Abraham - ein Versuch

Hans Lechleitner & David Marc Mantell & Paul Matussek

Germany 1970, 16mm, b/w, 48 min

A TV documentary about a series of experiments conducted by the Max Planck Institute in Munich, which constituted a slightly modified re-run of the famous Milgram experiments carried out in the USA. In the course of the experiment, a scientist permits “teachers (the real guinea pigs in this case) to punish “pupils’” mistakes by administering electric shocks. Unbeknownst to the “teachers”, the electric shocks had been simulated, and the “school-kids’” screams pre-recorded. From the randomly selected guinea pigs, 85% inflicted the most severe punishment – 450 volts – in the first trials, 74% assumed no responsibility for their actions, and 15% thought the “pupils” were dead by the end of the experiment. A mere 2% reported having had doubts as to the authenticity of the experiment. All other guinea pigs believed that the “pupils” really had been tortured.