If you are as big of a zombiphile as I, then I’m sure you seen some pretty good Nazi zombie horror flicks like Dead Snow, Shock Waves, War of the Dead and probably some bad ones, The Frozen Dead, Oasis of the Zombies, Zombie Lake and Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich. If it is done correctly you have a gruesome, scary zombie flick. But how much of the Nazi Zombie genre is based on reality and how much on imagination?
So what is the truth about Nazi zombies? History tells us the The Third Reich did a lot of human medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners, mainly Jews (including Jewish children) from across Europe in its concentration camps during World War II that included:
- Experiments on twins
- Bone, muscle, and nerve transplantation experiments
- Head injury experiments
- Freezing experiments
- Malaria experiments
- Immunization experiments
- Mustard gas experiments
- Sulfonamide experiments
- Sea water experiments
- Sterilization experiments
- Experiments with poison
- Incendiary bomb experiments
- High altitude experiments
In 2008, there were a lot of articles around the Internet claiming that World War II historian Mark Walker and German physicist Michael Schaaf had teamed up to write a book describing the efforts of Nazi scientists to perfect zombies, which were to be launched against Allied Forces in Europe. The book was to be called, Hitler, Zombich, und die Häagan-Dazs, which is complete gibberish in both the Dutch and German languages.
In these online “reports,” it was claimed that a “zombification project” was sanctioned by the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, led by the physicist Werner Heisenberg. The second was a Heereswaffenamt military team under the scientific leadership of Professor Kurt Diebner. Diebner also had some interaction with Heisenberg on zombie virus design during the war, but the projects which they led were quite separate.
The Heereswaffenamt was a German Army Weapons Agency. It was the center for research and development of Germany and also during the Third Reich for weapons, ammunition and army equipment. It was divided into twelve branches, none of which did any human experimentations.
Indeed, there was also a Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science and its research facilities were involved in weapons research, experimentation and production in both World War I and World War II. Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist and one of the key creators of quantum mechanics.
In February 1943, Heisenberg was appointed to the Chair for Theoretical Physics at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität after he was summoned to report to Albert Speer, Germany’s Minister of Armaments, on the prospects for converting his nuclear research and theoretical physics toward developing nuclear weapons. There is no evidence he was involved in any human experimentation.
As for Kurt Diebner, he was a German nuclear physicist who is well known for directing and administrating the German nuclear energy project, a secretive program aiming to build nuclear weapons for Nazi Germany, not co-directing a reanimation project.
Most of the Nazi zombie experiment reports were disseminated and recycled from the online site, Potvin Newsly. It is quiet the bit of elaborate fiction in its use of real life Third Reich figures and organizations to fabricate alternate history. But that is what it is, a piece of fiction. And if any of those people who had re-purposed bits and pieces of the original article had truly taken notice, they would have seen at the top of the page there is a tag the reads,”Filed under: Disease, Fake News — Jill Hater @ 12:05 am.”
One of my favorites parts of the online article, and one the most imaginative, was this:
“Harteck initially led a team at Hamburg attempting to create a zombie operated U-boat. After the bombing of Hamburg in July 1943, the Kriegsmarine shifted its undead project to Stettin under admirals Karl Witzell and Otto Rhein. Zombie expert Dr. Otto Haxel took over scientific leadership of the Oberkommando der Marine ghoul project. In April 1944 Harteck was responsible for gaining Nazi funding for industrial scale zombification of Jews. Orders were placed with BMAG Meguin for production of Jew and gypsy corpses.”
Paul Karl Maria Harteck was a German physical chemist, whose focus, along with Hans Suess, was on the use of heavy water as a neutron moderator. In 1941, his department constructed a conversion unit for Norsk Hydro for the catalytic production of heavy water. In late spring 1945, Harteck was arrested by the allied British and American Armed Forces and incarcerated, and then released six months later. He would go on to become director of the chemistry department at Cambridge University, a position he held until 1950, and then a resident professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he taught until 1968. There has never been any evidence that at any time during his life he was involved in re-animating the dead.
Allied Forces in the European Theater started gathering up every Nazi document they could find from the moment they landed in Normandy and pushed east and the Soviets began their push west. In the hundreds of thousands of documents that were ceased, there has been some very disturbing and bizarre top secret Nazi files uncovered that paints a hideous portrait of demonic men. These documents reveal many brutal crimes committed by Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich, including bone, muscle, and nerve transplantation experiments. It is well documented that these experiments included a set of experiments to study bone, muscle and nerve regeneration and the possibility of transplanting bones from one person to another. However, no where in any of the records is any mention of any attempt by the Third Reich to bring the dead back to life or to zombifiy Jews or any other race. So, if there has never been any evidence that the Third Reich ever sanctioned or did research into human re-animation, where then did all this folklore originate? — Conspiracy theorists.
Taking into account the aforementioned human experiments, especially those supervised and/or conducted by Josef Mengele, along with Hitler’s and Himmler’s bizarre fascination with the occult and the supernatural, conspiracy theorists have concluded that–even without physical evidence–the Third Reich was capable of doing anything to aid their war machine and destroy non-Aryans in order to assure their master race–and therefore it is only the natural conclusion that there were secret zombie experiments conducted for this purpose.
Of course these theorists will tell you that the reason no zombie documents have never been made public is because the government is secretly using the scientific research for their own purpose, or it is because the Nazis destroyed the documents before the Allies could get their hands on them. Whether you believe these conspiracy theories or not, there is one thing I am sure of and that is Nazi Zombie film makers, like Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow / Dead Snow 2) and Marko Mäkilaakso (War of the Dead), are a bit of conspiracy theorists themselves, and I am glad for that. If it were not for them, where else would we get the two evilest things in the world brought together and given (un)life on the big screen?