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1947-08-19, #21: Doctors' Trial Verdict — Dr. Waldemar Hoven
Judgment: Waldemar Hoven — GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS
THE CASE OF THE DEFENDANT WALDEMAR HOVEN
JUDGE CRAWFORD: The defendant Hoven is charged under Counts Two and Three of the Indictment with special responsibility for and participation in Typhus and other vaccine experiments; gas oedema experiments; and the euthanasia program.
In Count Four he is charged with being a member, after 1 September 1939, of an organization declared criminal by the International Military Tribunal.
Hoven joined the SS in 1934 and the Nazi party in 1937. Soon after the outbreak of the war he joined the Waffen-SS. In October 1939 he became assistant medical officer in the SS Hospital at Buchenwald Concentration Camp. In 1941 he was appointed medical officer in charge of the SS troops stationed in the camp. He became assistant Medical Officer at the camp inmate hospital and in July 1942 he became Chief Camp Physician. He remained in the latter position until September 1943. At that time he was arrested on the order of the SS Police Court in Kassel for having allegedly murdered an SS non-commissioned officer who was a dangerous witness against Koch, the camp commander.
TYPHUS AND OTHER VACCINE EXPERIMENTS:
The vaccine experiments with which Hoven is charged were conducted at Buchenwald under the supervision of SS Sturmbannfuehrer [Major] Dr. Ding alias Ding-Schuler. They have already been described at length in other portions of this judgment.
The Prosecution has shown beyond a reasonable doubt that Hoven was a criminal participant in these experiments In collaboration with the SS camp administration he helped select the concentration camp inmates who became the experimental subjects. During the course of selection he exercised the right to include some prisoners and to reject others.
While perhaps not empowered to initiate new series of experiments on his own responsibility — that apparently being a power which only Ding could exercise — the defendant worked with Ding on experiments then in progress. He supervised the preparation of diary notes, fever charts, and report sheets of the experiments. Occasionally he injected some of the subjects with the vaccines. He acted as Ding's deputy in the conduct of the experiments. He was in command of Experimental Block 46 in Ding's absence. During the period of Hoven's activity in the experimental station no less than 100 inmates were killed as a result of the typhus experiments. Many of these victims were non-German nationals who had not given their consent to be used as experimental subjects.
GAS OEDEMA EXPERIMENTS:
It is asserted in an affidavit made by Dr. Ding-Schuler, who was in charge of Blocks 46 and 50, Buchenwald, that toward the end of 1942 a conference was held in the Military Medical Academy, Berlin, for the purpose of discussing the fatal effects of gas oedema serum on wounded persons. During the conference Killian of the Army Medical Inspectorate and the defendant Mrugowsky reported several cases in which wounded soldiers who had received oedema serum injections in high quantities died suddenly without apparent reason. Mrugowsky suspected that the fatalities were due to the phenol content of the serum. To help solve the problem Mrugowsky ordered Ding to take part in a euthanasia killing with phenol and to report on the results in detail. A few days later Hoven, in the presence of Ding, gave phenol injections to several of the concentration camp inmates with the result that they died instantly.
In accordance with instructions Ding made a report of the killings to his superior officer.
The fact that Hoven engaged in phenol killings is substantiated by an affidavit voluntarily made by Hoven himself prior to the trial which was received in evidence as a part of the case of the prosecution. In the affidavit Hoven makes the following statement:
There were many prisoners who were jealous of the positions held by a few political prisoners and tried to discredit them. These traitors were immediately killed and I was later notified in order to make out statements that they had died of natural causes.
In some instances I supervised the killings of these unworthy inmates by injections of phenol at the request of the inmates, in the hospital assisted by several inmates. Dr. Ding came once and said I was not doing it correctly, and perform a some of the injections himself, killing three inmates who died within a minute.
The total number of traitors killed was about 150, of whom 60 were killed by phenol injections, either by myself or under my supervision, and the rest were killed by heating, etc. by the inmates.
The details of the euthanasia program have been discussed by us at length in dealing with the charges against certain other defendants; consequently they will not be repeated here.
In the Hoven pre-trial affidavit, portions of which were quoted while discussing gas oedema serum experimentation, the defendant gives us a partial picture of the euthanasia program, in the following statement:
In 1941 Koch, the Camp Commander, called all the important SS officials of the camp together and informed them that he had received a secret order from Himmler that all mentally and physically deficient inmates should be killed, including Jews. 300 to 400 Jewish prisoners of different nationalities were sent to the "Euthanasia Station"at Bernburg for extermination. I was ordered to issue falsified statements of the death of these Jews, and obeyed that order. This action was known as '14 F 13.'
When the defendant Hoven took the stand in his own defense he attempted to discredit the effects of the statements contained in his affidavit by testifying that the affidavit was taken as a result of interrogations propounded to him by the Prosecution in English and that he was not sufficiently familiar with the language to be fully aware of the inculpatory nature of the statements he was making.
The Tribunal is not impressed with these assertions. The evidence shows that prior to the war the defendant had lived for several years in the United States, where he had acquired at least an average understanding and comprehension of the English language. When he was on the witness stand the Tribunal questioned him at length in order to ascertain the extent of his knowledge of English, and in particular, of his understanding of the meaning of the words used by him in his affidavit. As a result of this questioning the Tribunal is convinced that no undue or improper advantage was taken of the defendant in procuring the affidavit, and that at the time of his interrogation by the Prosecution Hoven knew and understood perfectly well the nature of the statements he was making.
The facts contained in the Hoven affidavit were convincingly substantiated by other evidence in the record; the only real difference being that the evidence shows the defendant to have been guilty of even many hundreds more murders than are admitted by him in his affidavit. As stated, in essence, by one of the Prosecution witnesses in connection with the subject: Hoven personally killed inmates in the hospital barracks by injection. These people were mostly suffering from malnutrition and exhaustion. Hoven must have killed 1,000 of every nationality. These inmates were killed on the initiative of Hoven with no request from the illegal camp administration or the political prisoners.
It is obvious from the evidence that throughout his entire Service at Buchenwald, Hoven attempted to serve three masters: The SS Camp Administration, the criminal prisoners, and the political prisoners of the camp. As a result he became criminally implicated in murders committed by all three groups involving the deaths of non-German nationals, some of whom were prisoners of war and others of whom were civilians. In addition to these, he committed murders on his own individual responsibility. There can be nothing said in mitigation of such conduct. To the extent that the crimes committed by Hoven were not war crimes, they were crimes against humanity.
MEMBERSHIP IN CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION:
Under Count Four of the Indictment the defendant is charged with being a member of an organization declared criminal by the Judgment of the International Military Tribunal, namely, the SS.
The evidence shows that Hoven became a member of the SS in 1934, and remained in this organization throughout the war. As a member of the SS he was criminally implicated in the commission of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, as charged under Counts Two and Three of the Indictment.
Military Tribunal I finds and adjudges the defendant Waldemar Hoven guilty, under Counts Two, Three and Four of the Indictment.