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March 7th

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6.2.4 - Documents
(expecially those regarding experiments on homosexuals)

Letter from SS-Standartenführer Sievers to SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Brandt, November 2 1942.

Dear Comrade Brandt,

As you know, the Reichsführer-SS has directed that SS-Hauptsturmführer Prof. Dr. Hirt be supplied with everything needed for his research work. For certain anthropological researches - I already reported to the Reichsführer-SS on them - 150 skeletons of prisoners, or rather Homosexuals, are required, which are to be supplied by the KL Buchenwald. Often, Himmler would promise Gay men that if they would volounteer for castration, then they would be set free. This, of course, never happened. The men were as often as not, used after a month or so in the usual round of experiments.

Letter from Graum to Reichsführer-SS Himmler, June 1 1943.

Dear Reichsführer,

The Führer's Commissioner-General, SS Brigadeführer Professor Dr. Brandt, called me with the request that I should assist him by placing prisoners at his disposal for research work into the cause of contagious jaundice (Hepatitis epidemica) which he was furthering considerably. The work has been carried out up to now by a medical captain, Dr. Dohmen, within the framework of the research place of the army medical inspectorate, with the participation of the Robert Koch institute. It has up to now led to the result, in agreement with the result of other German research workers, that contagious jaundice is not carried by bacteria but by a virus. In order to increase our knowledge, which is based up to now only on vaccination experiments from men to animals, the reverse way is now necessary, namely the vaccination of the cultivated virus germ into humans. One must reckon on cases of death.

Letter to SS-Obergruppenführer Pohl, 19 May 1944.

Dear Obergruppenführer,

Following our application of 30.9.43, you gave me your authorisation on the 25.10.43 for the carrying out of experiments with a view to producing a new kind of spotted fever serum and transferred 100 suitable prisoners to Buchenwald for this purpose. It has been possible to carry out the experiments very satisfactorily so far with the help of the chief of Department D III SS Standartenführer Dr. Dolling commissioned by you.

Letter from SS-Sturmbannführer Brandt to SS-Obersturmbannführer Sievers, 21 March 1942.

Reference is made to the subatmospheric pressure experiments which are being carried out on concentration camp inmates in the Buchenwald camp by the air force. The Reich Leader-SS has approved the experiments under the conditions that SS-Untersturmführer Dr. Rascher who is an Obersturmführer in the air force, will take part in them.

Letter from SS-Untersturmführer Rascher to Reichsführer-SS Himmler, 5 April 1942.

Highly esteemed Reich Leader:

Enclosed is an interim report on the low-pressure experiments so far conducted in the concentration camp of Buchenwald...

Only continuous experiments at altitudes higher than 10.5 Km resulted in death. These experiments showed that breathing stopped after about 30 minutes, while in two cases the electrocardiographically charted action of the heart continued for another 20 minutes. The third experiment of this type took such an extraordinary course that I called an SS physician of the camp as a witness, since I had worked on these experiments all by myself. It was a continuous experiment without oxygen at a height of 12 Km. conducted on a 37-year old Homosexual in good general condition. Breathing continued up to 30 minutes. After 4 minutes the experimental subject began to perspire and to wiggle his head, after 5 minutes cramps occurred, between 6 and 10 minutes breathing increased in speed and the experimental subject became unconscious; from 11 to 30 minutes breathing slowed down to three breaths per minute, finally stopping altogether.

Severest cyanosis developed in between and foam appeared at the mouth...

Autopsy report

One hour later after breathing had stopped, the spinal marrow was completely severed and the brain was removed. Thereupon the action of the auricle stopped for 40 seconds. In then renewed its action, coming to a complete standstill 8 minutes later. A heavy subarchnoid oedema was found in the brain. In the veins and arteries of the brain a considerable quantity of air was discovered.

Report by SS-Untersturmführer Rascher about intense cooling experiments in Buchenwald concentration camp, 10 September 1942.

The experimental subjects were placed in the water, dressed in complete flying uniform, winter or summer combination, and with an aviator's helmet. A life jacket made out of rubber kapok was to prevent submerging. The experiments were carried out at water temperatures varying from from 2.5 to 12 Centigrade. In one experimental series, the occiput (brain stem) protruded above the water, while in another series of experiments the occiput (brain stem) and back of the head were submerged in water.

