Leonardo Conti

Leonardo Conti, MD (German pronunciation: [ˈleːonaɐ̯doː ˈkɔntiː]; 24 August 1900 in Lugano – 6 October 1945 in Nuremberg) was the Reich Health Leader (Reichsgesundheitsführer) in Nazi Germany. The killing of a large number of Germans who were of "unsound mind" is attributed to his leadership.[1]

Leonardo Conti
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1989-0309-501, Leonardo Conti
SS-Gruppenführer Dr Conti
Reich Health Leader
In office
1939 – August 1944
DeputyKurt Blome
Preceded byGerhard Wagner
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Personal details
Born24 August 1900
Lugano, Switzerland
Died6 October 1945 (aged 45)
Nuremberg, Germany
Cause of deathSuicide by hanging
Military service
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Branch/serviceFlag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Schutzstaffel

Early life

Conti was born to a Swiss Italian father, Silvio, and a German mother, Nanna Pauli; his mother later became the Reich Midwifery Leader in Nazi Germany. Conti later studied medicine in Berlin (Friedrich Humboldt Universität, F.H.U) and Erlangen (Friedrich Alexander Universität, F.A.U). He became active in the völkisch movement and the Viking League, and co-founded an antisemitic paper called Kampfbund ("Struggle league"). He took part in the Kapp Putsch in 1920. From 1923 he was a member of the Sturmabteilung (SA), becoming their first physician; one of his patients was Horst Wessel, who eventually became a martyr of the Nazi Party. In 1925, he promoted "Über Weichteilplastik im Gesicht", a book about facial plastic surgery. In 1927 he left his usual activities and started organizing the National Socialist German Doctors' League (Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Ärztebund; NSDÄB) in Berlin.

Nazi doctor

He joined the Schutzstaffel (SS) and, as an "old fighter" of the party, he was appointed by Hermann Göring to the Prussian State Council. Conti held the posts and titles of Head of the Reich Physicians' Chamber (Reichsärztekammer), Leader of the NSDÄB, and Leader of the Main Office for the People's Health. In 1937 he was elected to the presidency of the FIMS, the International Federation of Sports Medicine.[2] The FIMS today considers this to have been "a black page' in their history. In 1939, Conti was appointed Reichsgesundheitsführer and State Secretary in the Interior Ministry. On 1 July 1941, as the Chief of Health in the Reich, he obtained the classification of Pervitin (see History and culture of substituted amphetamines) among the products defined by Reich law on opiates. It condemns the private use of Pervitin, but does not call into question its use for military purposes.[3] In 1944, he was promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer (lieutenant general).

Action T4

Hadamar 012
Gas chamber for disabled patients in Hadamar Euthanasia Centre

Leonardo Conti was a staunch promoter of a public medical administration strongly controlled by the Nazi state. Under his leadership, local health offices were further expanded to allow for a genetic control and selection of the population in order to remove "weak" elements for the improvement of the German race, a doctrine known as eugenics. The various programmes were the basis for "racial hygiene" a lethal part of the Nazi philosophy.

Accordingly, he was co-responsible for the forced sterilization program, the racially motivated forced pregnancy interruptions, and ultimately the Action T4 program.[4] It is also undisputed that Conti participated in human experiments.[4]

The Nazi involuntary euthanasia program involved the planned murder of mentally and physically impaired patients and started in September 1939 when the policy was approved by Hitler in a personal decree. He approved the euthanasia of a young disabled boy, Gerhard Kretschmar, at the request of his father, but approval was quickly extended to other disabled children, and then disabled adults. The approval of three doctors was needed for killing of any individual to proceed. The killings were conducted in many hospitals and asylums such as Hadamar Euthanasia Centre by a variety of methods, including enforced starvation, injection of lethal drugs, and gassing using carbon monoxide. Patients were carefully deceived to believe that they were simply taking a shower so as to entice them into the gas chamber, then locked in and asphyxiated through carbon monoxide poisoning. Although public protests led by Bishop Galen and others forced the policy to be officially suspended in 1941, it continued unofficially until the end of the war.

