An absolutely riveting story sent to me by a reader (thanks "J").
A must, must read.
"In late 1942, German troops were dying of typhus at the Eastern Front,
and the SS medical chief Ernst-Robert Grawitz was impatient for
vaccine—as was Heinrich Himmler himself. Typhus terrified the Nazis more
than the allied armies did at the time. Nazi ideology had identified
typhus, which is spread by lice, as a disease characteristic of
parasitic, subhuman people—the Jews—and the Nazi medical profession was
taking outrageous measures ostensibly to combat it. This included
walling in or closing off Jewish ghettos in cities like Warsaw, Krakow
and Lviv, assuring that the disease would indeed spread widely among
Jews. That result didn’t bother the Nazis in the least. They had no
concern about typhus and its terrifying burden of pain, high fever,
psychosis and death—not until the germ began afflicting the German
forces locked in battle with the Russians."
"But the vaccine production plans of Joachim Mrugowsky, the head of the
SS Hygiene Institute in Berlin, kept getting delayed. When British
bombers destroyed Mrugowsky’s headquarters in 1942, he decided to
produce the vaccine at Buchenwald, thinking that allied bombs would not
fall there. Jewish inmates of the concentration camp—those whom the
Nazis condemned to death as mere human lice—would be employed to
manufacture it, thereby saving the German troops at the front."