Forced sterilisations

Amalie Schaich (Federal Archive)

SS doctors carried out forced sterilisations on Sinti and Roma women in Ravensbrück concentration camp until shortly before the end of the war. With the approval of Himmler, Prof. Carl Clauberg developed a procedure for this in Auschwitz that was as quick as it was cruel. He injected caustic fluids into the abdomen of the women without anaesthetic. Clauberg continued his experiments in Ravensbrück. Pre-teen girls were also sterilised. Many died in agony from the effects of the operations. In addition to this, SS doctor Dr. Horst Schumann misused Sinti and Roma girls in Ravensbrück in sterilisation experiments with X-rays, which he had also tested in Auschwitz. 

"In Ravensbrück I witnessed SS doctors forcibly sterilising young Sinti girls. They were picked up from the blocks to be 'operated' on - it was like being in a slaughterhouse. The girls screamed so much that I had to cover my ears, because I couldn't bear it any more. The worst thing was that many girls were a lot younger then they said they were. We lived in constant fear that the children would be selected again and returned to Auschwitz. I know that one child who was sterilised was only seven years old." (Amalie Schaich)

"While some Germans could be sterilised as a form of individual punishment, as a group only the gypsies were the object of such treatment, one after the other - even the youngest girls." (Germaine Tillion, who was interned in Ravensbrück for political reasons)

"Only about the last 10 were given an anaesthetic by the SS nurse. I cared for the children for the whole night after the operation. All these girls were bleeding... and were in such pain that I secretly had to give them sedatives. In the morning, before roll-call, I took the children to their blocks with the help of girls who were working in the sick-bay." (Witness account of a former Czech prisoner-doctor in the Nuremberg Doctors' Trials)