Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: "Euthanasia" murders: Brack testifies From: Ken McVay
Organization: The Nizkor Project http://www.nizkor.org Archive/File: places/germany/euthanasia/brack.002 Last-Modified: 1994/08/25 What follows are excerpts from the testimony of Victor Brack and Karl Brandt at the Nuremburg Trials (both were later hung for "crimes against humanity"). ********** Extracts from the testimony of Victor Brack ********** JUDGE SEBRING: Witness, when adult persons were selected for euthanasia and sent by the transport to euthanasia stations for that purpose, by what methods were the mercy deaths given? DEFENDANT BRACK: The patients went to a euthanasia institution after the written formalities were concluded - I need not repeat these formalities here, they were physical examination, comparison of the files, etc. The patients were led to a gas chamber and were there killed by the doctors with carbon monoxide gas (CO). Q: Where was that carbon monoxide obtained, by what process? A: It was in a compressed gas container, like a steel oxygen container, such as is used for welding - a hollow steel container. Q: And these people were placed in this chamber in groups, I suppose, and then the monoxide was turned into the chambers? A: Perhaps I had better describe this in some detail. Bouhler's basic requirement was that the killing should not only be painless, but also imperceptible. For this reason, the photographing of the patients, which was only done for scientific reasons, took place before they entered the chamber, and the patients were completely diverted thereby. Then they were led into the gas chamber which they were told was a shower room. They were then in groups of perhaps 20 or 30. They were gassed by the doctor in charge. Q: Have you ever been present when a mercy death was accorded to these people by that process? A: Yes. I had to be present because Bouhler wanted a report of whether things were being done according to his orders, and in a dignified and not a brutal fashion. Q: And you found from your inspection and witnessing these ceremonies that they were being done in accordance with Bouhler's orders, in a dignified and painless sort of way? A: Yes. But let me say I was already convinced that the method was painless. And I also saw that by this method the patient did not realize that he was about to be killed. There were benches and chairs in the chamber. A few minutes after the gas was let in, the patient became sleepy and tired and died after a few minutes. They simply went to sleep without even knowing that they were going to sleep, and that was one of the most essential requirements. Q: When was the first time that you witnessed one of these procedures? A: The first time was on the occasion of an experiment with four such patients. I think it must have been December 1939 or January 1940. I know there was snow on the ground at the time. That is why I remember these months. Bouhler, Conti, and I don't know who else was there, there were a few other doctors witnessing it for the first time. On the basis of this experiment Hitler decided that only carbon monoxide was to be used for killing the patients. Q: Well now, before or after that time had you tried any other gases or any other means of administering euthanasia to these people? A: No, we - and by this I mean Bouhler's organization - never used any other gas or any other means. Q: You found the carbon monoxide quite satisfactory, so you never had to resort to any other means? A: Yes. You can put it that way. Q: Now, where was it that these four people were accorded the privilege of a mercy deat in December, 1939, or 1940? A: That was in the first euthanasia station in Brandenburg. Q: And who were the subjects that were used for that experiment? A: They were four mentally incurable persons. Q: Do you know what institution they came from? A: No. That I don't know. Q: Where they men or women? A: Men. Q: All men. What were their ages, were they young men, middle-aged men, or elderly men; how would you classify them? A: I really don't remember that. Q: What can you say in regard to their nationality; do you know anything about that? A: They must have been Germans, they could not have been anything but Germans, because according to regulations only German mentally defective persons were used for euthanasia. Q: And you say Hitler was there? A: No. Hitler was not there, Bouhler was there. Q: Bouhler? A: Bouhler was there, Conti was there, and I believe Brandt. Q: Karl Brandt? A: Yes, Karl Brandt. Q: Do you remember any of the other defendants who were there? A: None of the defendants here was present except myself. Q: Well, then you remember that you, Bouhler, Conti, and Karl Brandt were there; now do you remember any of the other gentlemen there at the time? A: Yes. I said there were some more doctors there, but none of the defendants here. Q: Dr. Pfannmueller, perhaps? A: No. Dr. Pfannmueller was certainly not there. They must have been Berlin doctors. Q: When after December of 1939 or January of 1940 was it that you again witnessed a euthanasia procedure? A: I should say that during 1940 in all the euthanasia institutions existing at that time I personally assured myself once or twice that the euthanasia was being correctly carried out. But I think I recollect that the Hadamar Institute was only set up in 1941 and in that year I did not witness euthanasia being carried out, so that this would elminate the Hadamar Institute. Q: The Institute at Hadamar, I think you said there were five other stations? A: Yes. There were six altogether. Q: So that during the year 1940, you assured yourself that each of the five stations on perhaps one, two or perhaps more visits that the procedure