Karl Brandt (8 January 1904 – 2 June 1948) was a German physician and Schutzstaffel (SS) officer in Nazi Germany. Trained in surgery, Brandt joined the Nazi Party in 1932 and became Adolf Hitler's escort doctor in August 1934. A member of Hitler's inner circle at the Berghof, he was selected by Philipp Bouhler, the head of Hitler's Chancellery, to administer the Aktion T4 euthanasia program. Brandt was later appointed the Reich Commissioner of Sanitation and Health (Bevollmächtigter für das Sanitäts- und Gesundheitswesen). Accused of involvement in human experimentation and other war crimes, Brandt was indicted in late 1946 and faced trial before a U.S. military tribunal along with 22 others in United States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al. He was convicted, sentenced to death, and later hanged on 2 June 1948.
Brandt as a defendant at the Doctors' trial
|Born||8 January 1904|
|Died||2 June 1948 (aged 44)|
|Cause of death||Execution by hanging|
|Occupation||Personal physician of German dictator Adolf Hitler|
|Known for||Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation|
|Title||SS-Gruppenführer in the Allgemeine SS /|
SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS
|Political party||National Socialist German Workers' Party|
Anni Rehborn (m. 1934)
|Children||Karl Adolf Brandt (born 4 October 1935)|
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 first met Hitler in the summer of 1932. He became a member of the SA in 1933 and a member of the SS on 29 July 1934; appointed the officer rank of Untersturmführer. From the summer of 1934 forward, he was Hitler's "escort physician". Karl Brandt married Anni Rehborn (born 1907), a champion swimmer, on 17 March 1934. They had one son, Karl Adolf Brandt (born 4 October 1935).
In the context of the 1933 Nazi law Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses (Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring), Brandt 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 1 September 1939, Brandt was appointed by Hitler co-head of the Aktion T4 euthanasia program, with Philipp Bouhler. Additional power was afforded Brandt when on 28 July 1942, he was appointed Commissioner of Sanitation and Health (Bevollmächtigter für das Sanitäts- und Gesundheitswesen) by Hitler and was thereafter only bound by the Führer's instructions. 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 16 April 1945, he was arrested by the Gestapo for moving his family out of Berlin so they could surrender to American forces. Brandt was condemned to death by a military court and then sent to Kiel. He was released from arrest by order of Karl Dönitz on 2 May. He was placed under arrest by the British on 23 May.
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". Historian Horst Freyhofer asserts that, in the absence of at least Brandt's "tacit" approval, it is highly unlikely that the grotesque and cruel medical experiments for which the Nazi doctors are infamous, could have been performed. Brandt and Hitler discussed multiple killing techniques during the initial planning of the euthanasia program, during which Hitler asked Brandt, "which is the most humane way?" Brandt suggested the use of carbon monoxide gas, to which Hitler gave his approval. Hitler instructed Brandt to get in touch with other physicians and begin to coordinate the mass killings.
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, Theodor Morell, Martin Bormann, Hitler's photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler's adjutants and his secretaries. Brandt and Hitler's chief architect Albert Speer were good friends as the two shared technocratic dispositions about their work. Brandt looked at killing "useless eaters" and the handicapped as a means to an end, namely since it was in the interest of public health. Similarly, Speer viewed the use of concentration camp labor for his defense and building projects in much the same way. As members of this inner circle, the Brandts had a residence near the Berghof and spent considerable time there when Hitler was present. In his memoirs, Speer described the numbing lifestyle of Hitler's inner circle, forced to stay up most of the night listening to the insomniac Nazi leader's repetitive monologues or to an unvarying selection of music. Despite Brandt's 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, Speer, and the direct order of Admiral Doenitz after Brandt had been captured by the Gestapo and sent to Kiel in the war's closing days, saved him from 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 9 December 1946. He was charged with four counts:
After a defence led by Robert Servatius, on 19 August 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 2 June 1948. Nine other defendants received prison terms of between fifteen years and life, while a further seven were found not guilty.
