Johann Paul Kremer
SS-Obersturmführer Johann Paul Kremer, M.D., Ph.D., was an assistant professor at the University of Münster. As a physician of the Waffen SS, Kremer was ordered to Auschwitz on August 30, 1942, where he replaced a doctor who had fallen sick. He carried out his duties there only for a short time — less than 3 months.
His job was to assess prisoners attempting to gain admission to the hospital. Kremer ordered most of them killed by phenol injection. He selected prisoners who struck him as particularly good experimental material, and questioned them just before their deaths, as they lay on the autopsy table awaiting injection, about such personal details as their weight before arrest and any medicines they had used recently. In some cases, he ordered these prisoners photographed.
He witnessed gassings in Auschwitz and wrote about them in his diary:
After the war, Johann Paul Kremer testified about his diary. An extract is found in The Good Old Days: The Holocaust As Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders, Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and Volker Riess, Eds., 1991, p. 258:
Kremer was tried at the Auschwitz Trial in November-December 1947. Through his diary and depositions, the court concluded that Kremer participated 14 times in mass murders (gassings). Kremer said he sat with the driver and, after the completion by SS men of their duties, he drove away. Prosecutors said that witnesses questioned in the trial of the camp Commandant, Rudolf Höss, maintained that the duty of doctors assigned to the gassings was to supervise the poisoning of the prisoners and to decide when the gas chambers were to be opened, and that there was no reason to believe Kremer's duties were different..
According to Kremer's diary, he also was involved on September. 1, 1942, in the shooting of some undefined persons with small caliber arms; on October 17, in 11 executions; on October 19, in the execution of 7 Polish civilians; on October 24, in "stuffing" 6 women who had participated in an uprising.
At the Block No. 28 clinic in the main camp, Kremer carried out assessments of prisoners attempting to gain admission to the hospital. Many of them were at the point of exhaustion, in the "Musselman" state, in the final stages of starvation to death. One witness testified that Kremer carried out the "sick block" (hospital) selections of the prisoner in as ruthless a manner as that of the other SS doctors. Kremer did not examine the sick, he assessed them by their appearance.
Kremer ordered most of them killed by phenol injection. Kremer selected prisoners who struck him as particularly good experimental material, and questioned them just before their deaths, as they lay on the autopsy table awaiting injection, about such personal details as their weight before arrest and any medicines they had used recently. In some cases, he ordered these prisoners photographed. Before their bodies were cold, they were subjected to autopsies and slides were made for Kremer of the liver, spleen, and pancreas. Kremer said he was interested in the changes that occur in the human body as a result of starvation. He was given permission to collect material that interested him from prisoners put to death by injections of phenol.
The prosecution was unable to calculate the exact number of victims for whose death he was responsible, but, in one diary entry Kremer had noted that 1,600 people had been murdered in one day. The prosecutors estimated that given Kremer's involvement in the gassings, he was likely to have been involved in the deaths of several thousand prisoners.
Kremer was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to death. The sentence was later commutted to life imprisonment.
Sources: Angels of Death; The Mazal Library; The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum