Criminal tuberculosis experiments in Neuengamme: SS Dr Kurt Heissmeyer’s malpractice

How to cite: Kłodziński, Stanisław. Criminal tuberculosis experiments in Neuengamme: SS Dr Kurt Heissmeyer’s malpractice. Kapera, Marta, trans. Medical Review – Auschwitz. May 18, 2021. Originally published as “Zbrodnicze doświadczenia z zakresu gruźlicy w Neuengamme. Działalność Kurta Heissmeyera.” Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim. 1969: 86–91.


Stanisław Kłodzinski, MD, 1918–1990, lung specialist, Department of Pneumology, Academy of Medicine in Kraków. Co-editor of Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim. Former prisoner of the Auschwitz‑Birkenau concentration camp, prisoner No. 20019. Wikipedia article in English.

In 1945 Kurt Heissmeyer’s name was put on the list of war criminals. In the first part of the UN register of those charged with war crimes his name is recorded as item 451. But it was only many years later, on 13 December 1963, that he was finally arrested at No. 12 on Gellertstrasse, Magdeburg (then in East Germany). The case was investigated for over two and a half years. On 30 June 1966 the Magdeburg Bezirksgericht (district court) sentenced Heissmeyer to life imprisonment and permanent loss of civil and honorary rights, and ruled he should cover the costs of the legal proceedings.

Dr Kurt Heissmeyer. Source: The Children of Bullenhuser Damm Association..

Dr Kurt Heissmeyer, a specialist in internal and lung diseases, was born in Lamspringe, Germany, on 26 December 1905. The whole of his life was marked by the influence of the criminal ideology he advocated. Heissmeyer grew up in a milieu that favoured National Socialism: his father was a district physician who wanted to see a great German empire restored. After finishing school and passing the Abitur (school-leaving examination), he studied medicine at several German universities and graduated from Freiburg-im-Breisgau in 1932. When he was a student in Marburg, he joined a youth organization called Arminia1 and was a staunch supporter of its nationalist programme. Heissmeyer began his year as an intern in Germany and completed it in Swizerland, obtaining his doctor’s licence. He started work as an assistant in the Auguste-Viktoria Sanatorium in Hohenlychen,2 where he was employed between 1934 and 1945, specializing in internal and lung diseases. In 1938 he was appointed chief lung physician of Hohenlychen and kept this post until 1945.

During World War II, the Hohenlychen group of sanatoria functioned as a Wehrmacht hospital until 1942, and then the complex was taken over by the SS. In 1939-1943 Heissmeyer was a Wehrmacht physician in the rank of Sonderführer. His mentor in internal medicine and head of the Hohenlychen establishment, from 1935, was Gruppenführer Prof. Karl Gebhardt, chief clinician of the SS. Work for Gebhardt gave Heissmeyer ample opportunity to further his specialist skills, and also to meet top-ranking SS physicians, whose names we know, because they were made public during the 1946 and 1947 trials for crimes against humanity. So it was in Hohenlychen that Heissmeyer got together with Leonardo Conti,3 the Reich Health Leader and State Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior; Ernst-Robert Grawitz,4Reichsarzt; Fritz Ernst Fischer,5 Gebhardt’s infamous assistant in Ravensbrück; Herta Oberheuser,6 another Ravensbrück doctor, who is still practising medicine in West Germany; Ludwig Stumpfegger;7 and others. As Hohenlychen was often inspected by the most important figures of the Third Reich, Heissmeyer became acquainted with the top brass of German fascism,8 such as Rudolf Hess,9 Hitler’s deputy; Joseph Goebbels;10 Albert Speer;11 and Hans von Tschammer und Osten,12 who had a profound influence on him.

Due to his family background and contacts with the senior Nazi officials, Heissmeyer developed strong fascist convictions. In 1937 he joined the Nazi Party as a protégé of SS Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl, head of the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office, who stood trial after the War and was convicted of war crimes and hanged. There is a china plate that proves the close links and bonds of friendship between the Obergruppenführer and Heissmeyer’s relatives; it was Pohl’s gift to the Heissmeyer family and bears his personal inscription. Kurt’s paternal uncle, SS Obergruppenführer August Heissmeyer, was married to Gertrud Scholtz-Klink,13 leader of the National Socialist Women’s League.