The Katyn Massacre, 1940 HU106226
Conti being presented with a report on the Katyn massacre discovered by the Germans in 1943

The program constituted the basis for the later programme of mass murder known as the Holocaust of Jews, Poles, Gypsies as well as other Slavs, and Russian POWs in camps such as Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Chelmno, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Majdanek. Gassing with Zyklon B was used mainly at Auschwitz and Majdanek with over 1 million victims, and Carbon monoxide at Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmno, the main extermination camps. Such mass murder followed the earlier murders through gunfire by the Einsatzgruppen death squads. Many of the SS staff involved in the later murders developed their lethal methods during the Action T4 programme, overseen by Conti. Victims were deceived in the same way as in Action T4, using very elaborate means to convince them that no harm was intended to them.

Conti was also involved in the forensic investigation into the Katyn massacre, and received a detailed report, known as the Katyn Commission on the discovery from an international team of experts.


On 19 May 1945, after Germany's surrender, Conti was imprisoned and would have been brought to the Doctors' Trial for his involvement in Action T4. However, on 6 October 1945, over a year before the trial began, Conti hanged himself in his Nuremberg cell.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Snyder, Louis L. (1976). Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780709157175.
  2. ^ "Our History". International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS).
  3. ^ La Pilule de Göring. La fabuleuse histoire de la pervitine on YouTube (in French).
  4. ^ a b Leyh, Ernst-Alfred (2002) Leonardo Conti and the "ideologization of medicine during the Nazi dictatorship" (abstract). Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg (in German).
  5. ^ Wistrich, Robert S. (4 July 2013). Who's Who in Nazi Germany. Routledge. pp. 31–2. ISBN 978-1-136-41388-9.

External links


Conti is an Italian surname.

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.

Faith and Beauty Society

The BDM-Werk Glaube und Schönheit (German for BDM Faith and Beauty Society) was founded in 1938 to serve as a tie-in between the work of the League of German Girls (BDM) and that of the National Socialist Women's League. Membership was voluntary and open to girls aged 17 to 21.

Gerhard Wagner (physician)

Gerhard Wagner (18 August 1888 in Neu-Heiduk, Prussian Silesia, now in Poland – 25 March 1939 in Munich) was the first Reich Doctors' Leader (Reichsärzteführer) in the time of Nazi Germany.

Born a surgery professor's son, he studied medicine in Munich and served as a doctor at the front in World War I (1914–1918). Among other things, he was awarded the Iron Cross, first class.

From 1919, Wagner ran his own medical practice in Munich, while also being a member of two Freikorps between 1921 and 1923, von Epp and Oberland. Just because of his Silesian origins, Wagner stayed on as leader of the Upper Silesia German Community Associations (Deutschtumsverbände Oberschlesiens). In May 1929, he switched to the NSDAP.

Dr. Wagner was co-founder and as of 1932 leader of the National Socialist German Physicians' Federation (NSDÄB), and also functioned from 1933 as a member of the Palatinate Landtag. A year later, in 1934, Wagner was ordered to the position of Reich Doctors' Leader. Moreover, he was "The Führer's Commissioner for National Health". By 1933, he had already become leader of the Main Office for National Health, and in 1936 came his appointment as that office's Main Service Leader (Hauptdienstleiter).

In December 1935, Wagner became leader of the Reichsärztekammer (Physicians' Chamber). At the 1936 Nuremberg Rally, he discussed the racial laws. As was typical of Nazi propaganda at this time, this was more in terms of the pure and growing race than the evil of the Jews. A shift in his political career came in 1937 when he was promoted to SA Obergruppenführer. Meanwhile, he was also commissioner for collegiate issues on Rudolf Hess's staff.

Wagner died quite young, at only 50. The cause of his sudden death is to this day unknown. His successor was Leonardo Conti.

Gerhard Wagner was jointly responsible for euthanasia and sterilization carried out against Jews and the handicapped, and showed himself at the Nuremberg Party Congress in 1935 to be a staunch proponent of the Nuremberg Laws, and thereby also of Nazi Germany's race legislation and racial politics. Under Wagner's leadership, the Nazi killing institution at Hadamar was established.


