The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Having  finished his high altitude experiments, Dr. Rascher  proceeded
to  experiments  with  methods  of re-warming  persons  who  had  been
subjected toextremecold. I refer to our Document 1618-PS, which is  an
intermediate  report on intense chilling experiments  which  had  been
started in Dachau on the 15th of August, 1942. That report, signed  by
Dr. Rascher, I offer in evidence as Exhibit USA 464. I shall read only
a few sentences from the report, beginning with the first paragraph:

     "Experimental procedure.
     Persons  subjected  to  experiments were  placed  in  the  water,
     dressed in complete flying uniform, winter or summer combination,
     and  with  an aviator's helmet. A life jacket made of  rubber  or
     kapok was to prevent submerging. The experiments were carried out
     at  water temperatures varying from 2.5 degrees to 12 degrees. In
     one  experimental series, occiput and brain stem were  above  the
     water,  while in another series of experiments, the  neck  (brain
     stem) and the back of the head were submerged in the water.
     Electrical  measurement  gave low temperature  readings  of  26.4
     degrees  in  the  stomach and 26.5 degrees in the  rectum.  Fatal
     casualties occurred only when the brain stem and the back of  the
     head  were  also  chilled. Autopsies of such fatal  cases  always
     revealed  large amounts of free blood, up to one-half  litre,  in
     the  cranial cavity. The heart regularly showed extreme  dilation
     of  the  right  chamber.  As  soon as the  temperature  in  these
     experiments  reached 28 degrees, the experimental  subjects  died
     invariably, despite all reviving attempts."

I pass now to the last paragraph of the report. I quote:

     "During attempts to save severely chilled persons, it was evident
     that  rapid  re-warming was in all cases preferable to  slow  re-
     warming,  because  after removal from the cold  water,  the  body
     temperature  continued to sink rapidly. I think  that,  for  this
     reason,  we  can  dispense  with the attempt  to  save  intensely
     chilled subjects by means of animal warmth.
     Re-warming by animal warmth -- animal bodies or women's bodies --
     would be too slow."
Although  Rascher was thus of the preliminary opinion that  re-warming
by  women's bodies would be too slow, means for conducting such experi
ments  were  nevertheless  placed at his  disposal.  I  refer  to  our
Document  1583-PS,  a photostatic copy of a letter from  Reichsfuehrer
S.S. Himmler, addressed to Lieutenant General Pohl, dated the 16th  of
November, 1942. I offer it as Exhibit USA 465. I shall read  just  the
first two paragraphs of that letter:

     "Dear Pohl:
     The following struck me during my visit to Dachau on the 13th  of
     November 1942, regarding the experiments conducted there for  the
     saving  of people whose lives are endangered through exposure  in
     ice, snow or water, and who are to be saved by the employment  of
     every method or means.
                                                            [Page 163]
     I  had  ordered that suitable women are to be set aside from  the
     concentration camp tor these experiments ior tne warming of those
     who  were  exposed. Four girls were set aside  who  were  in  the
     concentration  camp for loose morals, and because as  prostitutes
     they were a potential source of infection."

I  think  it  is  unnecessary for me to go on with  the  rest  of  the
paragraph,  in  which he expresses his dissatisfaction that  a  German
prostitute should be used for this purpose.

To  insure the continuance of Rascher's experiments, Himmler  arranged
for  his  transfer to the "Waffen S.S." I offer in evidence  a  letter
which   appears  as  our  Document  16I7-PS.  It  is  a  letter   from
Reichsfuehrer S.S. addressed to "Dear Comrade Milch " -- General Field
Marshal Milch -- dated November, 1942. I offer it as Exhibit USA  466.
I will now read the first paragraphs of that letter, our Document 16I7-
PS. 1 quote:

