Well, you do not know what you have even suffered.
–an anonymous inmate at Dachau, addressing a survivor of one of Dr. Rascher’s infamous freezing experiments.1
Okay, so you’re a Nazi paratrooper on a sensitive recon mission for the Luftwaffe in Norway. Because of the secrecy of your operation, you must deploy from a height of 45,000 ft. Because of the weather, it’s not safe to open your parachute above 4,000 ft. Your commanding officer is expecting you at a base outside Narwik by sundown tomorrow, but you never arrive. In fact, you’re dead before you even hit the ground.
The physiology of manned flight has been the subject of rigorous investigation within the aviation medicine community. Yet research ethics and a general regard for human life have prevented scientists from studying the physiology of a man plummeting to his own death. That is of course, until the Nazi Dr. Sigmund Rascher came along. Continue reading