Dr. Sigmund Rascher, a German Air Force doctor, conducted a series of survival and rescue experiments at the Dachau camps in 1942. The aim was to determine how high-altitude flight, freezing water, and sub-zero air temperatures affected the human body. The German military hoped these experiments would help downed German airmen survive. Dr. Rascher placed about 200 prisoners in pressure chambers to simulate the sudden loss of oxygen experienced in high altitude flight. All the prisoners suffered convulsions, and some eighty died.

In another series of experiments Dr. Rascher immersed Dachau inmates for hours in tanks of ice-water. Some ninety prisoners died in this research. Other experiments involved forcing Dachau inmates to stand naked for hours in freezing snow until their body temperatures fell dangerously low. In this research some forty inmates died.

Nazi doctors wanted to know how long people could live on seawater alone. Forty-four gypsies were denied fresh water and forced to drink a quart of salt-water a day. In a few days they became dehydrated and died.

Nazi doctors also conducted experiments to determine the effects of wounds and disease. At Ravensbruck concentration camp, Dr. Otto Gebhardt induced gangrene infections in seventy-five Polish women, who were then treated with various experimental drugs. Eleven of the women died, while twenty-four others had their arms or legs amputated as a result of the infections. In the name of science, inmates at Auschwitz were burned with phosphorous and then given skin grafts, usually without anesthetics.

Experiments involving infectious diseases were conducted on 1,200 inmates at the Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen. A team of SS doctors headed by Victor Brack infected prisoners with typhoid and tuberculosis. They sent the data from their experiments to senior medical officers interested in treating typhus and tuberculosis in German soldiers fighting on the Russian Front.