While on the gallows, Brandt remarked: "It is no shame to stand upon the scaffold. This is nothing but political revenge. I have served my Fatherland as others before me ..." His speech was cut short when a black hood was placed over his head.
Events in the year 1948 in Germany.Aktion T4
Aktion T4 (German, pronounced [akˈtsi̯oːn teː fiːɐ]) was a postwar name for mass murder through involuntary euthanasia in Nazi Germany. The name T4 is an abbreviation of Tiergartenstraße 4, a street address of the Chancellery department set up in the spring of 1940, in the Berlin borough of Tiergarten, which recruited and paid personnel associated with T4. Certain German physicians were authorised to select patients "deemed incurably sick, after most critical medical examination" and then administer to them a "mercy death" (Gnadentod). In October 1939, Adolf Hitler signed a "euthanasia note", backdated to 1 September 1939, which authorised his physician Karl Brandt and Reichsleiter Philipp Bouhler to implement the programme.
The killings took place from September 1939 until the end of the war in 1945; from 275,000 to 300,000 people were killed in psychiatric hospitals in Germany and Austria, occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (now the Czech Republic). The number of victims was originally recorded as 70,273 but this number has been increased by the discovery of victims listed in the archives of the former East Germany. About half of those killed were taken from church-run asylums, often with the approval of the Protestant or Catholic authorities of the institutions. The Holy See announced on 2 December 1940 that the policy was contrary to the natural and positive Divine law and that "the direct killing of an innocent person because of mental or physical defects is not allowed" but the declaration was not upheld by some Catholic authorities in Germany. In the summer of 1941, protests were led in Germany by the Bishop of Münster, Clemens von Galen, whose intervention led to "the strongest, most explicit and most widespread protest movement against any policy since the beginning of the Third Reich", according to Richard J. Evans.Several reasons have been suggested for the killings, including eugenics, compassion, reducing suffering, racial hygiene and saving money. Physicians in German and Austrian asylums continued many of the practices of Aktion T4 until the defeat of Germany in 1945, in spite of its official cessation in August 1941. The informal continuation of the policy led to 93,521 "beds emptied" by the end of 1941. Technology developed under Aktion T4 was taken over by the medical division of the Reich Interior Ministry, particularly the use of lethal gas to kill large numbers of people, along with the personnel of Aktion T4, who participated in Operation Reinhard. The programme was authorised by Hitler but the killings have since come to be viewed as murders in Germany. The number of people killed was about 200,000 in Germany and Austria, with about 100,000 victims in other European countries.Anni Rehborn
Anni Rehborn (20 November 1907 – 30 November 1987) was a German swimmer who won a bronze medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay at the 1927 European Aquatics Championships. She entered the 1928 Summer Olympics, but did not compete for unknown reasons. During her career she won eight national titles in the 100 m backstroke (1923–1925, 1927–1929) and 100 m freestyle events (1923–1924).Brandt (name)
Brandt is a German surname and given name.Brandt Cove
Brandt Cove (54°49′S 36°2′W) is a cove on the south side of Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia, 1 nautical mile (2 km) north of the head of Larsen Harbour. It was surveyed by the South Georgia Survey in the period 1951–57, and named by the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee for Karl Brandt, American economist and professor of agricultural economics at Stanford University, California; author of Whale Oil: An Economic Analysis.Carl Apstein
Carl Heinrich Apstein (19 September 1862, Stettin – 14 November 1950, Berlin) was a German zoologist.
In 1889 he earned his doctorate from the University of Kiel with a dissertation on the spinnerets of the orb-weaver spider. Afterwards, he worked as an assistant to Karl Brandt (1854–1931) at the zoological institute in Kiel. As a young man he carried out studies of freshwater plankton in Holstein lakes (1890-95). In May 1898 he obtained his habilitation at Kiel for zoology and comparative anatomy, and a few months later took part as a zoologist in the Deutschen Tiefsee-Expedition (German Deep Sea Expedition) aboard the steamship "Valdivia".
