Nazidoctors would perform medical experiments that were atrocious on the prisonersin the camps. There were three main categories of cruel unethical experimentsthat the doctors would do. The first category was experiments was putting the prisonersin low pressure chambers to calculate the maximum height that air plane personnelcould go to and still parachute down to the ground in a safe manner. Thesechambers would cause lungs to burst as well as suffocating the people that wentthrough this the traumatic event (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). Thenext category of experiments was using different drugs and treatment methods onthe prisoners. The prisoners were the “test rats” of the doctors in thisscenario.
They were being tested with concoctions of drugs and differenttreatment plans so the doctors knew how to treat a solider if they contracted adisease or illness. A few of these illnesses that they were preparing to treat includemalaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectioushepatitis. Prisoners were also being used to test mustard gas and phosgene gas(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).
Thethird category of medical experiment that took place was to advance the raceand ideologic principals that the Nazis thought were to be the only way thatpeople could live. This includes the well-known experiments of Josef Mengele onthe twins (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). As well as, why some racesgot certain disease and why other did not. This was type of experiment was doneby testing serum and other bodily fluids (United States Holocaust MemorialMuseum).Otherunethical medical experiment that took place were mass sterilization techniquesagainst Jews and other groups.
Doctors did this because the Nazi leaders wantedto eliminate these groups that they thought were genetically and raciallyundesirable (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). After the war, people who were traumaticallyexperienced the Holocaust, doctors told the survivors to forget what happened,and just move on, or they were given a diagnosis of post-traumatic stressdisorder (PTSD). Medical experiments aswell as peoples experiments that were performed on Holocaust prisoners ofconcentration camps were dishonorable and atrocious on a variety levels, theseexperiments, and what people saw and experience created PTSD for many of thesurvivors. In the short story The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick, Rosa’s baby,Magda, was thrown into an electrical fence.
This was the traumatic experiencethat left Rosa scarred for life not only did that forever scar her but livingin the concentration camps as well. Throughoutthe short story Rosa, Rosa is alwaystrying to relive and look for Magda in any situation that she can. On page 31 ofRosa, Rosa express some of her PTSD symptoms.”Magda’s Shawl! Magda’s swaddling cloth.
Magda’s shroud. The memory of Magda’s smell,the holy fragrance of the lost babe, Murdered, thrown against the fence,barbed, throned, electrified; grid and griddle; a furnace, the child on fire” (Ozick31)! Every time that Rosa encounters something of Magda’s or an item that remindsher of her child, she instantly replays what happened that day in her mind. Sheconnects being a camp prisoner for years and her daughter death. She does thisby playing repetitive images in her mind that she sees as well as certain thoughtsshe has (Canales 32). Holocaust prisoners like Rosa suffer from severe PTSD.
Thisis because she relives the death of her daughter, she does this when she gets flashbackfrom environmental ques. For example, things that she sees, hears, and smellstrigger her (Canales 32). There is more than just Magda thattriggers Rosa’s PTSD to activate. WhileRosa is at the beach something catches her eye. Rosa begins to talk about the barbedwire she has seen to Finkelstien:Mister you got barbed wireby your beach.Are you a guest here?I’m someplace else.
Then its none of your business,is it?You got barbed wire.It keeps out the riffraff.In America it’s no place forbarbed wire on top of fences.The manager left off makinghis serious marks.
Will you leave? He said. Will you please just leave?Only Nazis catch innocentpeople behind barbed wire. (Ozick 51) Here Rosa is correlating the barbedwire on top of the fence with the barbed wire that killed her baby. I believethat she has a hard time identifying the barbed wire on top of this fence, asjust a plain fence to keep undesirable people and things of the beach property.In her mind, her PTSD automatically makes her relate it to the barbed wire thattook Magda’s life. These instilledtremendous amounts of fear in Rosa when she saw this.
