1947-02-03, #2: Doctors' Trial (late morning)
THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal is again in session.
MR. McHANEY: If the Tribunal please, I am advised that the witness, Karl Brandt, is testifying from notes and other papers which he has before him. I object to this and if the court over-rules this objection, I will ask that the Prosecution be furnished with copies of these notes and translations thereof.
DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, in the trial before the International Military Tribunal, it was permitted for the defendant to testify on the witness stand and to take notes with him in order to simplify the proceedings in view of the extensive material, otherwise it is not easy to testify fluently and sensibly. If the court rules otherwise, the examination will be carried out, but it may take a little longer.
THE PRESIDENT: The objection of the Prosecution is over-ruled.
DIRECT EXAMINATION (of Karl Brandt) — Resumed BY DR. SERVATIUS:
Q: Witness, Now I come to your position as Commissioner General for Medicine and Health matters. When did you receive this commission?
A: By a decree of July, 1942, I was assigned to this office. It was called the General Commissioner for health and medical matters.
Q: I shall hand you a copy of this decree and please comment on it. It is Document No. 080 and it is in Document Bock No. 1. Will you please first explain how this decree came to be issued?
A: This decree was issued on the basis of a practical demand after the winter battle in the East in the winter of 1941-1942 and a report came through Dr. Todt and various other agencies to the Fuehrer. I was sent along the road from Smolensk toward Moscow because very many battle wounded were said to be there who could not be taken care of. The information was inaccurate and in part entirely incredible. I went to the area of Wiasmar and there at the railroad station in the small village, the picture was about as follows: There were ten big freight trains, closed freight cars all filled with wounded. The temperature was between 35 and 40 degrees celsius below zero. Some of the bandages and dressings of the wounded were actually frozen to the floor of the cars.
The locomotives were frozen and the boilers broken. The medical personnel were trying to help the wounded as much as they could, but, of course, this was practically impossible. In the district, there were about 10,000 wounded. At the railroad station, there were two medical officers with a minimum of medical supplies and these two officers could hardly stay in the town itself. There were small buildings, which had been arranged to receive the sick, but they were over crowded and the situation for the wounded was similar. Wehrmacht agencies, with which I established contact, attempted to ascribe these conditions to a failure of the medical command. The same attitude was taken within the Wehrmacht operational staff. Actually the medical service, the medical services were to be given the responsibility for the failure of the strategic command and especially for the inadequate supplies of winter clothing. I went on and followed the river toward Moscow until I came to the bandaging places and there I learned from the replacements that there were inefficiencies here.
About 30 kilometers from Moscow at a small station by the name of Moscheisk freight car had piled up with Soda water, all frozen and completely unnecessary. The most urgently needed medical supplies more lacking. Discussions with the competent medical agencies in this area, in tie Control sector, showed the impossibility of getting aid from the Army. About 10 kilometers away from the station of Wiasmar, which I mentioned before, there was an airfield. At this Airfield there was a medical officer who had nothing to do, but he had orders not to leave the airfield. After three days I returned to headquarters. I described the situation as I had found it. The only possibility of getting aid since the Army would not help was for the other branches of the Wehrmacht, primarily the Luftwaffe and the Navy to come to the aid of the Army. At that time, in January 1942, this was possible only by special and precise order from Hitler himself. In this way it was possible to arrange that within 24 hours, with the aid and support of our own couriers to the Fuehrer headquarters, that 45 medical officers were summoned to this area, and the nearby stations of the Navy and the Luftwaffe, probably the Koenigsberg people sent the necessary supplies. From that time on the question of unified medical corps went under unified command on the Wehrmacht and was not dropped, but nevertheless it lasted 7 or 8 months, until most of the difficulties of Jurisdiction were solved, and this decree of 28 July 1942 was issued.
The essential point is the reference that an agency of Chief of Wehrmacht Medical Service was to be established, and on the civil side the Reich Health Leader and Secretary in the Ministry of Interior was to be given the responsibility, and I myself was made responsible for a special task and to coordinate the needs of the Wehrmacht and the Civilian Sector. For me personally there was still another demand, that I was to have a representative at headquarters so that I was not obliged to be there as much as before. The decree was issued because of the needs of the front.
For the Wehrmacht head there were a few basic shortcomings. An attempt was made to investigate this case in 1944. The new chief of the Wehrmacht Medical, Generaloberstabsarzt Handloser, who had previously been Army physician and Army Medical Professor, retained this position. The organization as set up was not adjusted properly to the Luftwaffe and the Navy, because the Army itself was not represented, but that the Chief in charge of all three branches was of the Army.
