The Nazi propaganda picture shows wounded soldiers of the German Wehrmacht in a lazaret on the Greek island of Corfu. The photo was taken in January 1944. Photo: Berliner Verlag / Archive (Photo by Berliner Verlag/Archiv/picture alliance via Getty Images).
In the latter part of World War II, Nazi Germany became desperate for tireless and strong soldiers who would continue the war effort and turn the tables around as the Allies were causing massive loss to their efforts. The German troops were already using Pervitin and Isophan to help their soldiers remain alert and stimulated, but Vice-Admiral Hellmuth Heye wanted a drug that would give the soldiers superhuman strength and high-level of self-esteem, thus, the creation of D-IX.
The creation of D-IX
In response to the request of the Vice-Admiral, a group of researchers and pharmacologists headed by Gerhard Orzechowski developed a drug code-named D-IX. This experimental drug was a cocktail of cocaine, amphetamine pervitin, and a morphine-related painkiller.
To learn the effectiveness of the “wonder drug,” the Nazi researchers utilized the inmates of the concentration camps for testing. They found that prisoners who have taken the drug were able to march in circles for 55 miles non-stop while carrying packs weighing 20 kg.
Nazi doctors were all thrilled with the results that they planned to give the pills to all German soldiers. The plan did not push through as the war ended even before the Axis could mobilize mass distribution of the drug.
Other experiments to assist Axis military
The experiments carried out on the drug D-IX was just one of the many Nazi experiments that were done without regard to the safety and health of concentration camps prisoners. For one the German air force conducted an experiment to determine the maximum altitude crews that could parachute to safety. To identify this, German doctors used prisoners as experimental subjects.
Prisoners were also used by German scientists in their “freezing experiments” so that they can determine the most effective ways to address hypothermia. Many concentration camp prisoners were also used as subjects for their experiments in determining various methods to make seawater drinkable (they failed).
Read more about bizarre wartime projects.