Kurt Heissmeyer was impressed by Hitler’s military triumphs, advocated racist theories that propounded the inferiority of Jews and Slavs and justified genocide, and approved of the existence of concentration camps. His pseudo-scientific writings showed that Nazi ideology dominated his approach to medicine. Between 1938 and 1943 he published “Ein Selbstversuch” [Self-experimentation], “Grundsätzliches über Gegenwarts- und Zukunftsaufgaben der Lungenheilstätte” [The rules for the present-day and future operations of lung sanatoria] and a longer work entitled “Erschöpfungstheorie” [Exhaustion theory], offering guidelines for TB treatment based on Nazi racist ideology. Heissmeyer viewed tuberculosis as an Ausleseerscheinung, a convenient instrument for racial selection,14 therefore he put forward an unprecedented, inhumane suggestion that TB sanatoria and other medical facilities should take in patients on the basis of racial, not humanitarian, criteria.

“Erschöpfungstheorie” presents a quintessence of Heissmeyer’s approach to the treatment of “a-social” [i.e. anti-Nazi] tubercular patients. In his opinion, “those patients who are less valuable from the point of view of race, should be given a short spell of treatment at the most, for the purposes of research,” while “those whose lives are essential for the existence of the nation and race should be privileged patients, admitted to medical treatment centres on a preferential basis.” The condition of a patient’s organs was to be assessed in accordance with their racial value. Heissmeyer said that “medicine ought to contribute to the service of annihilating people, because racially less valuable individuals are not to be admitted to medical institutions, so as not to prolong the lives of those whom the state does not want.” He thought TB sanatoria were to treat those patients who were admitted on the criterion of race and not to care for those who were “of lesser racial value.” In the future, he said, TB researchers should not use animals in their experiments. Instead, the necessary research ought to be carried out on human subjects. According to Nazi ideology, TB experiments could not be done on animals, because such procedures “put humans and other creatures on a par.” Heissmeyer claimed that the treatment of prisoners and concentration camp inmates should be organised in an entirely new way, as they were parasites living off the state. The mandatory incarceration of “a-social” individuals was a judicial and punitive measure serving as a deterrent and for the purposes of elimination.

Heissmeyer’s ideologically-driven views on medicine, which I have briefly described above, concur with those expressed by other Nazi physicians before the Nuremberg military tribunal conducted by the Allied forces. Such attitudes were part of “inhumane medicine,” ran counter to the principles of medical ethics and the code of conduct upheld by the civilised world, and were actually against the laws in force in Nazi Germany. For instance, a circular issued by the German Minister of the Interior on 18 February 1931 on new methods of treatment and experimenting on human subjects maintained a rigid stance and said that “new therapies must be based on the fundamental principles of medical ethics as well as the state-of-the art medical knowledge. An experimental method of treatment may not be applied unless it has been previously tested on an animal, if possible, and unless the subject has issued his informed consent to take part in the experiment. Special caution must be exercised when live bacteria are used. All experiments on children and juveniles are prohibited if they may pose the slightest risk to the subjects. Experiments on the moribund are prohibited in principle, as they are a violation of medical ethics.” Heissmeyer must have learned these fundamental, universally acknowledged rules when he was a medical student. Today researchers still concur that experiments in which TB bacteria are introduced into an animal’s system produce fully reliable results and that cautious conclusions drawn from them can form the basis for effective tuberculosis treatment for humans.

Heissmeyer’s views provide the motives behind his actions during the War.

In early 1944 the Hohenlychen Sanatorium witnessed a meeting of top SS physicians, such as Heissmeyer, Gebhardt, Conti, Grawitz, and others. Their evening conversations in the officers’ mess drifted towards more effective treatment of tuberculosis. Heissmeyer hinted at the method developed by an Austrian phthisiatrist, Hans Kutschera-Aichbergen,15 who claimed that giving TB patients a secondary infection of cutaneous tuberculosis would enhance their immunity and help them recover from pulmonary TB. Yet even before 1944 his method had already been abandoned by medical scientists and practitioners, as it was ineffective and risky. Heissmeyer himself did not believe it was possible to build up immunity in this way, because he thought that tuberculosis in adult patients was not infectious. Nevertheless, he was interested in Kutschera-Aichbergen’s experiments, perceiving them as an opportunity to verify the hypotheses about the development of tuberculosis and to find a scientific confirmation for his own presuppositions.16