Q: Now, would you please look at the decree itself and comment on those points where you yourself are named, that is "3" and "4" of the decree?
A: "3" says I empower for special tasks and negotiations, for special hospital supplies, and so forth, "I empower Prof. Dr. Karl Brandt, subordinate only to me personally and receiving his instructions directly from me, to carry out special tasks and negotiations to read just the requirements for doctors, hospitals, medical supplies, etc. between the military and the civilian sectors of the Health and Medical Services."
Point "4" says, "That as Commissioner General I am to be informed of all happenings in the Military and Civilian Sector." The practice under this decree meant difficulties for me too.
JUDGE SEBRING: Just a minute, please, Witness.
Dr. Servatius, in the translation which we have here, which is apparently the official document filed with the Secretary General, this decree of 28 July 1942—
DR. SERVATIUS: Yes.
JUDGE SEBRING: It takes care of Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 3. "4" apparently is omitted.
DR. SERVATIUS: There is no "5" on the decree. It must be a mistake in typing. No. 4 reads, "My plenipotentiary for Health and Medical Service."
THE WITNESS: ... I had direct contact with the Lutwaffe and the Navy and a Medical Officer of the Luftwaffe was assigned to him.
MR. McHANEY: That had better be repeated, the English text didn't come through for six or eight sentences. I think it would be best if they repeated that for the record.
BY DR. SERVATIUS: Will you please go back? The English translation did not come through, — and comment on points "3" and "4" of the decree?
A: Section 3 says that I am empowered for special tasks and negotiations to adjust the requirements for doctors, hospital and medical supplies between military and civilian sectors, and the Health and Medical Services, and that I am subordinate only to the undersigned, that is to Hitler personally, and receive instructions directly from him. Section 4 says that I am to be kept informed about fundamental events in the civilian service of the Wehrmacht and Medical Service. It says he is authorized to intervene in a responsible manner.
Q: Then the purpose of the decree was to guarantee this cooperation?
A: The purpose of the decree, from my point of view, was to adjust the needs of the Wehrmacht and needs of the Civilian Health Service to carry on the negotiations, and in addition was from time to time given special tasks. These special tasks, of course, resulted from direct instructions from Hitler.
Q: Then you did not get any general authority, but special instructions in each case?
A: In the course of the next two years I estimate 15 to 20 special decrees were signed by Hitler for the individual tasks. It may be one or another of them can be submitted as a document.
Q: Can you mention any such special assignment?
A: In the beginning I had to establish hospital bases. Such a decree was formulated to deputy clearly and signed by Hitler.
But the one department was important, — I believe I have to tell this, that when this decree was issued when Hitler signed it the S.S. was not included. Apparently Himmler had already talked to Hitler about it. Since there were basic differences between Himmler and me in our impressions of the duties of a medical officer, and we had quarreled about it on one occasion, I was of the opinion the medical officer is first a doctor and secondly an officer, while Himmler was of the opinion he is first an officer and secondly a doctor. This was made evident by the fact that medical officers of the Waffen SS, not like the Army, Navy and Luftwaffe, and so forth, wore the insignia on their shoulders and could not be distinguished from a regular officer.
Q: Now, in number 1, paragraph 3, the Waffen SS is mentioned. Will you please explain the meaning of this paragraph? It says:
For the purpose of coordinated treatment of these problems a medical officer of the Navy and a medical officer of the Luftwaffe will be assigned to work under him, the latter in the capacity of chief of staff.
Now, there follows the sentence:
Fundamental problems pertaining to the medical service of the Waffen SS will be worked out in agreement with the medical inspectorate of the Waffen SS.
A: I began to point out before that there was a medical officer of the Luftwaffe and one of the Navy as liaison officers to the newly created chief of the Wehrmacht medical service, but that although the Waffen SS, as long as it was assigned to Wehrmacht units, was under the control of the Wehrmacht medical service, the Waffen SS did not send an officer to Handloser. And later when a request to that effect was made to get closer contact, it was refused.
This is what I just said with reference to myself; that the SS, the General SS as well as the Waffen SS, wore outside this decree for the medical and health service. This is the standard decree. The later decrees for the General Commissioner or the Reich Commissioner were based on this one and it was never repealed.
Q: Now will you please put this decree to one side? Now, did you built up a big agency for these duties?
A: No, In Berlin I had a sort of post mail office in the Reich Chancellery from where we had courier connections and documents were brought to me constantly. The mail which we received was first of a quite general nature, but after a short time, six or eight weeks, it consisted primarily of inquiries and demands from industry. These requests were quite outside of the task as originally intended.
It had been intended that I was to coordinate the existing installations of the medical service.