Electrical measurements gave low temperature readings of 26.4 in the stomach and 26.5 in the rectum. Fatalities occurred only when the brain stem and the back of the head were also chilled. Autopsies of of such fatal cases always revealed large amounts of free blood, up to one-half litter, in the cranial cavity.

Report by Prof. Dr. Holzloehner, Dr. Rascher, and Dr. Finke, regarding cooling experiments, 10 October 1942.

If the experimental subject was placed in the water under narcosis, one observed a certain arousing effect. The subject began to groan and made some defensive movements. In a few cases a state of excitation developed. This was especially severe in the cooling of head and neck. But never was a complete cessation of the narcosis observed. The defensive movements ceased after about 5 minutes. There followed a progressive rigor, which developed especially strongly in the arm musculature; the arms were strongly flexed and pressed to the body. The rigor increased with the continuation of the cooling, now and then interrupted by tonic-clonic twitchings. With still more marked sinking of the body temperature it suddenly ceased. These cases ended fatally, without any successful results from resuscitation efforts.

Letter from SS-Untersturmführer Dr. Rascher to SS-Sturmbannführer Rudolph Brandt, October 3 1942.

The Reich leader SS wants to be informed of the state of the experiments. I can announce that the experiments have been concluded, with the exception of those on warming with body heat. The final report will be ready in about 5 days. Prof. Holzloehner, for reasons I cannot fathom, does not himself want to make the report to the Reich Leader Himmler and has asked me to attend to it. This report must be made before 20 October, because the great Luftwaffe [German air-force] conference on freezing takes place on Nuernberg on 25 October. The report on the results of our research must be made there, to assure that they be used in time for the troops. May I ask you to arrange for a decision from the Reich Leader regarding the final report to him, and the submission to him of the relevant material? Today I received your letter of 22 September 1942, in which the Reich Leader orders that the experiments on warming through body heat must absolutely be conducted. Because of incomplete address it was delayed. Today I asked Obersturmbannführer Sievers to send a telegram to the camp commander immediately, to the effect that four Gypsy women be procured at once from another camp. Moreover, I asked SS Obersturmbannführer Sievers to take steps to have the low pressure chamber ready for use.

Military Tribunals

On October 25, 1946, The Medical Case (the first of the twelve subsequent Nuremberg proceedings tried by the Nuremberg Military Tribunals) opened, in which twenty - three doctors and other senior functionaries in the Nazi medical establishment and the army were put on trial. Of the twenty - three defendants, twenty were medical doctors, of whom nineteen had held senior posts in the administration or the army. Sixteen were found guilty under Allied Control Council Law No. 10, providing for the punishment of war crimes and crimes against peace and humanity. They were found guilty of planning and executing experiments on human beings against their will, in a cruel and brutal manner involving severe torture, and of the deliberate murder of some of the victims, in cold blood and with full awareness of the gravity of their deeds.

The Nuremberg Military Tribunals found that the medical experiments were crimes that served the ideological objectives of the Nazi regime. They also found that none of the many experiments carried out by the Nazis was of any scientific value.

Useless experiments
The Nazi's used Human guinea-pigs for their evil deeds. They believed that Homosexuals were beneath them and therefore not worth worrying about in the real sense. None of the many experiments carried out by the Nazis on Concentration Camps prisoner was of any scientific value

Seven of the accused were sentenced to death: Karl Brandt, Rudolf Brandt (Himmler's private secretary and principal secretary of the Ministry of the Interior), Karl Gebhardt, Joachim Mrugowsky, Viktor Brack, Wolfram Sievers (the Ahnenerbe chief), and Waldemar Hoven (Waffen - SS officer and chief medical officer at Buchenwald). All were executed on June 2, 1948. Nine of the accused were sentenced to prison terms of various lengths, and seven were acquitted.

Five persons who had played a central role in the medical experiments were not tried at Nuremberg. Ernst Grawitz committed suicide in 1945, Carl Clauberg was tried in the Soviet Union, Josef Mengele escaped to South America, and Horst Schumann disappeared and has not been traced. Siegmund Rascher was executed on Himmler's order in February 1945, for falsely claiming that his wife gave birth to children after the age of forty - eight.

Source: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust
©1990 Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, NY 10022

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