FROM THE OPENING STATEMENT BY TELFORD TAYLOR
[from Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10. Nuremberg, October 1946–April 1949. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O, 1949–1953.]:
STATE MEDICAL SERVICES OF THE THIRD REICH
I pass now to the facts of the case in hand. There are 23 defendants in the box. All but three of them — Rudolf Brandt, Sievers, and Brack — are doctors. Of the 20 doctors, all but one — Pokorny — held positions in the medical services of the Third Reich. To understand this case, it is necessary to understand the general structure of these state medical services, and how these services fitted into the over-all organization of the Nazi State.
To assist the Court in this regard the prosecution has prepared a short expository brief [not introduced into evidence] which is already in the hands of the Court and which has been made available to defense counsel in German and English. The brief includes a glossary of the more frequent German words or expressions which will occur in this trial — most of them from the vocabulary of military, medical, or governmental affairs. It also includes a table of equivalent ranks [App. Vol. II] between the American Army and the German Army and the SS, and of the medical ranks used in the German Armed Forces and the SS. Finally, it includes a chart [see p. 30] showing the subordination of the several German medical services within the general framework of the German State. This chart has been enlarged and is displayed at the front of the courtroom.
Following this opening statement Mr. McHaney, in opening the presentation of evidence on behalf of the prosecution, will offer in evidence a series of detailed charts of the various German medical services, which have been certified as accurate by the defendants Handloser, Schroeder, Karl Brandt, Mrugowsky, and Brack. The chart to which I am now directing the attention of the Tribunal is a composite chart based upon those which Mr. McHaney will offer in evidence. The chart in the front of the courtroom to which I now refer will not be offered in evidence; it is intended merely as a convenient guide to the Court and to defense counsel to enable them to follow the opening statement and to comprehend the over-all structure of the German medical services.
All power in the Third Reich derived from Adolf Hitler, who was at one and the same time the head of the government, the leader of the Nazi Party, and the commander in chief of the armed forces. His title as head of the government was Reich Chancellor. He was the "Fuehrer" of the Nazi Party, and the "Supreme Commander" of the Wehrmacht. Immediately subordinate to Hitler were the chiefs of the armed forces, the principal cabinet ministers in the government, and the leading officials of the Nazi Party. The only defendant in the dock who was directly responsible to Hitler himself is the defendant Karl Brandt.
The Court will observe that the defendants fall into three main groups. Eight of them were members of the medical service of the German Air Force. Seven of them were members of the medical service of the SS. The remaining eight include the defendants Karl Brandt and Handloser, who occupied top positions in the medical hierarchy; it included the three defendants who are not doctors; the defendant Rostock, who was an immediate subordinate of Karl Brandt; the defendant Blome, a medical official of the Nazi Party; and the defendant Pokorny, whom we have grouped under the SS for reasons which will appear later.
I will deal first with the military side of the case. Hitler, as Supreme Commander of the German Armed Forces, exercised his authority through a staff called the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, better known by its German initials, OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht). The chief of this staff, throughout the period with which this case will concern itself, was Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel.
Under the OKW came the High Commands of the three branches of the Wehrmacht: the Navy (OKM), the Army (OKH) and the Air Force (OKL). Grand Admiral Erich Raeder was the Commander in Chief of the German Navy until 1943, when he was succeeded by Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz. Prior to the outbreak of the war, the Commander in Chief of the German Army was Field Marshal von Brauchitsch. In December 1941 Brauchitsch was relieved and Hitler himself took this position. Hermann Goering was the Commander in Chief of the German Air Force with the rank Reich Marshal, until the very last month of the war.
Each of the three branches of the Wehrmacht had its own medical service. For purposes of this case, the medical service of the Navy is not of much importance. During most of the war the defendant Handloser was the Chief of the Medical Service of the German Army; in 1944 he was succeeded in this capacity by Dr. Walter. The Chief of the Medical Service of the German Air Force until 1943 was Erich Hippke; from January 1944 until the end of the war, it was the defendant Schroeder. Subordinate to the defendant Schroeder are seven other defendants from the Air Force Medical Service, whose functions I will briefly describe later on.
I turn now to the second principal group of defendants — those affiliated with the SS. The SS was nominally a part of the Nazi Party, and came under Hitler in his capacity as Fuehrer of the NSDAP. In fact, during the years of the Nazi regime, the SS expanded into a vast complex of military, police, and intelligence organizations. The head of this extraordinary combine was Heinrich Himmler, with the title of Reich Leader SS. The SS had its medical service, headed by Grawitz, who bore the title Reich Physician SS.
The SS in turn was divided into many departments, of which one of the most important was the Armed or Waffen SS. The members of the Waffen SS were trained and equipped as regular troops, were formed into regular military formations, and fought at the front side by side with the troops of the Wehrmacht. By the end of the war there were some 80 SS divisions in the line. The head of the Medical Service of the Waffen SS was the defendant Genzken.
