Sunday, May 8, 2016

72 Polish Catholic Women Tortured in Ravensbruck. Their Story: Lilac Girls

"Carolina Ferriday, far right, arranged for 35 of the tortured women to come to the States for physical and mental rehabilitation. She celebrated Christmas with some of them in her Connecticut home in 1958." Source
"German doctor Herta Oberhauser, who was desperate to be a surgeon and performed many of the brutal experiments. She was eventually sentenced to 20 years in the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial, but only served five." Source
Available at Amazon here

From the New York Post:

"The Polish woman had returned to Ravensbrück, 70 years after she had last seen the place. This time, she was in a wheelchair, strolled around by an attentive volunteer who called her his “auntie” and wore a Polish flag scarf with her concentration camp number emblazoned on it. They would stop periodically to take selfies with some of the young people who had gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the liberation of the camp.

Stanislawa “Stasha” Sledziejowska-Osiczko was one of the lucky ones. She had made it home.

Stasha was a member of the Ravensbrück rabbits, 72 Polish Catholic female prisoners who were subjected to a series of inhumane medical experiments by Nazi doctors at World War II’s only all-female concentration camp. The group’s name came from their treatment as medical lab rabbits — and also, because the cruel experiments often left them with injuries and deformities that meant hopping was the only way they could get around.

Their story has never been widely told, but now, a new novel called “Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly, describes their incredible journey, which spanned from the concentration camp to the United States, where a well-known philanthropist and socialite named Caroline Ferriday would help them recover from their horrific injuries. Her circumstances could not have been more different than that of the Ravensbrück prisoners — and yet she became one of their biggest defenders during a time when the reality of concentration camps seemed very distant to most Americans …"

Read more at the New York Post


  1. Folks, please don't post just links. I don't post messages that consist solely of links to your website. We are all human here and we have something of a community and we talk to each other with respect, affection, a full gamut of emotions.

    Please don't just use this space to advertise your site.

    Please, if you want to post here, engage respectfully.

    Thank you.

  2. This is a very moving account.

    Unfortunately, the German doctors who did experiments on human beings were numerous. They were not "sadists" or"psycopaths". They were "normal", respectable German doctors. There is a book I read about them. It is aptly titled DOCTORS FROM HELL.

    1. I have to wonder whether experimenting on animals, ignoring their pain and fear, doesn't help to pave the way. After all, if it is OK to hurt animals because they are "lesser" and "inferior", then what could be wrong with doing the same to your fellow human beings, once they have been defined as "untermenschen"?

    2. The Nazis were very respectful of animal rights. See Himmler's speech in a previous blog post about how amazing a fly is.

    3. Well, I am glad to know they did care about animals - though would anyone who really cared about animals go around starting wars?

      And a fly is an amazing creation - demonstrating the finest engineering and artistry. It is, of course, a tragedy that Himmler couldn't see what amazing creations us children of Adam are too - flawed and imperfect though we are at the moment.

      But I am assuming that doctors at that time would have routinely used animals in experiments. That is an assumption. I don't know, and certainly its not something I could bear to research.


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