In 1906 he was appointed associate professor in Kiel, and in 1911 became a scientific officer at the Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin. In this position he worked as a publisher of scientific journals in the field of zoology, which included editorship of Das Tierreich ("The Animal Kingdom"; from 1927). He was a member of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, and from 1918 to 1945 was secretary of the Deutschen Zoologischen Gesellschaft (German Zoological Society).
In addition to his research involving the 1898–99 Deutschen Tiefsee-Expedition, he was tasked with processing material taken from the Plankton-Expedition (1889) and the Deutschen Südpolar-Expedition (1901–03). In his investigations, Apstein distinguished himself in research of Thaliacea.Doctors' trial
The Doctors' trial (officially United States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al.) was the first of 12 trials for war crimes of German doctors that the United States authorities held in their occupation zone in Nuremberg, Germany, after the end of World War II. These trials were held before US military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg trials", formally the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).Twenty of the twenty-three defendants were medical doctors (Viktor Brack, Rudolf Brandt, and Wolfram Sievers were Nazi officials), and were accused of having been involved in Nazi human experimentation and mass murder under the guise of euthanasia. Josef Mengele, one of the leading Nazi doctors, had evaded capture.
The judges, heard before Military Tribunal I, were Walter B. Beals (presiding judge) from Washington, Harold L. Sebring from Florida, and Johnson T. Crawford from Oklahoma, with Victor C. Swearingen, a former special assistant to the Attorney General of the United States, as an alternate judge. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor and the chief prosecutor was James M. McHaney. The indictment was filed on 25 October 1946; the trial lasted from 9 December that year until 20 August 1947. Of the 23 defendants, seven were acquitted and seven received death sentences; the remainder received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.Eidgenössische Sammlung
Eidgenössische Sammlung (German; literally "Confederate Collection") was a Swiss political party, founded in 1940 by Robert Tobler as a successor to the recently dissolved National Front.The party demanded an adjustment in Swiss policy to favour the Axis powers. This was particularly important as, after June 1940 the country was surrounded by fascist and Nazi states. It was open in its loyalty towards Nazi Germany.The Eidgenössiche Sammlung was closely supervised by the state because of its origins and so could not develop freely. In 1943 the police finally cracked down on the group and it was outlawed along with all of its sub-organisations as part of a wider government initiative against the National Front and its offshoots.Euthanasia trials
The Euthanasia trials (German: Euthanasie-Prozesse) were legal proceedings against the main perpetrators and accomplices involved in the euthanasia killings of the Nazi era in Germany.
The first euthanasia trial was held by the United States in October 1945 to prosecute doctors and nurses at the Hadamar Euthanasia Centre for killing Polish and Russian workers sick with tuberculosis in summer 1944. Euthanasia was a tangential issue at the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial, held by the United States from December 1946 to August 1947, as only four of its twenty-three defendants were charged with participation in the euthanasia programme: Karl Brandt, Viktor Brack, Waldemar Hoven, and Kurt Blome. Brandt, Brack, and Hoven were convicted, sentenced to death, and executed; Blome was acquitted.
There was a euthanasia trial held in the Soviet occupation zone in Dresden in June 1947 to prosecute those who had worked at the Sonnenstein Euthanasia Centre in Pirna. There were 15 defendants, including Paul Nitsche, the director of the T4 Medical Office (German: Medizinische Abteilung). Four of the defendants, including Nitsche, were sentenced to death and executed.Gerhard Kretschmar
Gerhard Herbert Kretschmar (20 February 1939 – 25 July 1939), was a German child born with severe disabilities. After receiving a petition from the child's parents, the German Führer Adolf Hitler authorized one of his personal physicians, Karl Brandt, to have the child euthanized. This marked the beginning of the program in Nazi Germany known as a "euthanasia program" – Aktion T4 – which ultimately resulted in the deliberate killing of about 200,000 people with mental and/or physical disabilities.Karl Brandt (disambiguation)
Karl Brandt (1904–1948) was the co-director of the Action T4 euthanasia program in Nazi Germany and the personal physician of Adolf Hitler.