Six other defendants were members of the SS Medical Service and therefore subordinated to Grawitz.
The German civilian medical services derived their authority both from the German Government and from the Party. The medical chief on the civilian side was Dr. Leonardo Conti, who committed suicide in October 1945. Dr. Conti occupied the position of State Secretary for Health in the Reich Ministry of the Interior. In this capacity Conti was a subordinate of the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Wilhelm Frick, until 1943, and thereafter to Heinrich Himmler who assumed the additional duties of Minister of the Interior in that year.
Conti also held the title in the Nazi Party of Reich Health Leader. His deputy in this capacity was the defendant Blome. As Reich Health Leader, Conti was subordinate to the Nazi Party Chancellery, the chief of which was Martin Bormann.
As the Court will see from the chart [This chart is contained in Section VI, Organization of the German Medical Service, NO-645, Pros. Ex. 3, p. 91], the three principal people in the hierarchy of German state health and medicine are the defendants Karl Brandt and Handloser, and the deceased Dr. Conti. In July 1942, Hitler issued a decree, a copy of which will later be read before the Court, which established the defendant Handloser as Chief of the Medical Services of the Wehrmacht. Shown on the chart here Handloser's name appears in this capacity. Handloser was given supervisory and professional authority over the medical services of all three branches of the Wehrmacht. Inasmuch as the Waffen SS came to constitute an important part of the armed forces, Handloser's supervisory authority also extended to the defendant Genzken, Chief of the Medical Service of the Waffen SS. In this position Handloser was charged with the coordination of all common tasks of the Medical Services of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS. He thus became the principal figure in German military medicine, just as Dr. Conti was the central figure in the field of civilian medicine.
Handloser and Conti, as will be seen from the chart, were not directly responsible to Hitler himself. Handloser's responsibility ran to Hitler through the OKW, and Conti's through the Ministry of the Interior and the chief of the Nazi Party Chancellery.
In 1942 Hitler for the first time established a medical and health official under his direct control. This official was the defendant Karl Brandt. A Hitler decree of July 1942 (NO-080) gave Brandt the title Plenipotentiary for Health and Medical Services, and empowered him to carry out special tasks and negotiations with reference to the requirements for doctors, hospitals, medical supplies, etc., between the military and civilian sectors of the health and sanitation systems. Brandt's role, therefore, was to coordinate the requirements of the military and civilian agencies in the field of medicine and public health.
Dr. Karl Brandt had been the personal physician to Hitler since 1934. He was only 38 years old at the time he assumed the important duties conferred by the 1942 decree. His rise continued.
In September 1943 Hitler issued another decree which gave Brandt the title of General Commissioner for Sanitation and Health and empowered him to coordinate and direct the problems and activities of the entire administration for sanitation and health. (N0-081.) This authority was explicitly extended to the field of medical science and research.
Finally, in August 1944, Hitler appointed Dr. Brandt Reich Commissioner for Sanitation and Health, and stated that in this capacity Brandt's office ranked as the "highest Reich authority." (NO-082.) Brandt was authorized to issue instructions to the medical offices and organizations of the government, to the party, and the armed forces, in the field of sanitation and health.
Karl Brandt, as the supreme medical authority in the Reich, appointed the defendant Paul Rostock as his immediate subordinate to head the Office for Scientific and Medical Research. Rostock's position reached into the activities of the medical societies, the medical colleges, and the Reich Research Council. Brandt also appointed Admiral Fikentscher, who had theretofore been the chief medical officer of the German Navy, as his subordinate to head the Office for Planning and Production. In this field, Fikentscher dealt with the principal labor authorities, the Ministry of Economics, and the Ministry for Armament and War Production.
As chief of the Medical Service of the German Air Force, the defendant Schroeder also held one of the most important positions in the German medical hierarchy. He and the defendant Handloser both held the rank of Generaloberstabsarzt, the highest rank in the German medical service and the equivalent of lieutenant general in the American Army. I do not propose to go into detail concerning the positions held by the seven defendants who were under Schroeder, inasmuch as Mr. McHaney will introduce charts which show in great detail the structure of the German Air Force Medical Service, and which have been authenticated by the defendant Schroeder himself. The defendant Rose held a high rank in the Air Force Medical Service equivalent to that of a brigadier general in the American Army and was appointed special adviser to Schroeder on matters pertaining to tropical medicine, held a chair at one of the most important German medical institutes, and is one of the most distinguished scientists in the dock. The defendant Becker-Freyseng headed Schroeder's department for aviation medicine. The defendant Weltz was chief of the Institute for Aviation Medicine at Munich. The particular functions of the defendants Ruff, Romberg, Schaefer, and Beiglboeck will appear as we proceed with the presentation of the evidence.
