December 9, 1946: Opening of the Nazi Doctors Trial by a U.S. Military Tribunal

It was the first of twelve U.S. military tribunals at Nuremberg. Sixteen Nazi doctors were tried at Nuremburg along with four non-Party physicians and three SS administrators — in all, twenty-three. The focus of the trial was the medical atrocities; heinous experiments conducted on concentration camp inmates; bringing to public light the nature and sheer enormity of the medical crimes committed by high ranking German medical doctors trained and affiliated with premier academic medical institutions. Physicians in Germany had the highest ratio of Nazi party membership of any profession — in 1936, 45% of the physicians in Germany became members of the Nazi Party; by 1942, 50% had joined.

The War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg laid blame squarely upon the bulk of the German medical profession: “. . . far from opposing the Nazi state militantly, part of the medical profession co-operated consciously and even willingly, while the remainder acquiesced in silence. Therefore our regretful but inevitable judgment must be that the responsibility for the inhumane perpetrations of Dr. Brandt . . and others, rests in large measure upon the bulk of the medical profession; because the profession without vigorous protest, permitted itself to be ruled by such men.” (War Crimes Tribunal. ‘Doctors of Infamy’1948)

General Telford Taylor Opens the proceedings:

It is our deep obligation to all peoples of the world to show why and how these things happened. It is incumbent upon us to set forth with conspicuous clarity the ideas and motives which moved these defendants to treat their fellow men as less than beasts. The perverse thoughts and distorted concepts which brought about these savageries are not dead. They cannot be killed by force of arms. They must not become a spreading cancer in the breast of humanity.

The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated.

For a comprehensive list of Nazi medical experiments, see the Nuremberg indictments; the website: Nazi Medicine and Nazi Doctors — Stories & Pictures; see also, Scrapbookpages.Blog; Read: Paul J Weindling. Victims and Survivors . . . Science and Suffering in the Holocaust, 2014)