The Doctors

Eight of the doctors charged were German Air Force medical service members. Seven of the doctors were members of the Nazi Party medical service. Finally, the remaining eight doctors held top positions in the Nazi medical service (1). This included Karl Brandt, who was Adolf Hitler’s personal escort doctor.

Portrait of Karl Brandt
Portrait of Dr. Karl Brandt at the Nuremberg Doctor's Trial. Courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The prosecution highlighted the relationships of the victims and their perpetrators, coming to the conclusion that the doctors held no moralities for their victims. Thus, the doctors were willing to gather every piece of scientific evidence they could from them.

The physicians aimed to develop ways to kill large numbers of people, and they would disguise them as scientific experiments. Their objectives were clear to one another from the beginning, and all of the doctors had shared a final goal. 

Brig. Gen. Telford Taylor presents the opening statement for the prosecution in the Doctors' Trial
Brig. Gen. Telford Taylor presenting the opening prosecution statement. Courtesy of OMGUS Military Tribunal.

Those who were highly valued and trusted in society were given the tools to commit genocide upon their communities, which proves that those in power can easily target and influence professionals. Without the help of these doctors, the Nazis would not have been able to commit the crimes that they did.

“The true object of these experiments was not how to rescue or to cure, but how to destroy and kill” - Prosecutor Gen. Telford Taylor

  1. Mellanby, Kenneth. “Medical Experiments On Human Beings In Concentration Camps In Nazi Germany.” The British Medical Journal 1, no. 4490 (1947): 148–50.