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Rep. Sara Hannan claims Nazi hypothermia experiments were horrific but “produced results”

Yesterday, Representative Sara Hannan (D – Juneau) gave a bizarre speech on the House floor, claiming that Nazi medical experiments conducted on victims in concentration camps were “violations of human dignity, of scientific methodology, yet they produced results.” Hannan stated that a “very famous” Alaska doctor named Dr. Mills found the Nazi research in his early career “knowing that it was done in these horrific conditions, yet knowing it could still benefit us, to look at the results of that.” Hannan claimed that Dr. Mills became a renowned expert on frostbite, presumably in part because of the Nazi research.

Hannan concluded by stating the importance of understanding the scientific process, and the role of science in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video can be seen here.

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Ermine Skate

Hannan’s speech followed a speech by Representative Sarah Vance (R – Homer) in which Vance encourages Alaskans to consider the Holocaust when assessing Alaska’s COVID-19 pandemic response and suggests that the Nuremberg Code prohibits mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, which Vance refers to as “experimental.”

The scientific studies referenced by Hannan were likely the infamous Dachau Hypothermia Experiments, which were conducted by Nazi scientists on prisoners during World War II. The experiments purported to find methods for reviving German pilots downed at sea and hypothermic German soldiers. Victims of the experiments were subjected to extreme cold, and were either killed by hypothermia or subjected to an assortment of interventions intended to revive them. Experimenters allegedly attempted to revive some victims by rape or with boiling water.

The Dachau experiments violated basic contemporary standards of human rights and medical ethics, and were treated as war crimes during postwar trials. The scientific value of the data gathered during the experiments is a matter of controversy, but most sources agree that the limited data that survived the war has little to no scientific value. The data suffers from a lack of basic information about the participants and nature of the experiments, poor controls, deficient data collection methods, and an overwhelming lack of trust in the credibility of the experimenters. In some instances, postwar testimony indicated that some individuals involved in the experiments falsified data in order to attempt to save victims. Moreover, data and conclusions pertaining to the Nazi experiments are not consistent with contemporary understandings of hypothermia.

As Robert L. Berger, M.D. concludes in “Nazi Science — The Dachau Hypothermia Experiments,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

“In summary, the basic information essential for documenting an orderly experimental protocol and evaluating the results is not provided. We know enough, however, to conclude that the methods of study were clearly defective.”

The number of victims killed in the hypothermia experiments is unclear, but may have been one hundred, or in the low hundreds.

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Art Cambell
12 days ago

Rep Hannan was wrong to equate anything to the Nazi years, period.

Rep Vance is dangerous, and is responsible for the illness and death of her own constituents by refusing to recommend vaccination. The sickness and death of her constituents is her legacy and will haunt her for life.

Lynn Willis
12 days ago

“Two wrongs certainly don’t make a right”. I watched Rep. Vance acting like a high school “drama queen” with her comparing the now FDA approved COVID vaccines with Nazi medical experiments. Very, very disgusting to compare American research methods and standards to that of Nazi butchers because she apparently doesn’t want to take the shot and wants her “freedom” to infect me and others. Rep. Hannan was very wrong also to give any credence to what amounted to torture. I was taught that the hate and bias of the Nazi Party removed any and all credibility of these so called… Read more »

Art Cambell
12 days ago
Reply to  Lynn Willis

Many agree with you. Rep. Vance is an avowed anti-vaxer that cares little about the people she “serves”. Hannan cannot be condoned and Vance should be censured along with her.

Lynn Willis
11 days ago

This insane process ended tonight with the bill being referred back to the Rules Committee (the legislative parking lot or grave yard.) I sensed that the minority with all their amendments had finally reached out for a “bridge too far”. They seemed taken aback when the majority finally walked away. So Is this the “death knell” for this bill which appears now that Dunleavy couldn’t even get a simple relief bill for our medical providers to become law? Are we going to see a 4th Special Session?

Robert L. Parker
9 days ago

A medical doctor once said that 10 percent of people have mitral valve prolapse. This was known from a large number of examinations of corpses from the Nazi era. What is wrong about mentioning this fact in a value-free way? Whoever is not concerned with making knowledge, however gained, accessible to suffering people, is primarily concerned with ideology. The long-lasting consequences of nuclear victims can probably only be studied with the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, those of Agent Orange and Napalm in Vietnam. Is that morally superior? Is someone who uses the word Asperger’s a Nazi? There was discussion of… Read more »