SS-Hauptsturmführer Kurt Heissmeyer

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Max Williams
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SS-Hauptsturmführer Kurt Heissmeyer

Post by Max Williams » 23 Dec 2004 18:15

Can anyone add information to the following about Kurt Heissmeyer? This extract comes from and ABR.
Does anyone have a photo of him please?

Kurt Heissmeyer was raised in an authoritarian home in Sanderhausen, Thuringia. His uncle was SS-Obergruppenführer August Heissmeyer; his aunt was the head of the Women’s League of the Reich. As a student in Marburg, Heissmeyer joined an anti-semitic fraternity called Arminia. He was licensed to practice medicine in 1933 and began his training in Freiburg, followed by a stint in the Davos-Clavadel clinic. Heissmeyer became a resident in Auguste-Victoria Hospital in Berlin, and in 1937 he joined the Nazi Party. A year later, Heissmeyer became senior physician at Hohenlychen, a health spa run by the Red Cross at Uckermark, 70 miles north of Berlin. Heissmeyer eventually became assistant director of Hohenlychen. This position allowed Heissmeyer to hobnob with top SS officers and politicians from Berlin and SS leaders from the nearby Ravensbrück concentration camp. For these soldiers and bureaucrats, Hohenlychen was a sanctuary, removed from the threat of bombs in the larger cities. Even Hitler had visited several times.

As assistant director at Hohenlychen, Heissmeyer felt compelled to engage in scholarly activity. Publishing scientific papers would ensure his career advancement and maintain his status with the physicians around him, most of whom were already engaged in medical research. In 1943, Heissmeyer wrote a paper entitled, “Principles of Present and Future Problems of TB Sanatoriums.” In it, he argued that racially inferior patients, like Jews, were less resistant to diseases like tuberculosis, than racially superior patients. He counselled physicians to base their treatments on the race of the patient, and he determined that Jewish subjects would be more useful for his research due to their inherent weakness.

In the spring of 1944, a meeting was held at Hohenlychen between Heissmeyer and Drs. Leonardo Conti, Ernst Grawitz, Karl Gebhardt, and several others. Conti was the chief physician of the SS, Grawitz was the state secretary for health in the Reich ministry of the interior, and Gebhardt was the medical director of Hohenlychen. As head of the SS health services, Grawitz bore administrative responsibility for medical experiments on prisoners. Heissmeyer organized the conference to propose an experiment seeking a cure for tuberculosis; his subjects would be prisoners. Heissmeyer insisted upon using humans, arguing that the constitution of animals was not the same as man. He reasoned that pulmonary tuberculosis could be combated by inducing a cutaneous form of the disease, thereby bolstering the resistance of the organism.
Heissmeyer’s theory was first proposed by the Kutschera-Aichbergens, a father and son from Austria. In several papers between 1929 and 1939, they argued that the immunity of a patient with pulmonary tuberculosis could be augmented by implanting subcutaneous tubercular nodules. Pulmonologists throughout the world had concluded that this thesis was erroneous; however, Heissmeyer was unaware of this. The physicians he addressed at Hohenlychen were also ignorant of current research in this area.

Following the lecture, Gebhardt asked Conti if Heissmeyer could use prisoners from Ravensbrück for his experiments. Conti and Grawitz both agreed, and only Heinrich Himmler’s permission was needed to begin. Although it was clear that Heissmeyer lacked qualifications to conduct such research, he had valuable connections. His Uncle August was a general in the Waffen-SS and Police, and his friend, SS-General Oswald Pohl, was the director of the SS economic and administrative office. Through these connections, the Reichsführer’s permission was obtained. It was decided, however, that the experiments were to take place at the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg, rather than at Ravensbrück.
In April 1944, Heissmeyer and Enno Lolling, director of the health institute of the SS, visited Neuengamme. They met Lagerkommandant Max Pauly and the Standortarzt, Dr. Alfred Trzebinski. Trzebinski would supervise Heissmeyer’s experiments. Barracks 4a had already been designated “Special Section Heissmeyer.”

In June 1944, Heissmeyer enthusiastically began his experiments at Neuengamme. He obtained a strain of live tubercle bacilli from a Berlin bacteriologist named Meinicke. Meinicke was unaware of Heissmeyer’s intentions, and warned him against testing the bacteria on people. Heissmeyer initially injected 12 guinea pigs but was unwilling to wait for results. He was anxious to begin human experiments as quickly as possible and to emulate Karl Gebhardt, who was experimenting with prisoners at Ravensbrück. Every Wednesday, Heissmeyer traveled 165 miles from Hohenlychen to supervise his experiments on the prisoners of Neuengamme.
The tubercle bacteria were kept in Heissmeyer’s laboratory in Barracks 4. Herbert Kirst, a German orderly, was taught by Heissmeyer how to prepare the inocula. No doses were calculated; no protective clothing was worn.

