The Evolution of Medical Ethics

Bone Grafting

Bone Grafting and Nerve Experiment

The bone grafting and nerve experiments were possibly the most savage, sadistic, and inhumane experiments during the World War II period of time. The experiments involved the regeneration of bones, muscles, and nerves, and the transplantation of bone. In order to carry out these goals, sections of bone were removed from the subjects, legs were removed at the hips, shoulders and arms were removed, and muscles and nerves were removed from healthy patients. These parts were then transferred to other victims in order to see if they could regenerate or transplant successfully.

Most of these experiments resulted in death or permanent mutilations.

These experiments took place at Ravensbrueck and were carried out by Herta Oberhauser.

Testimony of Dr. Zofia Maczka
from Doctors from Hell, by Vivien Spitz

"On the operating table, the bones of the lower part of both legs were broken into several pieces with a hammer... The muscle experiments consisted of many operations always on the same spot, the upper or lower part of the leg. At each further operation larger and larger pieces of muscles were cute out. Once a small piece of bone was planted into a muscle... During nerve operations parts of nerves were removed. "

"..amputations of the whole leg (at the hip joint) were carried out, or on others, amputation of the whole arm (with the shoulder blade) were carried out. Afterwards the victims (if they still lived) were killed by means of Evipan injections and the leg or arm was taken to Hohenlychen."

Testimony of Vladislava Karolewska
from Doctors from Hell, by Vivien Spitz

"A blanket was put over my eyes, and I did not know what was done with my leg but I felt a great pain and I had the impression that something must have been cut out of my leg... Two weeks later we were all taken to the operating theatre again, and put on the operating tables. The bandage was removed, and that was the first time I saw my leg. The incision went so deep that I could see the bone."


Image of a victim's leg which has been put through the muscle regeneration experiment.

Vladislava Karolewska shows her leg scars at the Doctors' trial.

Severed legs that had been preserved in a large tub for experimental purposes.