Q: What was the significance of the fact that industry approached you with many inquiries and requests and opened up problems?
A: I obtained, insight into the production situation in '42 and '43, and on the basis of the information which I received I saw that unless a unified planned economy was established the production of medical supplies would be crippled completely in '43. This was because within the production agencies themselves there was no unified leadership. There were three agencies which conflicted with each other; First, the Ministry of Economics, the actual production agency; then, under Goering, the Four-Year plan; and finally, the Ministry for Armaments and War Production.
Aside from the fact that the limitations of the jurisdiction of these three offices were not clear the organization within these agencies was based on the raw material situation and not adjusted to the demand. The Ministry of Economics and the Speer Ministry had created special committees and working committees, specialist groups which took care of the materials. There was no central agency for medical supplies; for example, our surgical materials, our catgut, was in charge of a group who took care of musical instruments. This group for musical instruments was interested only in getting strings for violins and so forth, but they did not care whether we had surgical catgut or not.
Q: Witness, these demands from industry opened up a new field then. Did that lead to Decree Number 2?
A: Yes, this led to Decree Number 2.
Q: I shall show you this decree. It is Document NO-81, also in Document Book 1, page 14, in the English version.
(Document handed to witness.)
A: Decree 2 of the 5th of September 1943 was to the effect that I was authorized to take charge — to coordinate and direct centrally the problems and activities of the entire medical and health science and research as well as to the organizational institutions concerned with the manufacture and distribution of medical materials.
Q: Witness, can you tell me what your collaboration with the civilian and Wehrmacht sectors was?
A: I must distinguish between two things; first, the necessity for me, from the small office of three of four persons which I had at that time, to develop two offices, one dealing with materials, planning and economics, and one with the scientific matters, the office for science and research.
These two offices, together with me, had to coordinate first the material needs between the Wehrmacht and civilian sector. Our position was that of a differential.
Through this second decree the first decree was not repealed. It was outside the authority of material needs as well as science. I did not establish any connection with the SS, and until the fall of 1944 when there was a visit by Genzken, the SS did not attempt any coordination.
My two offices, planning and economics, and science and research, Professor Rostock was in charge of the latter, had assignments which more or less complemented each other. If I referred to the production difficulties before, I did so in order to describe the necessity and the need for that production. The agreement with the three competent production agencies was that I was the only responsible representative of the needs of the Wehrmacht and civilian sector. A plan of demands for civilian supply had to be set up first.
Until 1943 in spite of the war conditions this plan had not been completed. The Ministry of the Interior had no idea of what these demands were. With the aid and support of Wehrmacht agencies and industrial agencies, it was finally drawn up. This plan of civilian demands was worked out in detail and coordinated with the central plan of the Wehrmacht which had been worked out in the meantime. The adjusted plan, coordinated plan between Wehrmacht and civilian was discussed with the production agencies again, and this was the first task of my office for science and research production; that is, industry, attempted to proscribe what we could get. It was Rostock's task to establish what was necessary and not what was offered us, in a very difficult procedure. For example, our pharmaceutical preparations which, up to then, had been produced in numbers of about 35,000 different preparations; they were divided into groups reduced to 12,000 and 6,000. And finally, a program was set up in which only about 40 absolutely essential preparations were contained. The same was true of x-ray machines, instruments, all pieces of equipment of a medical nature. The distribution of the supplies within the Wehrmacht was within the Wehrmacht and within the civilian health service, their own organizations, and I had nothing to do with that.
Q: Then the office for science and research gave research assignments itself as they have been discussed here?
A: The office for science and research did not give any research assignments in that precise form. It supported research.
It must be considered that in 1943 and '44 in general there were other demands on the medical and health service, not only in thwarting scientific activity, but the Ministry of the Interior and the Propaganda Ministry, the Party Chancellery and others tried to have studies, particularly medical studies, stopped. In 1943 a decree was drawn up and signed that all the universities were to be closed. At that time I tried to have this repealed and as far as the medical faculties were concerned, I succeeded.
The Office for Science and Research under Rostock received from me the assignment to try everything to prevent the interruption of medical studies which was planned in 1944. In individual assignments which Rostock supported — I could mention the attempt to cultivate tissue cultures — the question was brought up of finding an agar substitute which is necessary in arbitrary work. He supported the work with the electronics microscope and various other things which he himself can describe better than I.
I should only like to say one thing, first of all, that the work which Rostock did, he did on my behalf on my orders, and I myself, if I claimed successes formerly, continued to bear the responsibility for everything alone.