An informal chat over a mug of beer and words of encouragement from the SS physicians were enough for Heissmeyer to decide to carry out his experiments on the concentration camp prisoners sent to him for that purpose. Heissmeyer had neither the theoretical background nor the practical training to perform medical experiments. He had never studied the specialist literature nor cross-checked his knowledge, otherwise he would have found that his ideas about the causes and treatment of tuberculosis were completely ungrounded. Heissmeyer’s superiors, experts on tuberculosis, such as Sanitär-Berater Dr Gustav Baer; Prof. Kurt Klare, a researcher involved in Konstitutionsforschung;17 and Prof. Gebhardt, a lung specialist, who knew his exhaustion theory, pointed out how dangerous it was to assume tuberculosis was not infectious. Prof. Klare presented his opinion about Heissmeyer’s hypothesis in a letter dated 21 December 1938, refuting it and stating it was “extremely hazardous.” Heissmeyer’s attachment to Nazi ideology and his ambition to become an academic pushed him towards a life of crime. The victims of his malpractice were concentration camp prisoners, whom he considered people of “lesser value” and treated them as guinea pigs.

Heissmeyer rejected some of Kutschera-Aichbergen’s results. He wanted to investigate the following: (1) if adult tubercular patients could be treated with injections of virulent Mycobacteria tuberculosis (which he called Serum) and if it was possible to prove they developed antibodies in response to the bacteria; (2) if children with a negative tuberculin reaction could develop immunity to TB after the Serum had been administered; (3) if children with a positive tuberculin test result proved immune when infected with virulent TB bacteria.

It should be noted that Kutschera-Aichbergen had advised future researchers to steer clear of human experiments. He was strictly against infecting children with virulent TB bacteria, because he realised youngsters were much more prone to develop the disease. The specialist publications, including Kutschera-Aichbergen’s papers, demonstrated unambiguously that treating tuberculosis using the method envisaged by Heissmeyer was essentially unjustified and pointless. It is simply dangerous to give a secondary tubercular infection to a patient who already has TB. But that was not an argument that could make an impression on the mind of an SS physician like Heissmeyer. His attitude towards concentration camp detainees was unequivocal. His aim was to confirm his exhaustion theory, not to cure the subjects of his experiments. In planning the procedures, Heissmeyer expected that the outcomes could be negative and his human guinea pigs could die. But, since he knew how concentration camps operated, he was aware that he would never be held responsible for his misdeeds, especially as he had friends among the SS top brass. So he eagerly set about implementing his plans, which he drafted with the help of other SS physicians. In the early spring of 1944 he invited Oswald Pohl,18 chief administrator of all the Nazi concentration camps, to Hohenlychen. He asked for Pohl’s permission to carry out experiments on prisoners from Ravensbrück, which was not far away.19 Pohl promised to deliver as many subjects as Heissmeyer needed and to provide him with the basic facilities. However, he did not want Heissmeyer to work in Ravensbrück, because that camp had already become internationally recognised as the place where the notorious Dr Gebhardt performed his pseudo-medical experiments, which outraged public opinion abroad. Ravensbrück had gained such a grim reputation that even Dr Herta Oberheuser notified Pohl she would be all too happy to be transferred. Therefore it was decided Heissmeyer would be allowed to experiment in Neuengamme, a concentration camp near Hamburg. Accordingly, Heissmeyer received both adult and children subjects as well as the prisoner doctors and nurses he needed. Also, he was granted a special permit issued personally by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer SS, to carry out his “planned medical experiments in concentration camps,” as required under the decree of 15 May 1944.

Now it is necessary to make a digression. It is not clear whether Himmler really had to approve concentration camp experiments, no matter whether carried out by Heissmeyer or any other SS physician. The extant documents pertaining to the issue are an order sent by SS Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Brandt20 to Oswald Pohl on 2 August 1943, and a similar order sent by SS Gruppenführer Generalleutnant Richard Glücks21 to the commandants of all the concentration camps. On 23 June 1946, during his trial, Pohl testified that criminal pseudo-medical experiments were carried out in concentration camps only following approval by senior SS officials. When questioned about Heissmeyer’s case, Pohl said he had told him to ask Glücks for subjects for his experiments. However, Heissmeyer denied having been permitted by Himmler or Glücks to experiment on prisoners.

