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Film Co-Produced By UMSL Professor Documents Mass Sterilization During Holocaust

Rita Csapo-Sweet joined Wednesday's program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In 2012, Rita Csapo-Sweet and her husband, the late Frederick Sweet, jointly published a paper on the ghastly but little-known legacy of Carl Clauberg, a German physician who conducted mass sterilization experiments at Auschwitz during World War II. Clauberg would use his work in the concentration camp to develop a pioneering fertility test. 

“Clauberg’s name needs to be placed next to [Josef] Mengele’s in its rightful place in infamy,” the two scholars concluded, emphasizing that Clauberg’s medical crimes against humanity “must be disclosed whenever the test bearing his name appears” in modern biomedical texts.

As Csapo-Sweet and Sweet dug into their research, filmmakers Sylvia Nagel and Sonya Winterberg also began a documentary about Clauberg — and the St. Louis-based couple’s academic article filled in key gaps in the filmmakers’ story. Nagel and Winterberg reached out to Csapo-Sweet in 2015, and she joined the documentary as its American producer.

Now complete, “Made in Auschwitz: The Untold Story of Block 10” will be screened this weekend as part of the St. Louis International Film Festival.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Csapo-Sweet about the film and the history of genocidal collaboration by medical professionals, both during the Holocaust and more recently.

Csapo-Sweet is an associate professor of media studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Listen to the discussion:

Related Event
What: Screening of “Made in Auschwitz: The Untold Story of Block 10”
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019
Where: Plaza Frontenac Cinema (210 Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis, MO 63131)

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Evie is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.