Q: You spoke of attacks on medical studies. That was the position of medical science at that time in general? Please comment briefly and consider what the expert Professor Leibrand has testified here.
A: Mr. Leibrand described the situation quite correctly in many points. I do not want to go very far back. The situation in 1935 was that with the beginning of the influence of politics on everything, an attempt was made to have politics prevail in universities as well. The National Socialist League of Students was clear of all these units and organizations which were formed. That led to a false conclusion. It was believed that if this was achieved, science itself would be furthered, everything that was active in any way, all the active forces available where an attempt was made to direct them into politics. It was not realized that science itself, scientific research and work essentially has nothing to do with politics. A number of men who obtained influence were half educated.
The resulting inferiority feeling they tried to compensate for by trying to push the scientist, the real scientist, aside as unequal to them, and on the other side helped the dilettante. I refer to the description of von Brehmer which I gave this morning.
Now when the war had begun the question of science was overlooked entirely. Deferments for the universities had not been given so that teachers were suddenly drafted, and the training of the students was distorted in some cases. Considerations of basic research had been overlooked, and the idea of research on the basis of expediency prevailed. The lack of interest of the universities themselves led in 1943 to the decision to close the universities altogether, There were a number of doctors with whom I was in contact at that time who exerted their influence to have the universities reopened and continued, the dean of the University of Bonn, for instances Schulemann, and one of Muenster, Siegmund, and Sauerbruch, and, of course, Rostock who was dean of the Berlin faculty and exerted a certain influence in this respect.
After that there was an enormous number of little annoying difficulties. Everyone was suddenly interested in these questions of universities, and everyone had something to do with them. The High Commander of the Wehrmacht was interested in it because of deferments. Sauckel as plenipotentiary for Labor Commitment wanted to have students given some sort of labor duty. Contingents for establishing institutions, etc., were in charge of the Ministry of Economics. The Speer Ministry refused to take charge of them. If special papers were to be printed, the Reich Press Chamber opposed it, and in spite of all that there was no person who was really in charge of the universities. I say this only to show that from my Office of Science and Research that this was the primary decisive task, and I attempted to keep physicians free of politics as far as possible.
Without knowing it directly, I found support in the efforts of Dr. Blome essentially directed against Dr. Conti. Professor Leibrand has already described Conti. He was a political exponent and called himself that, and saw the task of the health leadership which he represented entirely from the political point of view.
That the training of the young doctor, the student, suffered especially during the war in Germany I don't believe I need to emphasize especially. Everyone knows how difficult training opportunities were. Nevertheless, a great deal was certainly done for research and actual medical treatment of the doctor at home, and before 1939 the medical officers were on the whole outstanding. There were some scientific successes, the development of sulfonamides in the surgical field because that was the closest to me, the bone treatment according to Fuetscher and the further results of heart surgery are significant.
Q: Witness, I come to a different subject. You were given an assignment called by the Prosecution Chemical Warfare Agent Decree from the first of March 1944. We do not have this Deere itself, but you wrote a letter about it to Himmler, a copy of which is here. It is Document No-012. That is also in Volume I of the document book. I am not certain where it is in the document book. It is a very brief letter. I shall read it so that the Court may take notice of it.
Berlin, 8 March 1944. The General Commissioner of the Fuehrer for Medical and Health Service. Top Secret. To the Reichsfuehrer SS and Reach Minister of the Interior, Berlin. Reichsfuehrer.
Enclosed you will find the photostatic copy of an order from the Fuehrer which is to be distributed only to a very limited number of persons. On behalf of the Reich Marshal I ask you only to inform the absolutely essential and leading personalities in your field. I will be grateful if you will ask these gentlemen to get in touch with me
— then there follows the telephone number —
so that I may be in a position to settle this matter quickly because of its great emergency. Heil Hitler! Karl Brandt.
Will you please explain this letter? What was the meaning of the urgency and the special secrecy? Witness, will you please pause before you answer? The interpreter can't follow otherwise.
THE PRESIDENT: Counsel, I understood you to say that this document was already in evidence.
DR. SERVATIUS: I do not know the number in the English Document Book, so for the other document I will look up the page numbers during the recess.
THE PRESIDENT: Can you inform me the number of the Exhibit?
DR. SERVATIUS: I will have to find that out. I turned over a list yesterday to Lt. Garrett of the Information Center — this morning, not yesterday.
Q: Witness, will you please explain this letter?
A: First I should like to point out that the telephone number which sounds somewhat mysterious was the telephone number of the Reich Chancellery extension 183 was my room in the clinic in Ziegelstrasse.