insisted upon by Bouhler was being carried out in a humane manner, in a painless manner by carbon monoxide? A: Completely imperceptible. Q: And now who were the people - let me put it this way - the first time at Brandenburg there were four people, all men? A: Yes. Q: Now, can you remember on your subsequent visits in 1940 to the other euthanasia stations who the people were, men or women? A: Both, sometimes men and sometimes women. Q: And what can you say in regard to their nationality? A: I can only say that they were only Germans, because I am perfectly convinced that Bouhler's regulations, which rested on an order from Hitler, namely that no foreigners were to be given euthanasia, were observed strictly by all the euthanasia institutions. Q: Where were these stations located, Witness? A: I don't understand what you mean, where they were? A: In what part of Germany or in what part of Poland, or in what part of Czechoslovakia, in what part of the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, in what part of Denmark, in what part of Holland, in what part of France, and in what part of Europe were these stations located? A: Now I understand you correctly. The first one was in Brandenburg on the Havel in the neighborhood of Berlin about 70 or 80 kilometers away. The next was the Grafeneck Institute, that was in Pirna near Dresden. There was the Hartheim Institute which was near Linz on the Danube in Austria. Then there was the Bernburg Institute on the Saale River near Dessau. The Hadamar Institute is in Hesse. Q: Were any of these stations located in that part of Poland which was occupied by the Germans in military occupation? A: No. Q: And the six stations you have just named were all the stations known to you that existed; there were just six? A: Those were the only ones, yes. Q: Witness, can you approximate the population of Germany as it existed in the year of 1939 or the year of 1940? Were there some fifty or sixty million people? A: No, roughly eighty to eighty-five million. Q: Now by that, when you say eighty to eighty-five million, you include the entire German Reich, including Austria, the Sudetenland, and the occupied territory? A: Austria nad the Sudetenland, but not the occupied territory. Q: And you estimate roughly there were eighty-five million people? A: Yes. Q: Of that eighty-five million, how many Jews would you say were living in Germany at the time who were German nationals? A: Maybe two or three million. Q: You are talking now about the Greater German Reich, including Austria and the Sudetenland? A: Yes. Q: You estimate there were between two or three million who were German nationals? A: Roughly, yes. Q: Now with two or three million German Jews amalgamated into the German population of eighty-five million people who were German nationals, explain, if you will, to the Tribunal why it was that the German Jews were excluded from the Euthanasia Program, if as you say it was a salutary program according to people the privilege of a mercy death for taking them out of their misery; why was it that the German Jews were not included in that program? A: I have already stated that. As Bouhler explained it, the blessing of euthanasia should be granted only to Germans. Q: I understand that, but I thought you said at that time there were between two and three million Germans in Germany, German citizens who were Jews? A: Yes. That is so. Q: Why were they not included in the program, if the privilege of the program was going to be accorded to all Germans? A: The reason possibly lies in the fact that the government did not want to grant this philanthropic act to the Jews. Q: They wanted to grant this philanthropic act to all Aryan Germans, but did not want to grant it to German Jews, and they did not want to grant this philanthropic act to German soldiers of the first war, who had received mental injuries growing out of their war wounds. Is that correct? A: As I have already said, that was a great inconsistency in this procedure and we often protested. However, it was determined by considerations of a military and psychological nature. Q: Thank you. .......... Q: Witness, I think you said yesterday afternoon that these six euthanasia stations were located at Bernburg, Brandenburg, Hadamar, Hartheim, Grafeneck, and Sonnenstein, is that correct? A: Yes. That is correct. Q: When were the gas chambers at these euthanasia stations built? A: When the institutions were set up as euthanasia institutions. Q: Can you remember the approximate dates? A: No. I cannot remember the dates. I just know the years when the institutions became euthanasia institutions - approximately. I know that Grafeneck and Brandenburg were the first institutions to become euthanasia institutions. It began at the end of 1939 at the earliest, the beginning of 1940 at the latest. Sonnenstein and Hartheim were set up in the early summer 1940. In the early summer or spring. The institution at Bernburg was established in the fall or winter of 1940, Hadamar, in the winter or spring of 1941. This is as accurate as I can give it. Q: You said the winter or spring of 1941. Do you mean the winter of 1940 or the spring of 1941? You said the winter or spring of 1941. A: If I say winter '41, I mean January '41, but it might have been March too, I don't know. Q: And you think that Hadamar was the last one that was set up? A: I am quite certain that Hadamar was the last one. Q: Now, of what materials were these gas chambers built? Were they movable gas chambers, very much like the low-pressure chambers that Professor Dr. Ruff talked about, or were they something that was built permanently into the camp or installation? A: No special gas chamber was built. A room suitable in the hospital was used, a room