In late April 1943, Heissmeyer visited Neuengamme in the company of Enno Lolling,22 head of the Medical Services and Camp Hygiene within the SS WVHA,23 to see how Pohl’s orders had been implemented. He met the camp’s commandant Max Pauly,24 the Neuengamme garrison physician Alfred Trzebinski,25 and the other administrators. The Neuengamme hospital was disastrously overcrowded, nonetheless Heissmeyer was given a section of Barrack 4. It was renamed Sonderabteilung Heissmeyer (Heissmeyer’s special ward) and enclosed with a fence of wood and wire. The ward could take in twenty patients and no unauthorised prisoners were allowed to enter it. All of its operations were strictly confidential. Initially the ward employed Polish prisoner doctors Zygmunt Szafrański26 and Tadeusz Kowalski.27 Later they were replaced by French doctors Florence28 and Quenouille29 and Dutch male nurses Deutekom30 and Hölzel. Dr Trzebinski forbade them, on pain of death, to disclose any information about Heissmeyer’s experiments. Nevertheless, the secrets of ward 4a were known in the camp and the prisoners employed as medical staff there did all they could to spare the subjects and alleviate their suffering.

Heissmeyer began his work in the early days of June 1944. His first victims were adult Polish and Soviet prisoners. As they were incarcerated in a concentration camp, no one informed them about the nature of the experiments and the risk involved, and their consent was never asked for. It was Heissmeyer who selected his subjects. He could have had some information about their health and was in a position to decide freely who should take part in which experiment and later be admitted to another ward of the prisoners’ hospital. Some of the selected subjects were extremely exhausted by hard labour, starvation, and harsh living conditions. The men were aged 20-30 and weighed 35-50 kg (77–110 lbs.). The first group were patients with serious bilateral pulmonary tuberculosis, the second group had unilateral pulmonary tuberculosis, and the third had other kinds of TB. Later on, Heissmeyer selected prisoners for his fourth group: they were healthy, with no signs of a TB infection. In the second half of 1944, Heissmeyer regularly acquired new adult subjects for his experiments to replace the old ones. Substitutions were necessary when Heissmeyer was of the opinion that a prisoner was no longer fit for further experiments or that a particular experiment on a given subject was over. The prisoners were then sent over to Barrack 4, which was dubbed Death Barrack, and died there. Barrack 4 reported a daily death rate of up to thirty. Although Heissmeyer knew what was going on in Death Barrack, he took no interest in the plight of his ex-subjects. Their only gain was that for the duration of the experiments in ward 4a they were better fed. Also, they were given medications to bring down their body temperature and strengthen their hearts. That’s how Heissmeyer tried to keep them alive so he could complete his experiments. He was not at all interested in curing them.

To accomplish his purposes, Heissmeyer obtained a strain of live human tubercle bacilli from Prof. Meinicke,31 who worked in a bacteriological laboratory in Berlin. Prof. Meinicke informed Heissmeyer of the risks involved in handling virulent bacteria and warned him against using them in experiments on human subjects.

According to plan, Heissmeyer injected selected patients with the bacteria, and commuted from Hohenlychen to Neuengamme for follow-up visits, usually every ten days. In the intervening periods, the prisoner doctors and nurses observed the subjects and made entries in their medical records.

Heissmeyer did not even keep the rudimentary safety rules for handling bacteria, which showed that he did not even have a beginner’s knowledge of bacteriology. There were no estimates of the number of bacteria and the cultures were open to contamination. The prisoners working in his ward did not use face masks. The samples of his Serum were of different strength. Heissmeyer administered them subcutaneously or intracutaneously in the axilla. Moreover, he rubbed either the Serum or sputum containing the bacteria into the scarifications on the patients’ chests and then collected scrapings of the infected skin tissue. At intervals set by Heissmeyer, the subjects’ axillary lymph nodes were surgically removed for histological examination.

Heissmeyer used a different, X-ray monitored procedure on at least sixteen prisoners: he introduced the virulent bacteria straight into the lung through an orally inserted catheter. The medical records for those cases have survived and they include the X-rays of nine patients. These materials show that at least six patients had no signs of tubercular infection in the lungs prior to the experiment, but later on they developed well-defined tubercular foci and, in consequence, open TB.