Hirden (the hird) was a uniformed paramilitary organisation during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, modelled the same way as the German Sturmabteilungen.

Institute for Study of the Jewish Question

The Institute for Study of the Jewish Question or Institute for Research of the Jewish Question (Institut zur Erforschung der Judenfrage) was a Nazi Party political institution, founded in April 1939. Conceived as a branch of a projected elite university of the party under the direction of Alfred Rosenberg, it officially opened in Frankfurt am Main in March 1941, during the Second World War, and remained in existence until the end of the war, in 1945.

It should not be confused with the Institut zum Studium der Judenfrage (Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question), which was part of Goebbels's propaganda ministry; the latter was later renamed Antisemitische Aktion (Anti-Semitic Action) and then Antijüdische Aktion (Anti-Jewish Action). Also, in occupied France, the Institut d'étude des questions juives (Institute for the Study of Jewish Affairs) was a propaganda institution established in Paris in 1943 by the German military command.

When the institute was founded, the official journal Ziel und Weg (Goal and Way) of the National Socialist German Doctors' League (NSDÄB), which was led by Leonardo Conti, welcomed it and demanded: "The Half-Jew has to be treated like the Full-Jew ... so that he is no danger for the protection of the racial value of the European peoples."The institute cooperated with Walter Frank's Reich Institute for the History of the New Germany, especially with its Research Department for the Jewish Question, which was led by the demographer Friedrich Burgdörfer, who had published the pamphlet "Are the White Nations Dying? The Future of the White and the Colored Nations in the Light of Biological Statistics", which became the origin of the White genocide conspiracy theory.The institute's journal "The World-Struggle. Monthly for Global Politics, Racial Culture and the Jewish Question in all Countries" (Der Weltkampf. Monatsschrift für Weltpolitik, völkische Kultur und die Judenfrage aller Länder) was edited by Ernst Graf zu Reventlow; contributors included Gregor Schwartz-Bostunitsch and Johann von Leers.

The effective aim of the institute was information-gathering for propaganda purposes in support of anti-Semitic policy and, later, the Holocaust. It became the recipient of looted books and other cultural materials from Jewish libraries and institutions in the occupied territories.The institute's main librarian was Johannes Pohl, a scholar of Hebrew and Jewish studies, former Roman Catholic Vicar and alumnus of the Pontifical Biblical Institute.

Leonardo Conti (ice hockey)

Leonardo Conti (born 15 September 1978 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, West Germany) is a German former professional ice hockey goaltender who played in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

Liechtenstein Homeland Service

Liechtenstein Homeland Service (German: Liechtensteiner Heimatdienst, LHD) was a political party in Liechtenstein that advocated corporate statism and the abolition of party politics.Established in the autumn of 1933, the party's positions began to radicalize and move toward National Socialist ideas within a few months of existence. By December 1933, this radicalization caused some members (such as co-founder Eugen Schafhauser) to abandon the party.LHD merged with the Christian-Social People's Party (VP) in 1936 to form the Patriotic Union (VU).

List of Nazi Party leaders and officials

This is a list of Nazi Party (NSDAP) leaders and officials.

List of Nazis of non-Germanic descent

List of Nazis of non-Germanic descent, including notable people in Nazi German service, such as Schutzstaffel members, who were of non-Germanic descent. Notably, there were several high-ranking Nazis of Jewish descent. There were also many of Slavic descent. See Nuremberg Laws for further information on the status of non-Aryan people in Nazi Germany.

OKW and OKH secret reports show that half-Jews could only serve in Ersatzreserve II or Landwehr II, while quarter-Jews remained in the Wehrmacht and were eligible for promotion. Employment or promotion of quarter-Jews required Hitler's approval. Cambridge University researcher Bryan Rigg noted that there were two field marshals and fifteen generals (two full generals, eight lieutenant generals, five major generals) who were Jews or of Jewish descent. Rigg estimated that there were 150,000 men of Jewish descent that served German armed forces during World War II. 1,671 have been identified (as of 2010). Hitler personally issued German Blood papers to mischlings (mixed Jewish) for their continuing service.

