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Monday, June 2, 2014


On this date, 2 June 1948, 7 of the 23 defendants at the Doctors’ Trials who were sentenced to death were executed by hanging at Landsberg Prison. I will post the information about Hitler’s Personal Physician, Dr. Karl Brandt from Wikipedia.

Portrait of Karl Brandt as a defendant in the Medical Case Trial at Nuremberg. [Photograph #06231]

January 8, 1904
Mulhouse, Alsace-Lorraine
June 2, 1948 (aged 44)
Landsberg Prison, Landsberg am Lech
Cause of death
Execution by hanging
Personal physician of German dictator Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler
Known for
Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation
Political party
National Socialist German Workers' Party
Anni Brandt, née Rehborn
Karl Adolf Brandt

Karl Brandt (January 8, 1904 – June 2, 1948) was a German Nazi war criminal. He rose to the rank of SS-Gruppenführer in the Allgemeine-SS and SS-Brigadeführer in the Waffen-SS. Among other positions, Brandt headed the administration of the Nazi euthanasia program from 1939 onwards and was selected as Adolf Hitler's personal physician in August 1934. In 1942, he became Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation. He was involved in criminal human experimentation, along with his deputy Werner Heyde and others. After World War II, Brandt was convicted of crimes against humanity. He was hanged on June 2, 1948.

Early life

Brandt was born in Mulhouse in the then German Alsace-Lorraine territory (now in Haut-Rhin, France) into the family of a Prussian Army officer. He became a medical doctor and surgeon in 1928, specializing in head and spinal injuries. He joined the Nazi Party in January 1932, and became a member of the SA in 1933. He became a member of the SS in July 1934 and was appointed Untersturmführer. From the Summer of 1934 forward, he was Hitler's "Escort Physician". Karl Brandt married Anni Rehborn (born 1907), a champion swimmer, on March 17, 1934. They had one son, Karl Adolf Brandt (born October 4, 1935).

Career in the Third Reich

In the context of the 1933 Nazi law Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses (Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring), he was one of the medical scientists who performed abortions in great numbers on women deemed genetically disordered, mentally or physically handicapped or racially deficient, or whose unborn fetuses were expected to develop such genetic "defects". These abortions had been legalized, as long as no healthy Aryan fetuses were aborted.

On September 1, 1939, Brandt was appointed by Hitler co-head of the T-4 Euthanasia Program, with Philipp Bouhler. He received regular promotions in the SS; by April 1944, Brandt was a SS-Gruppenführer in the Allgemeine-SS and a SS-Brigadeführer in the Waffen-SS. On April 16, 1945, he was arrested by the Gestapo for moving his family out of Berlin so they could surrender to American forces. He was condemned to death by a court in Berlin. Brandt was released from arrest by order of Karl Dönitz on May 2, 1945. He was placed under arrest by the British on May 23, 1945.

Brandt's medical ethics

Brandt's medical ethics, particularly regarding euthanasia, were influenced by Alfred Hoche whose courses he attended. Like many other German doctors of the period, Brandt came to believe that the health of society as a whole should take precedence over that of its individual members. Because society was viewed as an organism that had to be cured, its weakest, most invalid and incurable members were only parts that should be removed. Such hapless creatures should therefore be granted a "merciful death" (Gnadentod). In addition to these considerations, Brandt's explanation at his trial for his criminal actions - particularly ordering experimentation on human beings - was that "...Any personal code of ethics must give way to the total character of the war".

Hitler's order for the „Aktion T4“, which led to 70.000 people being killed.

Life in the inner circle

Karl Brandt and his wife Anni were members of Hitler's inner circle at Berchtesgaden where Hitler maintained his private residence known as the Berghof. This very exclusive group functioned as Hitler's de facto family circle. It included Eva Braun, Albert Speer, his wife Margarete Speer, Dr. Theodor Morell, Martin Bormann, Hitler's photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, and Hitler's adjutants (and their wives) and secretaries. As members of this inner circle, the Brandts had a residence near the Berghof and spent extensive time there whenever Hitler was present. In his memoirs, Speer described the familial but numbing lifestyle of Hitler's intimate companions who were forced to stay up most of the night—night after night—listening to the Nazi leader's repetitive monologues or to an unvarying selection of music. Despite Brandt's personal closeness to Hitler, the dictator was furious when he learned shortly before the end of the war that the doctor had sent Anni and their son toward the American lines in hopes of evading capture by the Russians. Only the intervention of Heinrich Himmler and Albert Speer saved Brandt from execution in the war's closing days. However, involvement in involuntary euthanasia and Nazi human experimentation led to his conviction and execution by the Allies on June 2, 1948.

Death by hanging is pronounced by a U.S. War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg upon Adolf Hitler's personal physcian, 43-year old Karl Brandt. Brandt, who was also Reich Commissar for Health and Sanitation, was indicted by the U.S. prosecution with 22 other Nazi doctors and SS officers on war crimes charges in the first case of alleged criminals tried after the judgment in the International Military Tribunal. The Tribunal found him guilty on all four counts charging him with conspiracy in aggressive wars, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and membership in the criminal SS organization. Among those criminal acts was his participating in and consenting to using concentration camp inmates as guinea pigs in horrible medical experiments, supposedly for the benefit of the armed forces.
Brandt, who was executioner of thousands of political, racial, and religious persecutees, was hanged on June 2, 1948 at Landsberg prison after the U.S. Military Commander Gen. Lucius D. Clay and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the sentence of the Nuremberg Tribunal. In a long-winded speech that was finally muffled when the black hood was thrown over his head, Brandt shouted arrogantly, "It is no shame to stand on this scaffold; I have served my country as have others before me."
Hitler was also once imprisoned here in 1923, following his unsuccessful Munich putsch. He wrote "Mein Kampf" during his confinement. [Original Descriptive Caption]. Date: 20 August 1947 Provenance: From Public Relations Photo Section, Office Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, Nuremberg, Germany, APO 696-A, US Army. Photo No. OMT-I-D-144. Citation: Telford Taylor Papers, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Columbia University Law School, New York, N.Y. : TTP-CLS: 15-1-1-76.
Trial and execution

Brandt was tried along with twenty-two others at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany. The trial was officially titled United States of America v. Karl Brandt et al., but is more commonly referred to as the "Doctors' Trial"; it began on December 9, 1946. He was charged with four counts: 1) conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity as described in counts 2 and 3; 2) War crimes: performing medical experiments, without the subjects' consent, on prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, in the course of which experiments the defendants committed murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhuman acts. Also planning and performing the mass murder of prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, stigmatized as aged, insane, incurably ill, deformed, and so on, by gas, lethal injections, and diverse other means in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums during the Euthanasia Program and participating in the mass murder of concentration camp inmates; 3) Crimes against humanity: committing crimes described under count 2 also on German nationals; 4) Membership in a criminal organization, the SS. The charges against him included special responsibility for, and participation in, Freezing, Malaria, LOST Gas, Sulfanilamide, Bone, Muscle and Nerve Regeneration and Bone Transplantation, Sea-Water, Epidemic Jaundice, Sterilization, and Typhus Experiments.

After a defense led by Robert Servatius, on August 19, 1947, Brandt was found guilty on counts 2-4 of the indictment. With six others, he was sentenced to death by hanging, and all were executed at Landsberg Prison on June 2, 1948. Nine other defendants received prison terms of between fifteen years and life, while a further seven were found not guilty.


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