While Heissmeyer was implementing his project, he learned from the garrison physician that Neuengamme prisoners who had been sentenced to death were available for his experimentation without any reservations, and he took advantage of the offer. The medical records show that Heissmeyer inserted a tube into the lungs of several healthy prisoners with a death sentence and infected them. Their names32 were Nędza, Jakubowski, Tschurkin, Wessołowski, and Wolniewicz. The procedure was performed on 11 October 1944. Heissmeyer could do whatever he wanted with die Überstellten, the men handed over to him. They could not be executed until he issued his permission. After four weeks, he informed the SS that the experiments were over, which meant that the death sentences could be carried out. Heissmeyer added that he wanted to conduct a post-mortem on one of the subjects to see the effects of the injection. On 8 or 9 November 1944, Nędza, Tschurkin, Wessołowski, and Wolniewicz were hanged and post-mortems were done on their bodies immediately afterwards. The reports were put in the records.

Following Heissmeyer’s experiments, the prisoners with death sentences had their heads half-shaved. According to the regulations, they had to be isolated (stay in Lagersperre), be easy to distinguish from other prisoners, and instantly recognised if they escaped or tried to hide in the camp. This practice shows that sometimes Heissmeyer’s victims were allowed to stay in the prisoners’ hospital and were in ward 4a only for the duration of the experiments. Thanks to the preserved documents it was possible to establish that Heissmeyer experimented on twelve prisoners who had death sentences, applying his procedures in various combinations and injecting bacteria of higher or lower virulence.

Heissmeyer also performed similar experiments on children, just as he had intended, even though by that time he knew on the basis of his own experiments that his injections would make his subjects’ health deteriorate. In the autumn of 1944, he used the services of Gebhardt as an intermediary to ask Pohl for twenty children. Around December 1944, twenty boys and girls aged 5-12 were transferred from Auschwitz to Neuengamme. Their general condition was good and they were well fed, just as Heissmeyer had wanted. They were of Jewish origin, most of them came from Poland and had no TB. Five of them had a negative tubercular test result. From the end of 1944 to March 1945, Heissmeyer repeated all the procedures performed on the adult prisoners on his child subjects. The extant X-ray records show that the children’s skin was badly ulcerated by the subcutaneous bacterial injections. Most of them had their lymph nodes excised for further examination. Heissmeyer’s notes indicate that all twenty subjects were exposed to virulent tubercle bacteria, and at least three of them had a tube inserted into their airways and bacteria transmitted straight into the lung. The extant chest X-rays of Desmonika, aged 7;33 Morgenstern, aged 12;34 and Birnbaum, aged 12,35 show the same type of TB foci that had developed in Heissmeyer’s adult victims. Following the procedures, the children ran a high temperature, lost their appetite, and turned into bedridden wrecks. By April 1945, one of the French boys36 was on the verge of death as a result of the experiments. The children became so weak that they had to be carried in for follow-up visits. For the duration of the experiments on the children in ward 4a, the adult subjects were moved to the prisoners’ hospital, both for observation and further experimentation.

Heissmeyer’s last notes, dated 9 March 1945, indicate that indeed he experimented on adult prisoners in the Revier (the prisoners’ hospital), and usually they died there. The camp registers and other documents show that by 9 March 1945, ten of Heissmeyer’s subjects had died, including six in January 1945. We have to add those who were executed. Altogether, it has been estimated that Heissmeyer experimented on 80-100 adult prisoners. For thirty-two of them, we have extant documentation that gives their personal data, the type of procedure, the follow-up visits, and the course of the illness.

Prisoners van Sabben and Alekseev, who were infected with the bacteria via pulmonary tube placement, died due to acute tuberculosis, which was the evident proximate cause of death. Given the harsh living conditions in the camp, tubercular infections were bound to turn fatal. Such conclusions can be drawn also from the last records in the subjects’ medical histories, which imply that death was imminent. For instance, following the injection, a prisoner called Prokopienko died of TB meningitis.

During his last visit in Neuengamme, Heissmeyer instructed the staff to remove the documentation in order to hide his crimes, because in late April 1945 it was clear that Germany was losing on all fronts and so he might be held responsible for his misdeeds. He commissioned a special tin case into which he packed the documents relating to the experiments as well as his silver cutlery and a farewell letter to his wife, which bore the date 25 April 1945 and ended with the words, “It’s the advent of the unknown.” The case was buried in the grounds of the Hohenlychen Sanatorium, but was later retrieved. When the Allied forces were approaching Neuengamme, Heissmeyer decided to destroy other evidence too, especially as he was pressured to do so by the commandant’s office: in a telephone conversation, he was informed his special ward must be closed down.

