DOCTORS TRIAL 

States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al.) was the first of 12 trials for war crimes of German doctors that the United States authorities held in their occupation zone in Nuremberg, Germany, after the end of World War II. These trials were held before US military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The trials are collectively known as the “Subsequent Nuremberg Trials”, formally the “Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals” (NMT).[1]
Twenty of the 23 defendants were medical doctors (Viktor Brack, Rudolf Brandt, and Wolfram Sievers were Nazi officials), and were accused of having been involved in Nazi human experimentation and mass murder under the guise of euthanasia. Josef Mengele, one of the leading Nazi doctors, had evaded capture.
The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal I, were Walter B. Beals (presiding judge) from Washington, Harold L. Sebring from Florida, and Johnson T. Crawford from Oklahoma, with Victor C. Swearingen, a former special assistant to the Attorney General of the United States, as an alternate judge. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor and the chief prosecutor was James M. McHaney. The indictment was filed on October 25, 1946; the trial lasted from December 9 that year until August 20, 1947. Of the 23 defendants, seven were acquitted and seven received death sentences; the remainder received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.
Contents

Indictment Edit
The accused faced four charges, including:
Conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity as described in counts 2 and 3;

War crimes: performing medical experiments, without the subjects’ consent, on prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, in the course of which experiments the defendants committed murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhuman acts. Also planning and performing the mass murder of prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, stigmatized as aged, insane, incurably ill, deformed, and so on, by gas, lethal injections, and diverse other means in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums during the Euthanasia Program and participating in the mass murder of concentration camp inmates.

Crimes against humanity: committing crimes described under count 2 also on German nationals.

Membership in a criminal organization, the SS.[2]

The tribunal largely dropped count 1, stating that the charge was beyond its jurisdiction.
I — Indicted G — Indicted and found guilty
Defendants, functions, verdicts, and fates

Name Photograph Function Charges Verdict and sentence

     1 2 3 4  

Hermann Becker-Freyseng 

Hermann Becker-Freyseng.jpg

Stabsarzt in the Luftwaffe (Captain, Medical Service of the Air Force); and Chief of the Department for Aviation Medicine of the Chief of the Medical Service of the Luftwaffe I G G 20 years’ imprisonment, commuted to 10 years. Died 1961

Wilhelm Beiglböck 

Wilhelm Beiglboeck KZ-Arzt.jpg

Consulting Physician to the Luftwaffe I G G 15 years’ imprisonment, commuted to 10 years. Died 1963

Kurt Blome 

Kurt Blome KZ-Arzt.jpg

Deputy [of the] Reich Health Leader (Reichsgesundheitsführer); and Plenipotentiary for Cancer Research in the Reich Research Council I I I Acquitted. Died 1969

Viktor Brack 

Viktor Brack Nürnberg 2.jpg

Oberführer (Senior Colonel) in the SS and Sturmbannführer (Major) in the Waffen SS; and Chief Administrative Officer in the Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP (Oberdienstleiter, Kanzlei des Führers der NSDAP) I G G G Death

Karl Brandt 

Karl Brandt SS-Arzt.jpg

Personal physician to Adolf Hitler; Gruppenführer in the SS and Generalleutnant (Lieutenant General) in the Waffen SS; Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation (Reichskommissar für Sanitäts und Gesundheitswesen); and member of the Reich Research Council (Reichsforschungsrat) I G G G Death

Rudolf Brandt 

Rudolf Brandt (SS-Mitglied).jpg

Standartenführer (Colonel); in the Allgemeine SS; Personal Administrative Officer to Reichsführer-SS Himmler (Persönlicher Referent von Himmler); and Ministerial Counselor and Chief of the Ministerial Office in the Reich Ministry of the Interior I G G G Death

Fritz Fischer 

Fritz Fischer KZ-Arzt.jpg

Sturmbannführer (Major) in the Waffen SS; and Assistant Physician to the defendant Gebhardt at the Hospital at Hohenlychen I G G G Lifetime imprisonment, commuted to 15 years. Released 1954, died 2003

Karl Gebhardt 

Karl Gebhardt, SS-Arzt.jpg

Gruppenführer in the SS and Generalleutnant (Lieutenant General) in the Waffen SS; personal physician to Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler; Chief Surgeon of the Staff of the Reich Physician SS and Police (Oberster Kliniker, Reichsarzt SS und Polizei); and President of the German Red Cross I G G G Death

Karl Genzken 

Karl August Genzken KZ-Arzt.jpg

Gruppenführer in the SS and Generalleutnant (Lieutenant General) in the Waffen SS; and Chief of the Medical Department of the Waffen SS (Chef des Sanitätsamts der Waffen SS) I G G G Lifetime imprisonment, commuted to 20 years. Released 1954, died 1957