Many survivors experiencethis terror when seeing images, this because they are reminded of their brutalpast (Kremer 280). Thebarbed wire fence is not the only item that triggered Rosas PTSD and gave herflash backs about her traumatic past. Stella’s seemingly nice birthday gift forherself was not so beneficial for Rosa nor was it not just a simple birthdaygift.” Rosa tugged, and the dress with the blue stripes slide like a coarsecolored worm out of twisted bed sheets. The hole in the armpit was bigger now.Stripes, never again anything on her body with stripes” (Canales 33). Rosa immediatelycorrelates this lovely blue stripped dress to what she wore as a refugee in theconcentration camps (Canales 33). Rosa associates the barbed wire the bluestripped dress and the smell of Magda to her time spent in the camps during theholocaust (Canales 33).
These items give her fear, anxiety, conflict, she hasflashbacks to the Holocaust. This all correlates to PTSD in survivors. I believethat she is severely being traumatized by these events and items. She is havingtrouble with looking at the dress as a plain dress, and the barbed wires as aplain fence to keep unwanted things out. She has horrific images of the holocaustembedded into these things.
Rosa, receivesa letter in the mail, from the Department of Clinical Social Pathology Universityof Kansas-Iowa. This letter is from a Dr. James W. Tree. In this letter Dr.Tree explains that he has been looking at survey data. He is working on a studythat is “designed to research the theory developed by Dr.
Arthur R. Hidgesonand known generally as Repressed Animation (Ozick 36). It goes on say that thisstudy is for people who are under stress for extended periods of time. Dr.
Treethen suggests that Rosa should join the study so he can “observe survivor syndromingwithin the natural setting” (Ozick 38). In Rosa’s mind, Stella set this up. “Dropin a hole! Disease! It comes from Stella, everything! Stella saw what thisletter was, should could see from the envelope-Dr. Stella! Kansas-Iowa ClinicalSocial Pathology, a fancy hotel, this is the cure for the talking of a life!Angel of Death (38-39 Ozick)! Rosa is not connecting Stella and Dr. Tree, thisis because she calls Stella the angel of death, and is now referring to him toit as well. Rosa then expresses “Burn,Dr.
Tree, burn up with your Repressed Animation (Ozick 39)!” She is now facingthe darkest memories of her past in the concentration camp. Rosa is very angryat almost everyone. She’s angry at Stella and Dr. Tree and anger is another symptomof PTSD (Kremer 34) .In the case of Rosa, she usually isusually very angry or hostile towards someone or something.
One example of thiswould be “Rosa Lublin. A madwoman and a scavenge, gave up her store- she smashedit up herself- and moved to Miami” (Ozick 13). Rosa once owned a store, and shejust smashed it up. I believe Rosa does this because she is holding in all thesorrow that she has developed over the years because of the Holocaust. The hurtof losing her daughter and the atrocious things she went through over thecourse of the Holocaust. I believe that her sadness can no longer be expressedas anger. Rosa goes through another moment of pure anger and violence.
Rosa receivesa box that she thinks is the shawl of her dear Magda’s and it turns out to be abook from Dr. Tree. Rosa is with Perseky at this time of receiving the book: “Giveit to me”.”You didn’t want? Stellasent you what you didn’t want?””Stella sent!” She tore thebook from him-it was heavier than she had guessed- and hurled it at theceiling.
It slammed down into Persky’s half-filled teacup. Shards and dropletsflew. “The way I smashed up my store, that’s how I’ll smash Tree”! (Ozick 60-61) This rage of wishing to smash Dr.
Tree which is relayed to us as readers as a physiatrist shows her hurt that shehas gone through the last 40 years of her life, and the hurt she has becauseshe doesn’t have her Magda (Kremer 34). Kremer then goes to say that “Rosa’s life in Miami is a continuation ofher life in the concentration camp, both outbursts of violence clearlyconnected with the Holocaust might be viewed as her reaction against what theNazis did to her (Kremer 34). I have to agree with Kremer, her reaction to thisis connected to her time spent in the concentration camp as well as the painshe has endured. Itis clear that Rosa has clear symptoms of PTSD. Her violence, flashbacks,association of items to the Holocaust all point to the mental health disorder.Clearly, back in those times people were told to jus suppress their feelingsand forget it.
The survivors were told that it wasn’t real or that what happenedto them at the camps wasn’t as bad as they are making it out to be. Rosa is aclear indication of PTSD.