The Nizkor Project

Twenty-Fourth Day: Thursday, 20th December, 1945
(Part 3 of 8)

[MAJOR FARR continues]

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. I 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 Reserve.

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 letter:
"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.

I 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 staff.)

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 millimetres, 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 red.

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. I 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 institute.

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 resources.

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. I 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 set-up.

[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 I would like to bring up upon the direction of the Reichsfuehrer S.S."
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, I finally take the following position:

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 endeavour.

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 experiments?"

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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