On the evening of 21 April 1945, on special orders from the top SS officials, the children who had survived Heissmeyer’s experiments as well as the prisoner doctors and nurses were brutally killed in the Bullenhuser Damm School in Hamburg. Both the evidence and the witnesses of his pseudo-medical practices were disposed of. Trzebinski, the Neuengamme garrison physician, one of the people guilty of those crimes, was sentenced to death by the British military tribunal. Heissmeyer managed to escape from Hohenlychen to the Netherlands. Later he helped his father to run his medical practice in Sandersleben. He procured forged documents to confirm his exemplary conduct and even his anti-Nazi attitude during the War. Having taken all these precautions to protect himself, in May 1946 he settled in Magdeburg and practised as a specialist in lung diseases, enjoying a measure of popularity and a secure income.

I have described Heissmeyer’s activities in detail not only because he was not tried until over two decades after the War. More importantly, he has to be seen as a representative of the generation of German doctors that lapped up the Nazi ideology and put it into practice.


This text was based on (1) the verdict handed down by the Magdeburg district court37 on 30 June 1966; (2) the indictment issued in Berlin on 30 April 1966; and (3) the bibliography listed on p. 81 in Przegląd Lekarski — Oświęcim 1962 (1a).


Translated from original article: Kłodziński, S., “Zbrodnicze doświadczenia z zakresu gruźlicy w Neuengamme. Działalność Kurta Heissmeyera.” Przegląd Lekarski – Oświęcim, 1969.