of necessity attached to the reception ward and to the room where the insane persons were kept. This room was made into a gas chamber. It was sealed, given special doors and windows, and then a few meters of gas piping were laid, or some kind of piping with holes in it. Outside this room there was a container, a compressed gas container with the necessary apparatus, that is a pressure gauge, etc. Q: Now what department had the responsibility for constructing or building these gas chambers, what department of the Party or of the government? A: No office of the Party. I don't understand the question. Q: Somebody had to build these chambers. Who gave the orders and who had the responsibility of building them, was that your department? A: I assume the orders were given by the head of the institution, but I don't know who actually did give the orders. Q: In other words, were these chambers not built according to some specifications, plans and specifications? A: I can't imagine that, every chamber was different. I saw several of them. Q: Do you know what department gave the order for having the chambers built? Was that your department under Bouhler? A: No. It was Bouhler himself. Q: And he gave the order to the various heads of institutions to install this chamber, is that correct? A: Yes. Q: Now, how would the heads of each of these institutions know how to install a gas chamber unless there were certain plans and specifications given to them? A: I never saw any such plan. I don't know of any. Q: Would you know how to go out and build a gas chamber unless some engineer or planner had told you? Certainly I wouldn't. A: I don't know whether I would either. Presumably he called in an engineer. Q: That's what I'm trying to say. What engineer or group of engineers was responsible for seeing that these gas chambers were built so that they would do the job they were supposed to do? A: There was certainly no group of engineers. I presume there was somebody at the institutions who had enough technical ability to do it. I don't know. Q: then, so far as you know, someone at one of these institutions would be told by Bouhler to construct a gas chamber and he would call - the head of the institution then would call on someone, you don't know whom, to go out and build the chamber? Is that correct? A: That is how I imagine it. Q: Well, wouldn't it make a considerable difference whether the chamber was to be constructed for euthanasia by carbon monoxide or by some other means? Wouldn't there have to be some technical information available to the head of the institution so that he could give directions to his mechanic to build the thing to do the thing it was supposed to do? A: I must say honestly I really don't know anything about that. I can't judge. Q: Do you know whether or not any department of the government under Bouhler, or under Brandt, or under anybody else, was responsible for seeing that the gas apparatus was installed properly? A: I don't know, but I don't believe so because I would probably have heard of it. Q: How large were these gas chambers? A: They were of different sizes. It was simply an adjoining room. I can't remember whether they were 4 x 5 meters, or 5 x 6 meters. Simply normal sized rooms, but I can't tell you the exact size. It was too long ago. I can't remember. Q: Were they as large as this courtroom? A: No. They were just normal rooms. Q: Well, a man of your intelligence must have some idea about the size of these rooms. The assertion "normal size" doesn't mean anything in particular. A: By that I mean the size of the normal room in a normal house. I didn't mean an assembly room or a cell either. I meant a room, but I can't tell you the exact size because I really don't know it. It might have been 4 x 5 meters, or 5 x 6 meters, or 3 1/2 x 4 1/2, but I really don't know. I didn't pay much attention to it. Q: Have you ever visited a concentration camp or a military camp of any kind? A: I visited a concentration camp, and I was once in a military camp as a soldier. Q: Have you ever seen a shower room or shower bath built into a camp of that kind where the inmates of concentration camps, or where soldiers in a military barracks, can take showers? A: Yes, I have. In my own barracks. Q: And would you say that this euthanasia room at the various institutions was about that dimension? A: I think it was much smaller. Q: Well, perhaps we can get at it this way. I thought perhaps you knew something about the mechanical construction that I supposed everybody knew something about. This room of yours that you talk about, how many people would it accommodate? A: Yesterday I said that according to my estimate it might have been twenty-five or thirty people. Q: And that is still your estimate today? I remember yesterday that you said that, and that is still your estimate today, it could comportably take care of twenty-five or thirty people. A: Yes. That's my estimate. Q: Now, the carbon monoxide gas that was used for the purpose of euthanasia, where did it come from? I know you said yesterday that it came out of tubes very much like oxygen came in, but where did the tubes come from? Do you know? A: I don't know. They were the normal steel containers which can be seen everywhere. Q: Do you know how they reached the camp? A: That I don't know. Q: Do you know whether any department of the government was responsible for furnishing the gs to the camp? A: No. They were probably bought. Q: You think then that perhaps the superintendent of the institution, if he wanted some carbon monoxide gas, would just walk downtwon and walk into a store and buy a steel tube of it and put it under his arm and carry it on back to the camp; pay for it out of his pocket? A: No, not out of his own pocket