Johannes Blaskowitz, German general, Germanised Slovenian descent

Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, Prussian, SS-Obergruppenführer, Kashubian nobility

Hermann Baranowski, German Nazi, SS-Oberführer, Germanised Polish descent

Karl Chmielewski, German Nazi, Germanised Polish descent

Leonardo Conti, Swiss, Reichsgesundheitsführer, Italian father and German mother

Richard Walther Darré, German Nazi, SS-Obergruppenführer, Huguenot father

Hans Eppinger, Austrian, SS doctor, half-Jewish

Adolf Galland, German, Luftwaffe general, Huguenot ancestry

Wilhelm-Ferdinand Galland, German, Luftwaffe ace, Huguenot ancestry

Gordon Gollob, Austrian, Luftwaffe, mixed ancestry

Alfred Grislawski, German, Luftwaffe ace, Germanised Ruhr Polish

Odilo Globocnik, Austrian Nazi, Germanised Slovene descent

Eugen Hadamovsky, German Nazi, paternal Germanised Czech descent

Hans Hauck, Wehrmacht, Algerian Black father

Walter Hollaender, colonel, Jewish

Bronislav Kaminski, Russian, Polish father and German mother

Erich Kempka, German Nazi, SS-Obersturmbannführer, Ruhr Polish descent

Halim Malkoč (1917–1947), Bosnian volunteer, SS-Obersturmführer, Bosnian Muslim

Erich von Manstein (1887–1973), German, Wehrmacht Generalfeldmarschall, paternal Prussian Kashubian

Hans-Joachim Marseille, German, Luftwaffe ace, paternal Huguenot descent

Victor Matthys, Belgian Rexist

Emil Maurice, German Nazi, Jewish great-grandfather

Christian de la Mazière, French Nazi

Erhard Milch, German Nazi, Jewish father (reclassified as Aryan by Adolf Hitler)

Martin James Monti, American defector to the Nazis, SS-Untersturmführer, Swiss Italian father and German mother

Joachim Mrugowsky, German Nazi, Germanised Polish descent

Karl Nicolussi-Leck, Austrian Nazi, Tyrolian

Franz Novak, Austrian Nazi, Germanised Carinthian Slovene descent

Walter Nowotny, Austrian, Luftwaffe ace, Germanised Polish descent

Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski, German, Wehrmacht Generalmajor, Germanised Polish descent

Harry Paletta, German Nazi, West Prussian

Helmuth von Pannwitz, Lusitian nobility

Wladimir von Pawlowski, Austrian Nazi, Germanised Carinthian Slovene descent

Alexander Piorkowski, German Nazi, Germanised Polish descent

Paul Radomski, German Nazi, Germanised Polish descent

Lothar Rendulic (1887–1971), Austrian, Wehrmacht Generaloberst, Croatian ancestry

Bernhard Rogge, admiral, Jewish ancestry

Jazep Sažyč, Belarusian

Baldur von Schirach, Wendish nobility

Hermann Senkowsky, Austrian Nazi, Germanised Carinthian Slovene descent

Otto Skorzeny, Austrian Nazi, Germanised Polish descent

Alexander Stahlberg, colonel, Jewish

Alfred Trzebinski, German Nazi, Germanised Polish descent

Erich Wasicky, Austrian Nazi, Germanised Carinthian Slovene descent

Udo von Woyrsch, German Nazi, SS-Obergruppenführer, Bohemian noble descent

Felix Zymalkowski, German, Kriegsmarine Korvettenkapitän, Germanised Polish descent

Werner Goldberg, German, foot soldier, half-Jewish

Hubert Jura, Polish, SD And Gestapo agent

Alexander Löhr, Generaloberst in the Luftwaffe, mother with Jewish-Ukrainian roots

National Front (Switzerland)

The National Front was a far-right political party in Switzerland that flourished during the 1930s. At its peak the group had as many as 9,000 members, according to the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland,

and "may have had a membership of 25,000 or so", according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

National Union (Switzerland)

The National Union (French: Union Nationale) was a French-speaking fascist political party in Switzerland between 1932 and 1939.

