I stumbled on the article, “Did Nazis really try to make Zombies? The real history behind one of our weirdest WW II obsessions” by Noah Charney in Salon August 22, 2015.
I almost skipped it because Zombies never have been my thing, but I recognized Noah Charney’s name as a respected and prolific author on art and related history (more on him later) so I took a look.
Glad I did. I was already familiar with most of the Nazi explorations in the occult and strange science from my own research on various of my thrillers, particularly The Grail Conspiracies.
But for the “normal” person (not so well versed in this stuff!) Dr. Charney provides a brief but fascinating summary of the background on the Abnenerbe, the Nazi Occult Bureau, and some of its operations before and during the war.
(I had forgotten that an organization like the Ahnenerbe appeared in some of the Indiana Jones movies. For that background alone, the article is worth a look if you’re fascinated by these things—or just liked the Indiana Jones movies.)
As to the question posed, Did the Nazis really try to make zombies? Charney’s response ranges over related issues, including the weird experiences of Dr. Josef Mengele, as well as other research on various chemicals and pills to increase stamina.
There is also a segment on the background on the George Clooney film, Monuments Men, as the search for stolen art linked in a weird way with corpses apparently hidden away to rise again with the rise of a new Nazism. (Yes, the whole range of Nazi occult obsessions are, collectively, beyond weird!)
Anyway, I recommend the article. As to Noah Charney, Ph.D.: I had first come on his name as I was researching my upcoming thriller, Infinite Doublecross, as he has written several books and articles on art theft and forgery. (Full disclosure: I’ve never met him.) I think the best overview is via his book list on Amazon: Noah Charney books