The Evolution of Medical Ethics

Freezing Temperature

Freezing Temperature Experiment

The freezing temperature experiment investigated how to treat those who had been severely chilled or frozen for the benefit of the German Air Force. The experiment simulated German fliers whose planes had crashed into the sea, or army troops who were fighting in subfreezing temperatures and/or snow.

The experiments also tested different ways to rewarm the surviving German fliers and troopers. They tried everything including blankets, lamps, even women's bodies.

The experimenters used large cold water freezing tubs with large amounts of ice to bring the temperature closer to zero degrees Celsius and in order to freeze the subjects. There were a variety of different circumstances in which the subjects were forced into. They could be clothed, not clothed, soaked for extended periods of time, soaked for a short while, or basically were forced into situations at the whim of the experimenter.


The victim is inside the freezing water tank, the perpetrator, Dr. Sigmund Rascher, is on the right.