During the Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg, Dr. Karl Brandt and the other defendants were infuriated at the moral high ground taken by the U.S. prosecution. Evidence showed that the Allies had been engaged in illegal medical experimentation, including poison experiments on condemned prisoners in other countries, and cholera and plague experiments on children.

This article expands on the previous article: Were The Medical Experiments On Prisoners At Dachau An Exceptional Horror?

 

29-Prison-Inmates-as-Test-Subjects
“Pictures have emerged providing the shocking proof that U.S. government doctors once experimented on disabled American citizens and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital. Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission.”  Daily Mail 28 February 2011

 

 

The Plutonium Files
 The radiation experiments commenced with the scientists of the Manhattan Project in April 1945 and continued until the 1970’s. “In Nashville, pregnant women were given radioactive mixtures. In Cincinnati, some 200 patients were irradiated over a period of 15 years. In Chicago, 102 people received injections of strontium and cesium solutions. In Massachusetts, 57 developmentally disabled children were fed oatmeal laced with radioactive tracers in an experiment sponsored by MIT and the Quaker Oats Company. In none of these cases were the subjects informed about the nature of the procedures, and thus could not have provided informed consent.” Wikipedia

Rationalization of Malaria Experiments in WWII

The onset and escalation of World War II provided the rationalization for most of Germany’s illegal human medical experimentation. Animal experimentation was known to be a poor substitute for experiments on humans. Since only analogous inferences could be drawn from animal experiments, the use of human experimentation during the war was deemed necessary to help in the German war effort. Applications for medical experimentation on humans were usually approved on the ground that animal tests had taken the researcher only so far.  Better results could be obtained by using humans in the medical experiments.[1]

In the case of malaria experiments, animal guinea pigs could not be used because malaria cannot be transferred to animals. Thus, since it would be useless to use animals, only humans could be used in the malaria experiments.[2]

26-Stateville-Penitentiary-Malaria-Study
A Malaria experiment in an American Prison June 25, 1945.

 

 

Historical Background

 

The Dachau concentration camp was used as the center for malaria experimentation on humans. This has been documented at the so-called Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg, which opened on December 9, 1946, and ended on July 19, 1947. Also, Dr. Charles P. Larson, a leading American forensic pathologist, was at Dachau and conducted autopsies, interviews, and a review of the remaining medical records to determine the extent of the malaria experimentation at the camp.

The malaria experimentation at Dachau was performed by Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling, who was an internationally famous parasitologist. Dr. Schilling was ordered by Heinrich Himmler in 1936 to conduct medical research at Dachau for the purpose of specifically immunizing individuals against malaria. Dr. Schilling admitted to Dr. Larson that between 1936 and 1945 he inoculated some 2,000 prisoners with malaria. The medical supervisor at Dachau would select the people to be inoculated and then send this list of people to Berlin to be approved by a higher authority. Those who were chosen were then turned over to Dr. Schilling to conduct the medical experimentation.[3]

At the Doctors’ Trial in 1947 it was determined that Dr. Schilling’s experiments were directly responsible for the deaths of 10 prisoners.[4] Dr. Charles Larson stated in his report concerning Dr. Schilling:

 

      It was very difficult to know where to draw the line as to whether or not Dr. Schilling was a war criminal. Certainly he fell into that category inasmuch as he had subjected people involuntarily to experimental malaria inoculations, which, even though they did not produce many deaths, could very well have produced serious illness in many of the patients. He defended himself by saying he did all this work by order from higher authority; in fact, Himmler himself.

In my report, I wrote: “In view of all he has told me, this man, in my opinion, should be considered a war criminal, but that he should be permitted to write up the results of his experiments and turn them over to Allied medical personnel for what they are worth. Dr. Schilling is an eminent scientist of world-wide renown who has conducted a most important group of experiments; their value cannot properly be ascertained until he has put them into writing for medical authorities to study. The criminal acts have already been committed, and since they have been committed, if it were possible to derive some new knowledge concerning immunity to malaria from these acts, it would yet be another crime not to permit this man to finish documenting the results of his years of research.”

