The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl
How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis
By Arthur Allen
(W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393081015, 384pp.)
Publication Date: July 2014
List Price: $26.95*
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In the 1920s, Weigl had created the first typhus vaccine using a method as bold as it was dangerous for its use of living human subjects. The astonishing success of Weigl's techniques attracted the attention and admiration of the world giving him cover during the Nazi's violent occupation of Lviv. His lab soon flourished as a hotbed of resistance. Weigl hired otherwise doomed mathematicians, writers, doctors, and other thinkers, protecting them from atrocity. The team engaged in a sabotage campaign by sending illegal doses of the vaccine into the Polish ghettos while shipping gallons of the weakened serum to the Wehrmacht.
Among the scientists saved by Weigl, who was a Christian, was a gifted Jewish immunologist named Ludwik Fleck. Condemned to Buchenwald and pressured to re-create the typhus vaccine under the direction of a sadistic Nazi doctor, Erwin Ding-Schuler, Fleck had to make an awful choice between his scientific ideals or the truth of his conscience. In risking his life to carry out a dramatic subterfuge to vaccinate the camp's most endangered prisoners, Fleck performed an act of great heroism.
Drawing on extensive research and interviews with survivors, Arthur Allen tells the harrowing story of two brave scientists a Christian and a Jew who put their expertise to the best possible use, at the highest personal danger.
Arthur Allen's new book, The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl, describes how a WWII scientist in Poland smuggled the typhus vaccine to Jews â?? while his team made a weakened version for the Nazis. More at NPR.org
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