but through the institution. the institutions bought them, I mean. Q: Do you know from what sources the institution bought it? A: Yes. All the funds came from the Reich Ministry of the Interior. they were advanced by the Party treasurer. Q: Well, now, at that time, wasn't virtually everything in Germany of a critical nature on some sort of priority? Do you understand what I mean? A: No. Q: Would not the diversion of this carbon monoxide in tubes to the various institutions have to be given a priority rating and approved by someone or by some department in the government and thus be made available to the hospitals? Don't you understand what I mean? A: Yes, I understand. I have no idea, but I don't believe so. Why? Q: What was done with the bodies of these people after mercy deaths were given? A: When the room has been cleared of gas again, stretchers were brought in and the bodies were carried into an adjoining room. There the doctor examined them to determine whether they were dead. Q: Then what happened to the bodies? A: When the doctor had determined death, he freed the bodies for cremation and then they were cremated. Q: After he had freed the bodies, had determined that they were dead, they were then cremated? Is that correct? A: Yes. Q: There was a crematory built for every one of these institutions? A: Yes. Crematoriums were built in the institutions. Q: Do you know whether or not - what department or agency, either under the government, that is, the Reich governnment, or under the superindentent of the various institutions, was responsible for this detail of cremation? A: I don't understand. Bouhler ordered the creatmion. Bouhler ordered, on principle, that the bodies were to be cremated after death. There was no office for that. Q: Was there any report made to anyone of the fact that certain people, who had been selected for euthanasia had finally arrived at these institutions, had actually been accorded the privilege of mercy deaths and then had been cremated? A: No. I know nothing about that. Q: No records wer kept at all? A: Oh, I thought you said reports. Now you mean records? Q: I don't care what you call it. Ther must have been a report or record of some kind kept on these people. Was there? A: Yes, of course. Not only the case histories, but the personal data of the individual patients were collected at the euthanasia institution and there the death records were added and whatever else was available. In my direct examination I pointed out that there were announcements to the agencies concerned, for example, the guardianship court. All these files were sent to Tiergartenstrasse 4. Q: They were finally sent to Tiergartenstrasse 4? A: Yes. Q: Isn't it true that only in that way could an accurate record or report of this program be made? A: I didn't understand. Whether this fact created accurate records about the people, or whether records were kept? Q: Records were kept, were they not, of this entire transaction of each individual from the time he was expertized? A: Yes. Q: Until finally he was cremated? A: Yes. Q: And those records were filed with T-4? A: Yes. They were kept there. Q: Now, I believe you said that these euthanasia chambers were built to resemble shower rooms? A: Yes. That's how I remember it. Q: And the only people that were accorded euthanasia were people who were incurably insane, I think you said? A: Yes. Q: These were people who, as you put it, on ethical grounds did not have the mental capacity either to concent or to resist the decision to grant them enthanasia, and that consequently as you viewed it, it was a humane procedure to accord them a mercy death; is that correct, did I understand you correctly? A: Yes. Q: Now, where these people, the ones whom you saw, so insane as not to understand where they were or what was going on around them? A: I can only say that of course I am not a doctor and therefore not in a position to judge the condition of such patients, but when I was at such institutions I myself saw that the patients, in as far as they were able to walk, went into these chambers or rooms where they were told to go without any objection and sat down on the benches or lay down and were quite quiet. I don't know to what extent they realized where they were. I do know, however, that they were not in any way worried, but perfectly calm. Bouhler had ordered that the doctors were to arrange things so that the patients would not realize what was being done to them. Q: And that was the reason that the gas chambers were constructed to resemble shower rooms, I suppose? A: Yes. Q: And these people thought that they were going in to take a shower bath? A: If any of them had any power of reasoning, they no doubt thought that. Q: Well now, were they taken into the shower rooms with their clothes on, or were they nude? A: No. They were nude. Q: In every case? A: Whenever I saw them, yes. Q: And you said, I believe, yesterday that you witnessed perhaps some 10 to 12, or 15, or 20 occasions when groups were accorded mercy deaths? A: No. I said that I visited each of the institutions, with the exception of Hadamar, at least once, perhaps twice. Q: And on each occasion did you witness the according of a mercy death to a group? Q: And I believe you said yesterday that some of these groups were adults, that some groups were men, other groups were women, and that on some occasions the groups were made up of both men and women, is that correct? A: No. Apparently I did not express myself clearly. They were either men or women, but I saw both. Q: And you think perhaps you saw as many as 20 to 30 comfortably accommodated in the chamber? A: Yes, quite comfortably. There was plenty of room. ..........
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