On December 9, 1946, an American military tribunal opened criminal proceedings against 23 leading German physicians and administrators for their willing
participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity. In Nazi Germany, German physicians planned and enacted the "Euthanasia" Program, the systematic killing of those they deemed "unworthy of life." The victims included the mentally retarded, the institutionalized mentally ill, and the physically impaired. Further, during World War II, German physicians conducted pseudoscientific medical experiments utilizing thousands of concentration camp prisoners without their consent. Most died or were permanently crippled as a result. Most of the victims were Jews, Poles, Russians, and also Roma (Gypsies). After almost 140 days of proceedings, including the testimony of 85 witnesses and the submission of almost 1,500 documents, the American judges pronounced their verdict on August 20, 1947. Sixteen of the doctors were found guilty. Seven were sentenced to death. They were executed on June 2, 1948.
During testimony at the Doctors Trial, American medical expert Dr. Leo Alexander points to scars on Jadwiga Dzido’s leg. Dzido, a member of the Polish underground, was a victim of medical experiments at the Ravensbrueck concentration camp. Nuremberg, Germany, December 22, 1946. NARA
- Documents: The transcriptions of documents come from the official trial record: 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. Testimony excerpts come from National Archives
Record Group 238, M887.
A plain text
version of these documents is
The excerpts presented here retain the variant spellings and minor typographical errors of the original transcriptions and are unaltered in any way except for minor reformatting for readability on screen. All page numbers and appendices referenced within
the transcriptions refer to pages and appendices in the above-cited official trial record.
- Photographs: Photo credit abbreviations are -
USHMM: Photo Archives, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
NARA: Still Picture Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
MCC: Main Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against the Polish Nation--Institute of National Memory, Warsaw, Poland.
YV: Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel.
Prints of the photographs used here may be found in the Photo Archives, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.