Karl Brandt may also refer to:
Karl Brandt (economist) (1899–1975), German-American agricultural economist
Karl Brandt (zoologist) (1854–1931), German zoologist and marine biologist
Karl-Wilhelm Brandt (1869–1923), also known as Vassily Brandt, Russian trumpeter, pedagogue, and composerKarl Brandt (economist)
Karl Brandt (January 9, 1899 – July 8, 1975) was a German-American agricultural economist.
Brandt was born in Essen. He fled from Germany to the U.S. in 1933, shortly after the Nazi regime came to power. He was successively a professor and researcher at the New School for Social Research, the American Institute for Food Distribution, and Stanford University (where he was affiliated with the Hoover Institution).
Brandt was one of the founding members of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947.Karl Brandt (zoologist)
Andreas Heinrich Karl Brandt (23 May 1854, Schönebeck near Magdeburg – 7 January 1931, Kiel) was a German zoologist and marine biologist.
He studied natural sciences in Berlin, receiving his doctorate in 1877 at the University of Halle. Following graduation he served as an assistant to Emil Du Bois-Reymond (1818–1896) at the physiological institute of the University of Berlin. From 1882 to 1885 he worked at the zoological station in Naples, and in 1885 obtained his habilitation from the University of Königsberg under the direction of Carl Chun (1852–1914).
From 1888 he was a professor of zoology at the University of Kiel, where he also served as director of the zoological institute and museum. Additionally, from 1887 to 1913 he taught classes at the German Imperial Naval Academy. In 1922 Brandt became professor emeritus, and in 1924 was appointed chairman of the Preußischen wissenschaftlichen Kommission zur Untersuchung der deutschen Meere (Prussian Scientific Commission for the Investigation of German seas).
He is known for his research on the role that dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus compounds play upon oceanic life. He also made contributions in his morphological and systematic studies of radiolarians and tintinnids. In 1889 he participated in the Plankton-Expedition under the direction of Victor Hensen (1835–1924). From the expedition Brandt introduced new ideas about adaptation and propagation in regards to deep-sea life.Nuremberg Code
The Nuremberg Code (German: Nürnberger Kodex) is a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation created as a result of the Nuremberg trials at the end of the Second World War.Paul Pleiger
Paul Pleiger (28 September 1899 in Buchholz, now part of Witten, Westphalia – 22 July 1985 in Hattingen) was a German state adviser and corporate general director.
The miner's son underwent training as an engineer and soon afterwards established himself as a small-scale entrepreneur and machine factory owner. He later created Paul Pleiger Handelsgesellschaft in 1952, specializing in the manufacturing of polyurethane cast elastomers for Bayer's Vulkollan.
Quite early on – the exact date has been lost – he joined the NSDAP. For the Party, Pleiger functioned as a Gau economic adviser in the Gau of Westphalia-South (Westfalen-Süd), before he was summoned to the Raw Materials Office in Berlin in 1934.
In 1937, Hermann Göring transferred to Pleiger the management of the Reichswerke AG für Erzbergbau und Eisenhütten "Hermann Göring", commonly known as the Reichswerke Hermann GörIng, an industrial establishment dealing in ore mining and iron, which was huge but unprofitable, but nevertheless deemed necessary to further Germany's growth and power. In 1941, Pleiger became Reich commissioner for Nazi Germany's coal supply, and in 1942 "Reich Commissioner for the Whole Economy of the East".