The order which is mentioned there, which was a decree dated 1 March 1944, was merely a production method of equipment against Chemical Warfare and had the following history: When, in the Fall of 1943 air raids on Germany were intensified and there were certain rumors which caused the fear that there might be gas attacks, Chemical warfare and various agencies obtained gas masks. Since my office, Plans and Economics, was working on a general medical supply, the Red Cross which was one of our customers, and the NSV, had the impression that I might be in charge of gas masks too. I got two inquiries and requests for delivery for about 100,000 masks. As I had nothing to do with these I sent them to the competent office in the Speers Ministry. After about four months, at the beginning of 1944, I received the same requests again. I took them, myself, to the head of the Armament Delivery Office, — his name was Doctor Schieber. I learned from him that he could not deliver the 100,000 gas masks that were asked for because in the previous year the increase in production of such apparatus had not taken place, but production had actually been reduced.
Mr. Schieber himself — this was somewhat embarrassing and unpleasant to Mr. Schieber because in the meantime confidential agents had brought the news that the Americans had shipped special equipment for that purpose, which brought gas to England; and, that gas from the former African Theater of War was being transferred to Italy. Under this situation, Mr. Schieber called a conference about the end of February, and advised me at this conference that all industry and development who had anything to do with this matter participated. The result was that the supply of Chemical Warfare defensive apparatus was disastrous in view of this situation. Within the Wehrmacht, within the Russian area alone, there were about 10,000,000 masks, with two to three times as many filters which had been abandoned there. This was about two—thirds of the total production since 1933. The Air Raid Warden Service had about twenty percent of its needs.
And, for kinder gas masks there was about seven or eight percent of the needs available. The production of chlorium calcate was adequate for making it safe for the population of one large city after one large raid. Mr. Schieber asked me to inform the competent agencies, which he could not reach directly, about the result of this discussion. Since I went to the Fuehrer's Headquarters the same night and met Goering, who was really the man responsible for air raid precautions, I informed him. Goering had no idea of this situation at the time. For him it was of the same importance; for him, it meant that after one gas raid over Germany, the war would have been over. And, with this attitude and with the drawn-power of conviction, he informed the Fuehrer, himself.
On the next day, I was called to the joint conference and asked whether I would take the production of gas masks into my office for planning and economics. I took the point of view that such an assignment which might have further developments was not exactly commensurate with my office of Planning and Economics. I said that I, myself, might set up a parallel organization to collaborate with the competent agencies. And, that is how the decree came about, which in addition to gas masks gave me control of gas itself, gas production. This was necessary, because in view of the raw material situation, the previous counter-measures which we had produced could no longer be produced, so a substitute material had to be selected, and these had to be tested with our German gases. It was necessary to be informed about the effectiveness of these gases. On the whole, this assignment was addressed to the Ministry for Armament and War Production at the Production Agency, and to me in a sort of control capacity, for the execution of the program which was to be set up, and where the needs of the Wehrmacht and the needs of the Civilian sector were to be adjusted and coordinated in so far as possible.
Any assignment of our own scientific research was not given in easy sense.
When I returned to Berlin with this assignment and tried to I learn about the situation as a whole, that is, to find out the competent agencies for the productions and distribution and use of this apparatus, I learned that there was no unified command. It was quite confused. Not only were the individual matters in different hands, but, for example, the Air Raid Police had the right to take measures during an attack, but at the moment of all clear, their authority ceased, and the measures had to be considered and continued by the Aviation Ministry. These things were impossible since a large number of organizations could be effected by the decree, which I did not know at that time. But, on the other hand, because of the rumors of Chemical Warfare, we had to take every precaution in these defense measures so that they would not become known and thus start new rumors.
I was forced to send all my letters as top secret or as top military secret. I turned to all leading men in Germany so that I would not get in contact with subordinate agencies who might think they had something to do with it, but who actually did not. So, I did not send these letters to the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, but to the Reichs ministry of the Interior because in the Ministry of Interior were the decisive agencies of air raid precaution.
Q: Now, did this activity, on the basis of the decree, take that much of your time?
A: The work with this program was the decisive work for me in 1944. This program developed like an avalanche. One Reich agency and one specialized group, one after the other, joined in it. There was not only the very painful development of a new gas mask for the population, but at the end we had to build air raid shelters, especially these in connection with Speer because of the ventilation argument; they were taken care of together with ventilation problems on the Navy.
It was a program which affected perhaps more people than any otter program of the Ministry for Armament and War Production. I did not establish any special agencies for this work. I worked by collaborating with the competent agencies which actually carried out the work for me.
DR. SERVATIUS: Mr. President, I am coming to another subject now.
THE PRESIDENT: The Court will recess until 1330.