1947-08-19, #25: Doctors' Trial Verdict — Dr. Fritz Fischer
Judgment: Fritz Fischer — GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS
THE CASE OF THE DEFENDANT FRITZ FISCHER
JUDGE SEVERING: The defendant Fischer is charged under Counts Two and Three with Sulfanilamide and Bone, Muscle and Nerve-Regeneration and BoneTransplantation Experiments.
Fritz Fischer joined the Allgemeine-SS in February 1934 and the NSDAP in 1939. In the latter year he joined the Waffen-SS and was assigned to the SS unit in the Hohenlychen Hospital as a physician subordinated to the defendant Gebhardt. In June 1940 he was transferred to the SS regiment Leibstandarte "Adolf Hitler", and returned the same year to Hohenlychen as assistant physician to Gebhardt, where he remained until May 1943. He then served as a surgeon on "both the Eastern and Western Fronts and, after having been wounded in August 1944, came back to Hohenlychen as a patient. In December 1944 he was assigned to the Chariti Hospital in Berlin, but returned again to Hohenlychen as Gebhardt's assistant in April 1945. In the Waffen—SS he attained the rank of Strurmbannfuehrer (Major).
Gebhardt, as shown elsewhere in this Judgment, was in personal charge of the work being done in this field by his assistant Fritz Fischer. That the latter performed most of the Sulfanilamide experimental work is not denied by him; on the contrary, he freely admits it. The defense offered in his behalf is twofold; that the experimental subjects were to have alleged death sentences, then impending, commuted to something less severe in the event they survived the experiments; and that defendant Fischer was acting under military orders from his superior officer Professor Gebhardt. These defenses have been considered rejected in other parts of this Judgment.
It is true, however, that paragraph 4 (b) of Article II of Control Council Law No. 10 reads:
The fact that any person acted pursuant to the order of his government or of a superior does not free him from responsibility for crime, but may be considered in mitigation.
It is unnecessary to take up and answer all the arguments that might be presented upon whether or not Fischer is entitled to a mitigation of sentence due to the circumstances claimed as the basis of such mitigation. He acted with the most complete knowledge that what he was doing was fundamentally criminal, even though directed by a superior. Under the circumstances his defense must be rejected, and he must be held to be guilty as charged.
BONE, MUSCLE AND NERVE REGENERATION AND BONE TRANSPLANTATION:
The experiments have been discussed in connection with the case of the defendant Gebhardt, who was assisted therein by the defendant Fischer. Testimony and exhibits now constituting parts of the record in this case reveal that Fischer has offered no substantial defense to the charge. Indeed, criminal connection with these experiments is admitted, and the admission includes the defendant's own testimony that he personally performed at least some of the operations. It only remains for the Tribunal to hold that on the specification above mentioned the defendant Fischer is guilty.
To the extent that the crimes committed by defendant Fischer were not war crimes they were crimes against humanity.
MEMBERSHIP IN CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION:
Under Count Four of the Indictment Fritz Fischer 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 Fritz Fischer became a member of the SS in 1934 and remained in this organization until the end of 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 that the defendant Fritz Fischer is guilty under Counts Two, Three and four of the Indictment.
JUDGE BEALS: The Tribunal will now be in recess until ten o'clock tomorrow morning when the sentence will be imposed by the tribunal upon the defendants who have been found guilty.
THE MARSHAL: The Tribunal will be in recess until ten o'clock tomorrow morning.
(The Tribunal adjourned until 20 August 1947 at 1000 hours.)