Spotted Fever (Fleckfieber) Experiments


[It was definitely ascertained in the course of the proceedings, by both prosecution and defense, that the correct translation of "Fleckfieber" is typhus. A finding to this effect is contained in the judgment. A similar initial inadequate translation occurred in the case of "typhus" and "paratyphus" which should be rendered as typhoid and paratyphoid.] From about December 1941 to about February 1945 experiments were conducted at the Buchenwald and Natzweiler concentration camps, for the benefit of the German Armed Forces, to investigate the effectiveness of spotted fever and other vaccines.

At Buchenwald numerous healthy inmates were deliberately infected with spotted fever virus in order to keep the virus alive; over 90 percent of the victims died as a result. Other healthy inmates were used to determine the effectiveness of different spotted fever vaccines and of various chemical substances. In the course of these experiments 75 percent of the selected number of inmates were vaccinated with one of the vaccines or nourished with one of the chemical substances and, after a period of 3 to 4 weeks, were infected with spotted fever germs. The remaining 25 percent were infected without any previous protection in order to compare the effectiveness of the vaccines and the chemical substances. As a result, hundreds of the persons experimented upon died.

Experiments with yellow fever, smallpox, typhus, paratyphus [It was definitely ascertained in the course of the proceedings, by both prosecution and defense, that the correct translation of "Fleckfieber" is typhus. A finding to this effect is contained in the judgment. A similar initial inadequate translation occurred in the case of "typhus" and "paratyphus" which should be rendered as typhoid and paratyphoid] A and B, cholera, and diphtheria were also conducted. Similar experiments with like results were conducted at Natzweiler concentration camp. The defendants Karl Brandt, Handloser, Rostock, Schroeder, Genzken, Gebhardt, Rudolf Brandt, Mrugowsky, Poppendick, Sievers, Rose, Becker-Freyseng, and Hoven are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.


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.