A recreational athlete
Photo: Sven Hoppe / picture alliance / dpa
In the GDR, experiments have been carried out on amateur athletes since the early 1970s and until shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The scientific findings from the interventions and treatments should apparently lead directly to better performance among top athletes.
This is the result of research by the ARD doping editorial team, which is shown
in a documentary in the evening (7:05 p.m. / ARD).
In the process of coming to terms with the GDR state doping, this aspect has so far received practically no attention, it said.
The ARD report mentions, among other things, the painful removal of tissue samples from the thigh and liver, in which the diaphragm is also said to have been stabbed.
Secret recordings of these biopsies, which should originally have been intended for the SED Politburo, are also shown in the article.
In addition, files should also prove doping experiments on the amateur athletes.
For example, there is talk of the allocation of the Depot-Turinabol and STS 648 preparations.
Some of the preparations were not approved for use on humans.
In the documentation, several of the so-called "people's sport probands" at the time report on the experiments and their side effects.
"I was in such pain that I could no longer walk, stand or lie down," says one of the test subjects, then a student and hobby runner, in the film.
He had become depressed and had suicidal thoughts.
There is also talk of kidney pain, swelling of the testicles and bloody discoloration of the ejaculate.
There was a "low fee" for participation.
According to the documentation, some of the side effects continue to this day.
There is talk of permanent damage to the lymphatic system in the legs, for example, and the amateur athlete at the time depended on treatment for life.
Today he says of the experiments: "They were human experiments."
Findings apparently for top-class sport in the GDR
According to ARD, it is not possible to say exactly how many recreational athletes were part of the research.
"If we assume that a large number of research concepts have been developed and carried out over a period of around 20 years (...), then we are not talking about individuals, but several hundred," says Anne Drescher, state representative for the processing of the SED dictatorship in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in the documentation.
The tests are said to have taken place primarily at the Research Institute for Physical Culture and Sport (FKS) in Leipzig.
But there are also references to other places, for example the Kienbaum performance center east of Berlin or the Institute for Aviation Medicine in Königsbrück in Saxony.
According to one test person, the findings from the "Running Research Group" should primarily benefit the national long-distance runners of the GDR.
According to him, the running group leader Hermann Buhl, who died in 2014, repeatedly mentioned Waldemar Cierpinski, who became Olympic marathon champion in 1976 and 1980.
Cierpinski did not want to comment on the research at the request of ARD.
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