The Union was formed in Geneva in 1932 by Georges Oltramare, a lawyer and writer. Noted for his anti-Semitic writing, Oltramare founded the Order Politique Nationale in 1931 but merged it with the Union de Défense Economique the following year to form the National Union. The group continued under Oltramare's leadership until 1940 when he moved to Paris in order to co-operate more closely with the Nazis. Oltramare spent four years as a member of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland representing the National Union.The Union became notorious for a demonstration in Geneva on November 9, 1932 when their march to the city's Salle Communale was counterdemonstrated by the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. In the resulting trouble the Swiss army opened fire on the Socialists resulting in 13 deaths.

National Unity Party (Canada)

The Parti National Social Chrétien (English: National Social Christian Party) was a Canadian political party formed by Adrien Arcand in February 1934. The party identified with antisemitism, and German leader Adolf Hitler's Nazism. The party was later known, in English, as the Canadian National Socialist Unity Party or National Unity Party.

Nationale Jeugdstorm

The Nationale Jeugdstorm (English: National Youth Storm; NJS) was a Dutch youth movement that existed from 1934 to 1945, organized as the Dutch equivalent of the German Hitlerjugend and as a Nazi counterpart of Scouting Nederland.

Phil Parsons (voice actor)

Phil Parsons (born November 8, 1968) is an American anime voice actor who works at Funimation. He is best known for voicing Nappa in the English Dub of the Dragon Ball series.

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.

Viking League

The Viking League (German: Bund Wiking) was a German political and paramilitary organization in existence from 1923 to 1928. It was founded on May 2, 1923 in Munich by members of the banned Organisation Consul as the successor to this group.Although its stated purpose was to effect "the revival of Germany on a national and ethnic basis through the spiritual education of its members", its actual primary purpose was to contribute to preparations for the overthrow of the Weimar Republic and provide intensive military training for its members. Membership was estimated to be about 10,000 persons, including many former military officers. Juvenile supporters could join the Young Vikings (Jungwiking) youth wing.

Leaders of the group included former Marinebrigade Ehrhardt founder Hermann Ehrhardt and his deputy, Commander Eberhard Kautter. Many leaders of other banned or controversial right-wing organizations used membership in the Viking League as a way of keeping continuity for their causes. For example, this included later Nazi Reich Health Leader Leonardo Conti, who had founded the anti-semitic newspaper Kampfbund in 1918. The young Horst Wessel joined the group in late 1923.On 9 January 1924 a group of about 20 members of the Viking League lead by Edgar Julius Jung were responsible for the murder of the Pfalz separatist Heinz-Orbis.

The stated aim of the League was the establishment of a new German military dictatorship and modification of the Treaty of Versailles by armed means. This included targeted provocation intended to incite workers to take action and provide the pretext for a coup. When these preparations became known to the federal government in 1926, the Viking League was banned in Prussia and other areas.

After the dissolution of the League at the end of April 1928, many Viking League members continued their activities in related organizations such as the Stahlhelm or the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA).

Volksdeutsche Bewegung

Volksdeutsche Bewegung (German; literally "Ethnic German Movement") was a Nazi movement in Luxembourg that flourished under the German-occupied Luxembourg during World War II.

Formed by Damian Kratzenberg, a university professor with a German background, the movement only emerged after the invasion and was declared the only legal political movement in Luxembourg by the Nazis. Using the slogan Heim ins Reich (Home to the Reich), their declared aim was the full incorporation of Luxembourg into Nazi Germany. The policy was supported by Nazis who used the Bewegung as means towards this end. The aim was accomplished in August 1942, although the VDB continued to operate and peaked at 84,000 members. Many of these joined when it became clear that membership was necessary to retain employment. A number of leading members also held dual membership of the National Socialist German Workers Party after incorporation. The movement disappeared after the war, and Kratzenberg was executed in 1946.

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