     Dear Comrade Milch:
     You  will  recall  that  through  General  Wolff  I  particularly
     recommended to you for your consideration the work of  a  certain
     S.S.  Fuehrer, Dr. Rascher, who is a physician of the  Air  Force
     These  researches  which  deal with the  reaction  of  the  human
     organism  at  great heights, as well as with symptoms  caused  by
     prolonged  cooling of the human body in cold water,  and  similar
     problems  which  are  of vital importance to  the  Air  Force  in
     particular,  can  be  performed by us with particular  efficiency
     because  I  personally assumed the responsibility  for  supplying
     asocial  elements  and criminals who only deserve  to  die,  from
     concentration camps, for these experiments."
I  shall omit the next four paragraphs, in which Himmler reflects upon
the  difficulties  of conducting such experiments,  because  Christian
medical circles were opposed, and pass on to the last paragraph on the
first  page of the translation. That is the seventh paragraph  of  the

     "I beg you to release Dr. Rascher, Stabsarzt in reserve, from the
     Air  Force and to transfer him to me to the 'Waffen S.S.' I would
     then  assume the sole responsibility for having these experiments
     made in this field, and would put the results, of which we in the
     S.S.  need  only  a  part  for the first injuries  in  the  East,
     entirely  at  the  disposal of the Air Force.  However,  in  this
     connection, I suggest that with the liaison between you and Wolff
     a non-Christian physician should be charged, who should be at the
     same time honourable as a scientist and not prone to intellectual
     thrift  and who could be informed of the results. This  physician
     should   also   have   good  contacts  with  the   administrative
     authorities, so that the results would really attract attention.
     1 believe that this solution to transfer Dr. Rascher to the S.S.,
     so   that   he   could  carry  out  the  experiments   under   my
     responsibility  and  under  my  orders,  is  the  best  way.  The
     experiments would not be stopped; we owe that to our men. If  Dr.
     Rascher  remained  with the Air Force, there would  certainly  be
     much  annoyance, because then I would have to bring a  series  of
     unpleasant   details  to  you,  because  of  the  arrogance   and
     presumption which Professor Dr. Holzloehner has displayed in  his
     position  at  Dachau, where, although under my command,  he  made
     remarks  about me to S.S. Colonel Sievers. In order to save  both
     of  us  this trouble, I suggest again that Dr. Rascher should  be
     transferred to the Waffen S.S. as quickly as possible."

                                                            [Page 164]

THE PRESIDENT: Is that letter from Himmler?

MAJOR FARR: That letter is from Himmler.

Now  Rascher's  experiments were by no means the only  experiments  in
which the S.S. was interested. Without attempting even to outline  the
whole  extent  of the experimental programme, I shall  give  just  one
further  illustration of this type of S.S. activity. I  refer  to  our
Document  L-103, which is a report prepared by the Chief Hygienist  in
the  Office  of the Reich Surgeon of the S.S. and Police,  dated  12th
September,  1944.  I  offer it as Exhibit USA 467. (Parenthetically  I
might  note that the office of the Reich Surgeon S.S. and Police  will
be  found in the personal staff department, as indicated by the second
box  on the right-hand side of the line leading down from the personal

I  shall  read a few paragraphs from this report, which  is  a  report
prepared by the Chief Hygienist in the office of the Reich Surgeon  of
S.S. and Police, and signed S.S. Oberfuehrer Dr. Murgowsky. It relates
to   experiments  with  poison  bullets.  Beginning  with  the   first
paragraph, I quote:

     "On   11th   September,   1944,   in   the   presence   of   S.S.
     Sturmbannfuehrer  Dr.  Ding,  Dr. Widmann  and  the  undersigned,
     experiments  with Conotine-nitrate bullets were  carried  out  on
     five persons who had been sentenced to death. The calibre of  the
     bullets  used  was  7.65 centimetres, and they were  filled  with
     poison  in crystal form. Each subject of the experiment  received
     one  shot  in  the  upper  part of the left  thigh,  while  in  a
     horizontal  position.  In the case of two  persons,  the  bullets
     passed  clean through the upper part of the thigh. Even later  no
     effect  from  the poison could be seen. These two  subjects  were
     therefore rejected."

