As the Covid vaccine mandate for New York’s health care and education workers went into effect recently, a legal form making the rounds on social media and online caught my eye.
“By authority of the Nuremberg Code on Medical Experimentation, I do hereby exercise my right to refuse to submit to or to administer the Covid 19 experimental gene therapy injection heretofore known as the ‘Covid 19 Vaccine’… [Medical personnel] are hereby put on notice that any further effort to coerce, intimidate, persuade, trick or compel me to receive any experimental gene therapy injection… implicates you as aiding and abetting in the capital offense of a crime against humanity.”
The reach of that legal form, which is available for all to download, may be limited. But the thought behind it – that the ongoing resistance to Covid vaccines can somehow be tied to the Nuremberg Code and inhumane Nazi medical experiments – is widespread enough that it demands a reiteration of the historical record.
The facts are clear and established.
Eighty years ago, in 1941, inmates in Auschwitz were first used by Nazi doctors as live medical experiment subjects. These early trials focused on researching the tolerance level and effectiveness of new medical preparations and drugs. Soon thereafter, Jewish women imprisoned in Auschwitz’s Block 10 were subjected to heinous sterilization and castration experiments. It was also at that time that Dr. Josef Mengele launched his experiments on twins, pregnant women, and others he deemed interesting. The SS Hygienic Institute, which operated out of Auschwitz, focused on infectious diseases.
The list of Nazi medical experiments is terrifyingly long. Historians have found nearly 30,000 Jewish victims, and that number likely is a vast undercount.
I worked with many of the surviving victims nearly 20 years ago, while helping them apply for reparations payments from the German government. I read through hundreds of victim compensation claims, talked to numerous survivors on the phone and in person, and once even shared an ice cream with a survivor in Vienna. All told of immeasurable suffering.
Sixty years after a Nazi doctor experimented on one male victim, he told me of a life reduced to “pain, degradation and humiliation. ” A female survivor confided in me that even after all the years, she still wakes up in the middle of the night “to my own shriek. I can’t stop crying.” A male victim of experimental castration just wanted to die: “I am just, you know, I am just worthless,” he told me. “I am a broken being.… They messed me up so completely.”
It was these and other inhumane medical experiments carried out by Nazi doctors that drove the formulation of the Nuremberg Code in 1947. Ever since, that landmark document has defined the ethical parameters of legitimate medical research.
Even the most basic reading of the Nuremburg Code makes clear that Nazi medical crimes – the only time in modern history when medicine was deliberately employed as a genocidal tool – simply do not belong in any discussion about Covid vaccine mandates.
Victims of Nazi medical experiments, to be absolutely clear, never had a choice.
Imprisoned, malnourished, exhausted and frightened, they were unwillingly selected for medical trials they knew nothing about. No word of explanation, or care of any kind, was given before they were sterilized, or inoculated with a chemical substance, or operated upon. No word of explanation or care came after, either. No attention whatsoever was given to their suffering. If they survived, they were the lucky ones. Refusal meant death.
“Our refusal would ultimately mean that we would be transported to Birkenau, and everybody knew that people were gassed in Birkenau,” one survivor recounted.
To suggest that the medical code of ethics borne out of their suffering is now in any way being violated by Covid vaccine mandates is as factually wrong as it is morally repugnant.
Not a single person was forced to partake in a Covid vaccine trial. Not a single person is being forcefully immunized against Covid. And not a single person will face the gas chambers if they choose to not get vaccinated against Covid.
For survivors like Judith Altmann, who survived Auschwitz and a death march to Bergen-Belsen, comparing Nazi medicine to Covid vaccines is simply appalling. At 96, one of the few left to tell what happened, Judith says what the “anti-vaxxers” are saying is “absolutely terrible.”
“They need something to make their point, so they mention the Holocaust,” says Judith. “They don’t know what they’re talking about.”