  1. Die Marburger Burschenschaft Arminia, a German students’ union founded by students of Marburg University in 1860. See
  2. Hohenlychen, situated about 75 km north of Berlin, was one of the main centres used by the SS and German police for medical treatment. Its staff included physicians who were war criminals, such as SS Sturmbannführer Dr Karl Gebhardt, who was sentenced to death in the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial. See and
  3. SS Obergruppenführer Leonardo Conti (1900–1945). German physician, Reich Health Leader. Involved in T4, the Nazi involuntary euthanasia programme, and in pseudo-medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Imprisoned after the War but committed suicide before the Doctors’ Trial started. See
  4. SS Obergruppenführer Ernst-Robert Grawitz (1899–1945). Reich Physician of the SS and Police, head of the German Red Cross. Involved in experiments on concentration camp inmates, especially in the children’s camp in Łódź. See Gretchen E. Schafft, From Racism to Genocide. Anthropology in the Third Reich. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004, 159–163.a
  5. SS Sturmbannführer Fritz Ernst Fischer (1912–2003), conducted pseudo-medical experiments in Ravensbrück. Defendant in the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial, found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment, but released in 1951.
  6. Herta Oberheuser (1911–1978), German war criminal, SS physician and Gebhardt’s assistant in Ravensbrück. Worked in Hohenlychen from July 1943 to the end of the War. One of the defendants in the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial; sentenced to 20 years in prison, but released in 1952. See
  7. SS Obersturmbannführer Ludwig Stumpfegger (1910–1945), Hitler’s and Himmler’s personal physician. Gebhardt’s assistant in Hohenlychen.
  8. From the historical point of view, the term “fascism” properly applies to the Italian Fascist Party and is a misnomer if used for Nazi Germany. However, it was often used in this way by Soviet commentators and their counterparts in the Warsaw Bloc countries.a
  9. Rudolf Hess (1894–1987), leading Nazi and Hitler’s deputy, brought to trial after the War and sentenced to life imprisonment. Not to be confused with Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz. See
  10. Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945), German Minister of Propaganda and Enlightenment of the People (Reichsminister für Volkserklärung und Propaganda). One of Hitler’s closest associates. On 1 May 1945 he and his wife committed suicide, after killing their children. See
  11. Albert Speer (1901–1981), German Minister of Armaments and War Production. An architect by profession, he contributed to the expansion of the concentration camps. Stood trial before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.
  12. Hans von Tschammer und Osten (1887–1943), Reichssportführer, “Reich Sports Leader.” See
  13. Getrud Scholz-Klink (1902–1999), leader of the NS-Frauenschaft. See
  14. For more on Heissberg’s publications, see the passages cited from them in the article by Stanisław Sterkowicz, “Pseudo-medical experiments in Neuengamme concentration camp,” on this website. See also Kaufmann, Doris. “Kurt Heissmeyer.” In Schmuhl, Hans-Walter, Rassenforschung an Kaiser-Wilhelm-Instituten vor und nach 1933. Wallstein Verlag, 2003: 331–332. Follow the link to read that bionote online.b
  15. Hans Kutschera-Aichbergen (1890–1940), Austrian internist. Apparently Kłodziński did not realise this was a double-barrelled surname of one researcher and therefore he referred to “Kutschera and Aichbergen” throughout the text.b
  16. See Sterkowicz’s article, which offers another reason for Heissmeyer’s interest in the Kutschera-Aichbergen method—simply as a means to progress and promotion in his academic career.a
  17. Konstitutionsforschung was a German line of pseudo-scientific research with a racial approach to human genetics and anthropology, which flourished under the Nazi regime. Kurt Klare (1885–1954) was the chairman of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Konstitutionsforschung (German Society for “Constitution” Research), which was founded in 1942. See
  18. SS Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl (1892–1951), chief administrator of the Nazi German concentration camps, a key figure in the design and implementation of the Final Solution. Arrested after the War and tried by the American Military Court on charges of war crimes. Convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged. See
  19. Hohenlychen is just 14 km away from the site of Ravensbrück.a
  20. SS Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Brandt (1909–1948), German war criminal. Personal Administrative Officer to Himmler, and Ministerial Counsellor and Chief of the Ministerial Office in the Reich Ministry of the Interior. Defendant in the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial; convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged. Cf.
  21. SS Gruppenführer Generalleutnant Richard Glücks (1889–1945), German war criminal. Concentration camp inspector, involved in the drafting of the Final Solution and the implementation of Zyklon B in the gas chambers. Believed to have committed suicide at the end of the War. Seeücks.a
  22. SS Standartenführer Dr Enno Lolling (1888–1945). Chief physician at the Concentration Camps Inspectorate. Committed suicide at the end of the War. Robert J. Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1986, 180. Cf.
  23. SS Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungshauptamt, the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office.a
  24. SS Sturmbannführer Max Pauly (1907–1946). German war criminal. Commandant of Stutthof and Neuengamme concentration camps. Ordered the execution of the Polish defenders of the Danzig/Gdańsk post office. After the War stood trial before the British military court, convicted of war crimes, sentenced to death and hanged. See
  25. SS Hauptsturmführer Alfred Trzebinski (1902–1946). Nazi war criminal active as a doctor in Neuengamme. After the War tried by a British military court, convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged.a
  26. Dr Zygmunt Szafrański (1913–1975), Polish physician, prisoner doctor held in Neuengamme, 1941–1945; made an extensive statement in 1946 on Neuengamme to Polish investigative judge Kazimierz Borys. Cf. Zapisy terroru. Chronicles of Terror. Online at
  27. Dr Tadeusz Kowalski. Polish prisoner doctor held in Auschwitz-Birkenau and Neuengamme. Witnessed the Bullenhuser Damm atrocity and testified against its perpetrators in the Curiohaus Trial. Cf. and Zdzisław J. Ryn, “Lekarze-więźniowie w Auschwitz-Birkenau,” 65, available online at
  28. Dr Gabriel Florence (1886–1945). French professor of biological and medical chemistry at the University of Lyon Cf.
  29. Dr René Quenouille (1884–1945). French radiologist. Cf.
  30. Dirk Deutekom and Anton Hölzel (misspelled “Hölzl” in Sterkowicz’s text). Cf. and
  31. Ernst Meinicke (1887–1945). German physician. See
  32. Four of these victims appear to have been Polish (with the name “Wesołowski” misspelt), while “Tschurkin” may have been a Russian with his name transcribed in the German way.a
  33. Sergio De Simone, a child from Italy. Cf.
  34. Jacqueline Morgenstern, a child from Paris. Cf.
  35. Lelka Birnbaum from Poland. Cf.
  36. Georges-André Kohn from Paris (the only French boy in the group). Cf.
  37. I Strafsenat des Bezirksgerichts Magdeburg.a

a—notes by Teresa Bałuk-Ulewiczowa, Head Translator for the Medical Review Auschwitz project; b—notes by Marta Kapera, the translator of the article.


A publication funded in 2020–2021 within the DIALOG Program of the Ministry of Education and Science in Poland.

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