I  omit the next few sentences and proceed beginning with paragraph  2
of the report:

     "The   symptoms  shown  by  the  three  condemned  persons   were
     surprisingly the same. At first, nothing special was  noticeable.
     After  20 to 25 minutes, a disturbance of the motor nerves and  a
     light  flow of saliva began, but both stopped again. After 40  to
     44  minutes,  a  strong  flow of saliva  appeared.  The  poisoned
     persons  swallowed frequently, later the flow of  saliva  was  so
     strong that it could no longer be controlled by swallowing. Foamy
     saliva  flowed from the mouth. Then a sensation of  choking,  and
     vomiting started."

The  next  three paragraphs describe in coldly scientific fashion  the
reactions of the dying persons. The description then continues --  and
I  want  to quote the two paragraphs before the conclusion. It is  the
last  paragraph on Page 1 of the translation, the sixth  paragraph  of
the report:

     "At  the  same  time there was acute nausea. One of the  poisoned
     persons  tried in vain to vomit. In order to succeed he put  four
     fingers of his hand, up to the main joint, right into his  mouth.
     In  spite  of  this, no vomiting occurred. His face became  quite
     The faces of the other two subjects had already become pale at an
     early  stage.  Other  symptoms  were  the  same.  Later  on   the
     disturbances  of  the motor nerves increased  so  much  that  the
     persons  threw themselves up and down and rolled their  eyes  and
     made  aimless movements with their hands and arms.  At  last  the
     disturbance  subsided, the pupils were enlarged to  the  maximum,
     the  condemned  lay still. Massetercramp and loss of  urine  were
     observed in one of them. Death occurred 121, 123 and 129  minutes
     after they were shot."

                                                            [Page 165]

The fact that S.S. doctors engaged in such experiments was no
accident. It was consisten with an ideology and racial philosophy
which, to use Himmler's words, regarded human beings as lice and
offal. But the most important factor was that the S.S. alone was in a
position to supply necessary human material. It did supply such
material through W.V.H.A. I refer to our Document 1751-PS, which is a
letter from the Chief of Office Group D of W.V.H.A, dated 12th May,
1944. I offer it as Exhibit USA 468, I quote that letter. It appears
in the original file on the last page.

     "There is cause to call attention to the fact that in every  case
     permission  for assignment has to be requested before  assignment
     of prisoners is made for experimental purposes.
     To  be included in this request are number, kind of custody,  and
     in  case of Aryan prisoners, exact personal data, file number  in
     the  Reich  Security Main Office and the reason for detention  in
     the concentration camp.
     Herewith,  I  explicitly  forbid  assignment  of  prisoners   for
     experimental purposes without permission."
The  translation says that the signature is illegible, but I think  it
appears  from the original that it is the signature of Gluecks,  since
he  was the department chief of Department D of W.V.H.A It was on  the
basis of being able to supply such material that the Reich Ministry of
Finance  was prepared to subsidise the S.S. experimental programme.  I
offer in evidence a series of letters between the Ministry of Finance,
the  Reich Research Department and the Reich Surgeon of the  S.S.  and
Police.  They  are our Document 002-PS, which I offer in  evidence  as
Exhibit USA 469. The first letter from which 1 quote appears on Page 4
of  our  Document 002-PS, and is from the Head of the Security Council
of the Reich Research Department, addressed to the Surgeon of S.S. and
Police.  It  is  dated  19th February, 1943. 1 read  the  first  three
paragraphs of that letter:

     "The  Reich  Minister of Finance told me that  you  requested  53
     leading  positions  for your office, partly for  a  new  research
     After  the  Reichsmarschall of the Greater German Reich  had,  as
     President of the Reich Research Department, himself taken  charge
     of all German research, he issued directives, among other things,
     that in the execution of important military scientific tasks, the
     available institutions, including equipment and personnel, should
     be  utilised to the utmost, for reasons of necessary  economy  of
     The foundation of new institutes comes therefore in question only
     in  as  far as there are no outstanding institutes available  for
     the furtherance of important war research tasks."