But my attempt to save Dr. Schilling’s life failed. Our High Command felt it had to make a public example of him—most of the other high-ranking Nazis connected with Dachau had already been executed—and made his wife watch the hanging. I did everything I could to stop it. I implored our military government not to pass sentence on him until he’d had a fair hearing, because I was just beginning to win his confidence, and get through to him. Looking back, I am sure that the execution of Dr. Schilling deprived the world of some very valuable scientific information—no matter how distasteful his research and experimentation may have been.[5]

 

Dr. Charles Larson concluded in regard to Dr. Schilling:

“…Dr. Schilling, who was 72 [actually 74], should have lived. He never tried to run. He stayed in Dachau and made a full statement of his work to me; he cooperated in every way, and was the only one who told the truth…”[6]

Dr. Schilling was tried and found guilty at the Dachau Trials, which proceeded the Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg. Dr. Schilling was hanged at Landsberg prison in May 1946 and buried in an unmarked grave.[7]

DrSchillingHungMalaria
Dr. Schilling’s execution.

Hypocrisy of Verdict  

The defense in the Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg submitted evidence of doctors in the United States performing medical experiments on prison inmates and conscientious objectors during the war. The evidence showed that large-scale malaria experiments were performed on 800 American prisoners, many of them black, from federal penitentiaries in Atlanta and state penitentiaries in Illinois and New Jersey. U.S. doctors conducted human experiments with malaria tropica, one of the most dangerous of the malaria strains, to aid the U.S. war effort in Southeast Asia.[8] Although Dr. Schilling’s malaria experiments were no more dangerous or illegal than the malaria experiments performed by U.S. doctors, Dr. Schilling had to pay for his malaria experiments by being hanged to death while his wife watched. The U.S. doctors who performed malaria experiments on humans were never charged with a crime.

During the Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg, Dr. Karl Brandt and the other defendants were infuriated at the moral high ground taken by the U.S. prosecution. Evidence showed that the Allies had been engaged in illegal medical experimentation, including poison experiments on condemned prisoners in other countries, and cholera and plague experiments on children.

 

The U.S. prosecution flew in Dr. Andrew Ivy to explain the differences in medical ethics between German and U.S. medical experiments. Interestingly, Dr. Ivy himself had been involved in malaria experiments on inmates at the Illinois State Penitentiary. When Dr. Ivy mentioned that the United States had specific research standards for medical experimentation on humans, it turns out that these principles were first published on December 28, 1946. Dr. Ivy had to admit that the U.S. principles on medical ethics in human experimentation had been made in anticipation of Dr. Ivy’s testimony at the Doctors’ Trial.[9]

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Tuskegee-syphilis-study_doctor-injecting-subject.jpg
Wikipedia: The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service. Researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately even when penicillin became a standard cure in 1947.

Conclusion                      

 

      Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling enjoyed an international reputation for his medical research. He had initially wanted to do good by finding a cure for malaria that would benefit mankind. Pleas for Dr. Schilling’s clemency arrived from universities around the world. However, American authorities executed Dr. Schilling without letting him finish his report about the malaria experiments, and despite the fact that American doctors had conducted similar medical experimentation on humans.[10] As with so many other Germans, Dr. Schilling was executed by an American justice system that was not concerned with justice.

 

bookSml
About Germany’s War

     

ENDNOTE

[1] Kater, Michael H., Doctors under Hitler, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1989, p. 226.

[2] Greene, Joshua M., Justice at Dachau, New York: Broadway Books, 2003, p. 96.

[3] McCallum, John Dennis, Crime Doctor, Mercer Island, WA: The Writing Works, Inc., 1978, pp. 64-65.

[4] Berben, Paul, Dachau, 1933-1945, The Official History, London: The Norfolk Press, 1975, p. 125.

[5] McCallum, John Dennis, Crime Doctor, Mercer Island, WA: The Writing Works, Inc., 1978, pp. 66-67.

[6] Ibid., p. 68.

[7] Greene, Joshua M., Justice at Dachau, New York: Broadway Books, 2003, p. 122.

[8] Schmidt, Ulf, Karl Brandt: The Nazi Doctor, New York: Continuum Books, 2007, p. 376.

[9] Ibid., pp. 376-377.

[10] Greene, Joshua M., Justice at Dachau, New York: Broadway Books, 2003, pp. 96-97.

Advertisements