The Doctors Trial - Introduction
(December 9, 1946-August 20, 1947)
On December 9, 1946, an American military tribunal opened criminal proceedings against 23 leading German physicians and administrators for their willing participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity. In Nazi Germany, German physicians planned and enacted the "Euthanasia" Program, the systematic killing of those they deemed "unworthy of life." The victims included the mentally retarded, the institutionalized mentally ill, and the physically impaired. Further, during World War II, German physicians conducted pseudoscientific medical experiments utilizing thousands of concentration camp prisoners without their consent. Most died or were permanently crippled as a result. Most of the victims were Jews, Poles, Russians, and also Roma (Gypsies). After almost 140 days of proceedings, including the testimony of 85 witnesses and the submission of almost 1,500 documents, the American judges pronounced their verdict on August 20, 1947. Sixteen of the doctors were found guilty. Seven were sentenced to death. They were executed on June 2, 1948.
Sources: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10. Nuremberg, October 1946 - April 1949. Washington D.C.: U.S. G.P.O, 1949-1953.