minimized bleeding during major surgical procedures, rendering hemostatic clips or ligatures unnecessary and shortening operating times.  He published an enthusiastic article about his clinical experiece with Polygal, withou specifying the nature of some of the trial in humans.  The paper concluded. “The tests of this medicine “Polygal 10″ showed no failures under the most varied circumstances.”  Rascher also formed a company to manufacture Polygal and used prisoners to work in the factory. (more…)

Before the Roswell Autopsy: The Strasbourg Anatomical Institute

Posted in Experiments, Resistance and Psychological Warfare by littlegreyrabbit on January 12, 2011

Some time back I posted about some odd features of one of the corpses at the liberation of Buchenwald :  We are the Hollow Men.  The gist of which was that one of the corpses presented seemed anatomically impossible in as much it appeared to have a hollow head.  I would not claim enormous expertise in this subject, although I do possess an excellently functioning head of my own and also somehow managed to pass an undergraduate course in anatomy.  There is, however, another liberation set of photos that has provoked my puzzlement and that is the Strasbourg Anatomical Institute skeletonn collection alleged procured by Professor August Hirt.

Two vats allegedly stored the collection


Anton Pacholegg: Another obvious liar from Dachau

Posted in Dachau, Experiments by littlegreyrabbit on June 21, 2010

Anton Pacholegg is another witness who gave testimony at Dachau shortly after liberation.  His testimony is particularly interesting as not only does it give very weak and unconvincing details regarding human skin leather, hypothermia experiments and air pressure experiments, but he gives a radically different description over the fall of Rascher.  This he attributes as resulting from “negligience” and poor science results presented to the Luftwaffe, and his wife being arrested for embezzlement.  There is no doubt that Pacholegg was very close and trusted by Rascher, according to Wolfram Sievers before the Nuremberg Tribunal he accompanied Rascher to Voralberg (the part of Austria adjacent to Switzerland) and there escaped.  This escape is confirmed by Sievers official diary the was entered into evidence.  According to the testimony here, Pacholegg voluntarily returned to Dachau and spent the rest of the war in the “dungeon” because he felt sorry for Rascher.  A rather extraordinary act if true.  The original capture of Pacholegg bears curious similarities to the Venlo Incident, all in all we are left with the impression that Pacholegg was probably involved with some kind of resistance or espionage, which he is careful to obscure as he proceeds with his shocked witness of medical atrocities act. 

It does seem curious that with the whole panoply of liberated prisoners of Dachau available that the American Army seem to pick out characters that carry such little conviction to be their star witnesses. (more…)