I omit the rest of the letter.

To this letter the Reich Surgeon of the S.S. and Police replied on the
26th  February, 1943. The reply will be found on Page z of the English
translation. It is a letter from the Reich Surgeon S.S. and Police  to
the  Head  of  the Security Council of the Reich Research  Department,
dated 26th February, 1943. 1 quote the first three paragraphs of  that
letter. It begins:

     "In  acknowledgment of your letter of the 19th February, 1943,  I
     am able to reply today as follows:
     The suggested creation Of 53 key positions in my department which
     you  made  the basis of your memorandum is a veritable peace-time
                                                            [Page 166]
     The special institutes of the S.S. which were to have a part of
     these positions would have to serve the purpose of establishing
     and making accessible for the entire realm of scientific research
     possibilities of research only open to the S.S."

Omitting the next two paragraphs, I continue:

     "I will gladly be at your disposal at any time to discuss the
     particular research aims in connection with the S.S., which 1
     would like to bring up upon the direction of the Reichsfuehrer

An  interview between the Reich Surgeon and Mentzel, the author of the
original letter, took place, and on 25th March, 1943, Mentzel wrote  a
letter to the Reich Minister of Finance, which is found on Page  1  of
the  translation.  It  is  a letter from the President  of  the  Reich
Research  Department,  Head  of  the Security  Council  to  the  Reich
Minister of Finance, dated 25th March, 1943. The letter begins:

     "In regard to your letter of 19th December " -- and then follow
     the serial numbers of the letter -- to which I gave you a.
     preliminary answer on 19th February, 1 finally take the following
     The  Reich Surgeon S.S. and Police in a recent conversation  with
     me   maintained  that  the  establishment  demands  made  by  him
     basically affect the purely military sector of the Waffen S.S. As
     these  demands have to some extent been made in order to  enlarge
     the scope of scientific research work, they exclusively refer  to
     such matters as can only be carried out with the material at  the
     disposal of the Waffen S. S. (prisoners) and therefore cannot  be
     handled  by  any  other research office. I cannot  therefore,  on
     behalf of the Reich Research Council, object to the establishment
     demands of the Reich Surgeon S.S. and Police."

The letter is signed, " Mentzel, Bureau Chief."

Thus it was because the S.S. was in a position to supply material  for
the  programme of experiments that it took the lead in that  field  of

THE PRESIDENT: Does the letter on Page 4 mean that the defendant
Goering was president of the Reich Research Department ?

MAJOR  FARR: Page 4 of the translation? Yes, that I understand is  the
case,  the  point of the letter being that Goering had laid  down  the
rule  that  during  the  war  there  was  to  be  no  duplication   of
experimental  facilities. Therefore, the Reich Research Department  to
which  the  Minister of Finance had turned for an opinion,  asked  the
Reich  Surgeon,  "Why  do  you want to carry  out  this  programme  of

THE  PRESIDENT: I was only asking whether the President of  the  Reich
Research Department was the defendant Goering?

MAJ0R FARR: That is what is stated in the letter. I understand that to
be the case.

THE  PRESIDENT:  Then  what  do the words,  "President  of  the  Reich
Research  Department " on Page 1 mean? Does that mean that the  letter
went to the defendant Goering?

MAJOR  FARR: No. The letterhead bears the notation "President  of  the
Reich Research Department," and the letter proceeds from an office  of
that  department,  Head  of  the  Security  Council.  The  letter  was
addressed to the Reich Minister of Finance.


                                                            [Page 167]

MAJOR FARR: I have concluded the concentration camp phase.

THE PRESIDENT: We will recess now for ten minutes.

 (A recess was taken.)

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