I will likewise pass over very briefly the detailed functions of the six SS physicians who were shown on the chart as the subordinates of Grawitz. Detailed charts of the SS Medical Service, authenticated by the defendant Mrugowsky, will shortly be introduced in evidence. The defendant Gebhardt was Himmler's personal physician and he held a rank in the SS equivalent to that of a major general in the American Army. He became the president of the German Red Cross. He was the chief surgeon on Grawitz's staff, and also headed the hospital at Hohenlychen, in which capacity the defendants Oberheuser and Fischer were his assistants. The defendant Poppendick was the chief of Grawitz's personal staff. The defendant Mrugowsky was Grawitz's chief hygienist and also headed the Hygienic Institute of the Waffen SS. The defendant Hoven was the chief doctor of the Buchenwald concentration camp.
The defendant Pokorny is a private physician who had no official connection with the governmental medical service. We have shown him on the chart underneath the group of SS physicians for reasons which will appear in the course of presenting the evidence concerning sterilization experiments (par. 6 (I) of the indictment).
The three defendants who are not doctors are shown in the top right-hand corner of the chart. Two of them — Rudolf Brandt and Brack — are administrative officers. Rudolf Brandt had the rank of colonel in the SS, was sort of personal adjutant, and held an administrative office both in the SS and the Ministry of the Interior. Viktor Brack was the chief administrative officer in Hitler's personal chancellery [Chancellery of the Fuehrer], the head of which was Philipp Bouhler.
The defendant Sievers, who held the rank of colonel in the SS, is a special case. He was a direct subordinate of Heinrich Himmler in the latter's capacity as president of the so-called Ahnenerbe Society. The name of this society literally means "ancestral heritage", and it was originally devoted to scientific and psuedo-scientific researches concerning the anthropological and cultural history of the German race. Later on an Institute for Military Scientific Research was set up within the Ahnenerbe Society. Sievers was the manager of the society and the director of the Institute for Military Scientific Research.
This concludes the general description of the German state medical services under the Nazi regime, and of the positions which the defendants occupied in the scheme of things. It is convenient at this point to refer to count four of the indictment, which charges that 10 of the defendants were members of an organization declared to be criminal by the International Military Tribunal, and that such membership is in violation of paragraph 1 (d) of Article II of Control Council Law No. 10. The organization in question is the SS.
This count concerns the defendant Karl Brandt, six of the defendants who were affiliated with the Medical Service of the SS, and three defendants who are not doctors. It does not concern any of the nine defendants on the military side, nor the defendants Rostock, Blome, Oberheuser, or Pokorny.
The International Military Tribunal's declaration of criminality applies to all persons who had been officially accepted as members of any branch of the SS, and who remained members after 1 September 1939. The prosecution will show that all 10 defendants charged in count four were officially accepted as members of the SS and remained so after that date. The defendants Karl Brandt, Genzken, and Gebhardt held ranks in both the General or Allgemeine SS and the Waffen SS equivalent to that of a major general in the American Army. The defendants Mrugowsky, Hoven, Poppendick, and Fischer all held officer rank in the SS or Waffen SS, and all four of them, together with the defendants Genzken and Gebhardt, held positions in the SS Medical Service. The defendant Rudolf Brandt held the rank of colonel in the General (Allgemeine) SS, and was a personal assistant to Himmler in Himmler's capacity as Reich Leader SS. The defendant Brack held officer rank in both the SS and the Waffen SS. The defendant Sievers held the rank of colonel in the SS, and was manager of the Ahnenerbe Society, which was attached to the SS Main Office.
The declaration of criminality by the International Military Tribunal does not apply when it appears that a member of the SS was drafted into membership in such a way as to give him no choice in the matter. Nor does it apply if it appears that the member had no knowledge that the organization was being used for the commission of criminal acts. For purposes of this case, these questions, the prosecution believes, will be academic. All of the defendants charged in count four held officer rank in the SS, and most of them held senior rank. They were moving spirits and personal participants in murder and torture on a large scale, and in a variety of other crimes. In this connection we respectfully invite the Tribunal's attention to two statements by the International Military Tribunal which, under Article X of Ordinance No. 7, constitute proof in the absence of substantial new evidence to the contrary. In setting forth the criminal acts committed by the SS, the International Military Tribunal stated:
"Also attached to the SS main offices was a research foundation known as the Experiments Ahnenerbe. The scientists attached to this organization are stated to have been mainly honorary members of the SS. During the war an institute for military scientific research became attached to the Ahnenerbe which conducted extensive experiments involving the use of living human beings." [Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. I, p. 269, Nuremberg, 1947.]
And again it was stated:
"In connection with the administration of the concentration camps, the SS embarked on a series of experiments on human beings which were performed on prisoners of war or concentration camp inmates, These experiments included freezing to death and killing by poison bullets. The SS was able to obtain an allocation of Government funds for this kind of research on the grounds that they had access to human material not available to other agencies." [Ibid., p. 271.]