Siegfried Handloser 

Siegfried Handloser NS-Arzt.jpg

Generaloberstabsarzt (Colonel General, Medical Service); Medical Inspector of the Army (Heeressanitätsinspekteur); and Chief of the Medical Services of the Armed Forces (Chef des Wehrmachtsanitätswesens) I G G Lifetime imprisonment, commuted to 20 years. Released/died 1954

Waldemar Hoven 

Waldem Hoven.jpg

Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in the Waffen SS; and Chief Doctor of the Buchenwald concentration camp I G G G Death

Joachim Mrugowsky 

Joachim Mrugoswski SS-Arzt.jpg

Oberführer (Senior Colonel) in the Waffen SS; Chief Hygienist of the Reich Physician SS and Police (Oberster Hygieniker, Reichsarzt SS und Polizei); and Chief of the Hygienic Institute of the Waffen SS (Chef des Hygienischen Institutes der Waffen SS) I G G G Death

Herta Oberheuser 

Herta Oberheuser.jpg

Physician at the Ravensbrück concentration camp; and Assistant Physician to the defendant Gebhardt at the Hospital at Hohenlychen I G G 20 years’ imprisonment, commuted to 10 years. Released 1952, died 1978

Adolf Pokorny 

Adolf Pokorny.jpg

Physician, Specialist in Skin and Venereal Diseases I I I Acquitted

Helmut Poppendick 

Helmut Poppendick.jpg

Oberführer (Senior Colonel) in the SS; and Chief of the Personal Staff of the Reich Physician SS and Police (Chef des Persönlichen Stabes des Reichsarztes SS und Polizei) I I I G 10 years imprisonment. Released 1951, died 1994

Hans-Wolfgang Romberg (de) 

Wolfgang Romberg.jpg

Doctor on the Staff of the Department for Aviation Medicine at the German Experimental Institute for Aviation I I I Acquitted. Died 1981

Gerhard Rose 

Gerhard Rose.jpg

Generalarzt of the Luftwaffe (Brigadier General, Medical Service of the Air Force); Vice President, Chief of the Department for Tropical Medicine, and Professor of the Robert Koch Institute; and Hygienic Adviser for Tropical Medicine to the Chief of the Medical Service of the Luftwaffe I G G Lifetime imprisonment, commuted to 20 years. Released 1955, died 1992

Paul Rostock 

Paul Rostock (NS-Mediziner).jpg

Chief Surgeon of the Surgical Clinic in Berlin; Surgical Adviser to the Army; and Chief of the Office for Medical Science and Research (Amtschef der Dienststelle Medizinische Wissenschaft und Forschung) under the defendant Karl Brandt, Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation I I I Acquitted. Died 1956

Siegfried Ruff (de) 

Siegfr Ruff.jpg

Director of the Department for Aviation Medicine at the German Experimental Institute for Aviation (Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt) and First Lieutenant in the Medical Service of the Air Force; still researching and publishing in the field of aviation as late as 1989[3] I I I Acquitted. Died 1989

Konrad Schäfer (de) 

Konrad Schaefer.jpg

Doctor on the Staff of the Institute for Aviation Medicine in Berlin I I I Acquitted

Oskar Schröder (de) 

Oskar Schroeder.jpg

Generaloberstabsarzt (Colonel General Medical Service); Chief of Staff of the Inspectorate of the Medical Service of the Luftwaffe (Chef des Stabes, Inspekteur des Luftwaffe-Sanitätswesens); and Chief of the Medical Service of the Luftwaffe (Chef des Sanitätswesens der Luftwaffe) I G G Lifetime imprisonment, commuted to 15 years. Released 1954, died 1958

Wolfram Sievers 

Wolfram Sievers.jpg

Standartenführer (Colonel) in the SS; Reich Manager of the Ahnenerbe Society and Director of its Institute for Military Scientific Research (Institut für Wehrwissenschaftliche Zweckforschung); and Deputy Chairman of the Managing Board of Directors of the Reich Research Council I G G G Death

Georg August Weltz (de) 

Georg Weltz.jpg

Oberfeldarzt in the Luftwaffe (Lieutenant Colonel, Medical Service, of the Air Force); and Chief of the Institute for Aviation Medicine in Munich I I I Acquitted

All of the criminals sentenced to death were hanged on June 2, 1948 in Landsberg prison, Bavaria.
For some, the difference between receiving a prison term and the death sentence was membership in the SS, “an organization declared criminal by the judgement of the International Military Tribunal”. However, some SS medical personnel received prison sentences. The degree of personal involvement and/or presiding over groups involved was a factor in others.

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