II. A Brief History of Research Ethics Violations and Regulation

During World War II, the Nazis conducted gruesome experiments on human beings who were prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. [1]

For example, male and female prisoners were injected with painful chemicals or their genitals were exposed to radiation to test methods of human sterilization.

Some prisoners were deliberately burned with chemicals to simulate the effect of bombs, or put in freezing air or ice water for hours at a time, so that treatments for burns and cold exposure could be tested.

Other experiments involved injecting people with gasoline, live viruses, and forcing people to ingest poisons.

Many of the people who were experimented on were killed, maimed, or disfigured by the Nazi experiments. Those who were not killed by the experiments themselves were often subsequently killed in the gas chamber because the injuries from the experiments left them unable to work in the concentration camps.

[1] NIH OER Protecting Human Research Participants, http://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/pdf.php

DCF 1.0Operating and autopsy table in the Struthof concentration camp. Experiments were done to find a vaccine for typhus and to find a way to treat burns caused by mustard gas. Photo by Danielle Sainton.