In the Ministries Trial at Nuremberg, Pleiger was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1949. He was released from prison in 1951. One of his lawyers was Robert Servatius, who had defended Fritz Sauckel in the Nuremberg trials of the main war criminals, Karl Brandt in the Doctors' trial and later also Adolf Eichmann.As General Director of the Hermann Göring Reich Works, Pleiger was one of the Third Reich's most influential economic functionaries and state entrepreneurs. As Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Economy, along with his position at the Göring Works, he was jointly responsible for the exploitation of people and material from Nazi-occupied lands.
After his retirement from the company he founded, operations continued under the direction of his son Dr. Paul Pleiger, Jr., who died in an automobile accident in 1983. His company would later see expansions to South Korea, Germany, and the United States.Paul Rostock
Paul Rostock (January 18, 1892 – June 17, 1956) was a German official, surgeon, and university professor. He was Chief of the Office for Medical Science and Research (Amtschef der Dienststelle Medizinische Wissenschaft und Forschung) under Third Reich Commissioner Karl Brandt and a Full Professor, Medical Doctorate, Medical Superintendent of the University of Berlin Surgical Clinic.
Rostock was born in Kranz, Meseritz district, German Empire. He studied medicine in Greifswald and completed his medical doctorate at Jena in 1921. He received his medical license and became an intern at the University of Jena Surgical Clinic. From 1927 to 1933, Rostock was assistant medical director at Bergmannsheil Hospital in Bochum and worked with Karl Brandt, who was at that time an intern there. In 1933, Rostock took on the position of medical superintendent in Berlin and in 1941 became associate professor and director of the University of Berlin Surgical Clinic in Ziegel Street, where Karl Brandt was then working as assistant medical director. Rostock became dean of the medical faculty at the University of Berlin in 1942.
Rostock's military medical career began in 1939 with a position as Consulting Surgeon to the Army. In 1943, General Commissioner Karl Brandt chose Rostock as his deputy and representative in the Medical Science Research Department. Rostock joined the National Socialist German Workers Party on May 1, 1937 (No. 5,917,621) and the National Socialist German Physicians Association on February 20, 1940 (Nr. 31,569).
Rostock was a defendant in the Doctors' Trial. Because of his very high position, Rostock was charged with complicity in several series of human experiments on concentration camp prisoners. He was found innocent and released in August 1947.He immediately began to work on documentation of the Doctors' Trial, with the goal of presenting the trial to the public from another perspective. Rostock never finished this project.
In 1948, Rostock began working as medical supervisor of Versehrten Hospital in Possenhofen. He then worked as the medical supervisor of Versorgungs Hospital in Bayreuth, from 1953 to his death at age 64 in Bad Tölz.Rudolf Brandt
Rudolf Hermann Brandt (2 June 1909 – 2 June 1948) was a German SS officer from 1933–45 and a civil servant. A lawyer by profession, Brandt was the Personal Administrative Officer to Reichsführer-SS (Persönlicher Referent vom Reichsführer SS) Heinrich Himmler and a defendant at the Doctors' Trial at Nuremberg for his part in securing the 86 victims of the Jewish skeleton collection, an attempt to create an anthropological display of plaster body casts and skeletal remains of Jews. He was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and executed in 1948.Schloss Hartheim
Schloss Hartheim, also known as Hartheim Castle, is a castle at Alkoven in Upper Austria, some 14 kilometres (9 mi) from Linz, Austria. It was built by Jakob von Aspen in 1600, and it is a prominent Renaissance castle in the country. The building became notorious as one of the Nazi Euthanasia killing centers, where the killing program Action T4 took place.
In 1898, Prince Camillo Heinrich Starhemberg (1835 – 1900) donated the castle as a gift to the Upper Austria Charity Organization. With the help of additional donations, they used the castle from the beginning of the 20th century as a psychiatric institution (German: Psychiatrische Anstalt, but originally called the Idioten-Anstalt).The Immortals (neo-Nazis)
The Immortals (German Die Unsterblichen) was a neo-Nazi organization based in Germany that uses flash mobs to coordinate, gather and demonstrate. The members wear black clothing with white facial masks and carry torches when they march.