- The Nazi leadership had a lot of hopes about the use
of D-IX wonder drug
- New research shows that Nazis were going to turn their
soldiers to robots with the help of a special chemical. Until recently,
the chemical has been kept secret. So-called Experiment D-IX started in
November of the year 1944 in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Eighteen
prisoners were marching on the semicircular square, which was used for
daily call-overs. The prisoners were carrying backpacks that weighed 20
kilos each. They were circling the square non-stop, while Odd Nansen, Arctic
explorer's son, was watching them from the window of his barracks. Years
later, after the war was over, he said that those marching people on the
square were called "pill patrol." They could march without a
rest up to 90 kilometers a day. Everyone knew that they were like guinea-pigs
that were used for testing the new method for preserving the energy of
a human body.
- Hitler's chemists wanted to find out, how long those
people could last. At first, those poor prisoners sang songs and whistled
various melodies as they marched. Twenty-four hours later, the majority
of them fell down on the ground dead. Nazi chemists tested their new wonder
pills on those people. The pills were called D-IX. This was also the work
code of the whole experiment. The pills contained cocaine together with
other drugs. As the Third Reich leaders believed, the new pills were supposed
to turn German soldiers into tireless and fearless warriors.
- Hamburg-based criminologist Wolf Kemper believes that
D-IX pills were Hitler's last secret development. The pills should have
helped him to win the war, which was about to be lost for fascist Germany.
Kemper deals with the studies of little-known events of the latest months
of World War II. The description of those events will be included in his
new book about the use of drugs during the Third Reich era. It is an open
secret that the big-time Nazi propaganda held up any drug addiction to
shame. Such propaganda was launched back in 1993: Nazis basically lambasted
the "devilish" cocaine - the major drug of the demoralized European
Bohemia of the 1920s. However, the Nazi regime did not hesitate to let
its soldiers use those drugs, trying to turn them into thoughtless robots.
- The use of an amphetamine called pervitine was a usual
thing at the Western front in the very beginning of the war. Nazi leaders
believed that the use of that stimulant would inspire their troops to noble
and heroic deeds for the sake of the victory. A factory of the Berlin company
Temmel, which manufactured pervitine, supplied the Nazi Army and the Luftwaffe
with 29 million of pervitine pills during the period of April-December
of 1939. The Ground troops high command ordered to keep that a secret.
Official documents mentioned the drug under the code name obm. Yet, Nazis
underestimated pervitine's side effects. The "consumers" could
not do without the drug really soon. In 1939, German doctors determined
during their inspections at the Western front that the soldiers used pervitine
without any control at all. The period to recover from the drug effect
was getting longer and longer, while attention concentration ability was
getting weaker and weaker. This eventually resulted in messages of lethal
outcome in several Nazi divisions in France and Poland. Doctors' warnings
were left with no attention. All orderly bags were filled with that dangerous
drug during the last years of the war. They prescribed pervitine pills
to anyone, who had any ailing complaints.
- Nazis conducted more and more of their tests with the
new wonder chemical, although the war was coming to its end. It occurred
to the Third Reich leaders to launch the series production of the new D-IX
substance on March 16, 1944. Vice Admiral Helmut Heye stated at a session
with pharmacologists and small military units commanders that there should
be a new medicine invented to help German soldiers stand the tense situation
longer and to make them feel more uplifting than usual in any situation.
After the war, the admiral became a Bundestag deputy for defense issues,
by the way. Heye's suggestion was completely supported by such an influential
figure as Otto Skortseni (after the successful operation to release Mussolini
in September of 1943, the commander of the Fridental special unit was awarded
with the German National Hero title). Skortseni was searching for a new
drug for his division for long. After he had a very detailed conversation
with the leadership of Hitler's headquarters in Berlin, there was a group
of researchers set up in the city of Kiel. The group was presided over
by pharmacology professor Gerhard Orchehovsky. The group was given a task
to develop and launch the production of the needed drug. Criminologist
Kemper believes that the plan was approved by Adolf Hitler himself: none
of such projects could be implemented without his approval.
- Orchehovsky came to conclusion after several months of
hard work at Kiel University labs that he finally created the needed substance.
One pill contained five milligrams of cocaine, three milligrams of pervitine,
five milligrams of eucodal (morphine-based painkiller), as well as synthetic
cocaine that was produced by the company Merk. The latter drug was used
by German fighter pilots during World War I as a stimulant for their large-distance
sorties. The invented cocktail of drugs was supposed to be tested by mini-submarine
crewmen first. The results were supposed to be checked during their navigation
in the Kiel Bay. Skortseni ordered to send him a thousand of those pills.
He wanted to test their action on the members of the Forelle diversionary
unit of submariners, which was a part of Danube destructive unit of the
German death squad.
- Researcher Kemper came to conclusion that the results
of the tests were very inspiring. That made Nazi leaders continue the experiments,
testing the new drug on the people, who walked in circles 24 hours a day,
carrying 20 kilos backpacks. Those people were Sachsenhausen concentration
camp prisoners. They became like laboratory guinea-pigs in November of
1944. The goal of the experiment was to determine the new stamina limit
for D-IX exposed humans. Medical records of that time show that several
participants of the experiment felt fine with only two or three short stops
a day: "The considerable reduction of the need in sleep is very impressive.
This drug disables man's action ability and will." In other words,
D-IX made a human being a robot. The results of all those tests inspired
their initiators to supply D-IX drug to the entire Nazi Army. However,
they failed to launch the mass production of the substance. Allies' victories
at both fronts in winter and spring in 1945 resulted in the collapse of
the Nazi regime. The absurd dream of the wonder drug was crushed.