Heissmeyer’s initial experiments were on adult prisoners. In a Barracks 1 x-ray room, Heissmeyer intubated the tracheas of his victims with a rubber tube. The position of the tube was checked to verify placement into the lung, and the tubercle bacteria were injected. Heiss-meyer also injected bacterial suspensions subcutaneously. Heissmeyer offered no explanations of his procedure to inmates, nor did he answer any questions. Most of the prisoners were Russians and Poles. As inmates of Neuengamme, they had no rights.

Heissmeyer observed his patients for approximately one month. Then, on “Heissmeyer Day,” they were hanged in preparation for autopsy. By November 1944, it dawned on Heissmeyer that the condition of all his inmates had worsened following subcutaneous tubercle inoculation. He realized, as the world medical community had over a decade earlier, that the theory proposed by the Kutschera-Aichbergens was false. Although the medical records from only 32 adult experiments have been preserved, it is believed that Heissmeyer experimented on over 100 individuals.

Undaunted, Heissmeyer was anxious to complete the second phase of his research. He ordered 20 children with the intention of immunizing them against tuberculosis. Heissmeyer wanted Jewish children, because they represented an inferior and weaker race; immunization of these subjects would be spectacular.

The children were selected from the Auschwitz concentration camp. They were ten girls and ten boys, ranging in age from five to 12. Mania Altman and Eleonora Witonska, age five, Marek James, age six, and Roman Witonski, age seven, were from Radom. Riwka Herszberg, age seven, was from Zdunska-Wola; Ruchla Zylberberg, age nine, was from Zawichost; and Eduard Reichenbaum, age 10, was from Katowice. Lea Klygerman and H. Wasserman, age eight, Marek Steinbaum, age 10, Blumel Mekler and Surcis Goldinger, age 11, Roman Zeller and Lelka Birnbaum, age 12, were also from Poland. Eight-year-old Alexander Hornemann and his 12-year-old brother, Eduard were from Eindhoven. W. Junglieb was a 12-year-old from Yugoslavia. Jacqueline Morgenstern and Georges Kohn were 12-year-olds from Paris; and Sergio de Simone, from Naples, was seven. Their two-day journey to Neuengamme was made by rail. During the trip, the children were fed well; their diets included milk and chocolate. The fate of these children was first chronicled by Günther Schwarberg, a German journalist, in The Murders at Bullenhusen Damm (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980).

As Heissmeyer began his experiments on the children, Allied forces were crossing the Rhine. Heissmeyer assigned one guinea pig to each of the children of Barracks 4A; they shared the same numbers. Heissmeyer injected the guinea pigs and the children with the same inocula. After one month, despite subcutaneous injections of tubercle bacteria, all of the children were ill. As their condition worsened, Heissmeyer thought it would be valuable to see how the axillary glands of the children had reacted to the bacteria. Since he was not a surgeon, Heissmeyer ordered a Czech inmate surgeon, Bogumil Doclik, to perform lymph node dissections. The procedures were performed under local anaesthesia, and the wounds were packed open, rather than sutured closed. One week after surgery, the packing was removed. Within two weeks, each child had undergone bilateral axillary node sampling. The glands were preserved in formalin and when all the procedures were completed, Heissmeyer took the specimens back to Hohenlychen where they were examined by Dr. Hans Klein, the head of pathology.

The children grew weaker and were confined to their barracks. Heissmeyer had a dilemma: What to do with 20 sick and dying Jewish children? He asked Oswald Pohl for advice. In March 1945, while Patton’s Third Army advanced into Germany, Pohl and Rudolph Höss, the Auschwitz Kommandant, visited Neuengamme. The fate of the children was too difficult for Pohl to decide, so he deferred to the Reichsführer.

On April 20, 1945, Hitler was celebrating his 56th and last birthday in a Berlin bunker. As he and his aides sipped juice and champagne, word was received in Neuengamme that the children were to be murdered by gas or poison. Two days earlier, the U.S. First Army had defeated General Model and captured more than 300,000 German soldiers. The fighting in Germany had ended, and British troops were on the outskirts of Hamburg.

On the evening of Hitler’s birthday, the children, their caretakers, and some Russian prisoners were loaded into a mail truck and taken to No. 92/94 Bullenhuser Damm, in the Rothenburgsort district of Hamburg. Adolph Peterson drove, Wilhelm Dreiman brought rope, and Adolf Speck guarded the children. They unloaded their cargo into the cellar.

The Hamburg SS had taken over No. 92/94 Bullen-huser Damm two years earlier. It was a bombed out school, converted into a satellite camp of Neuengamme. SS-Unterscharführer Ewald Jauch and his deputy, SS-Rottenführer Johann Frahm ran the camp. They answer-ed to SS-Obersturmführer Arnold Strippel, who was second in command to Lagerkommandant Pauly.
Arnold Strippel was cruel and impulsive. During six tours of duty in various concentration camps, and as a guard in Sachsenburg, a Rapportführer in Buchenwald, and as an Untersturmführer in Majdanek, Strippel became adept at torture. His favourite methods included simple beatings with his fists and feet, or with various whips and clubs, while a prisoner was strapped over a sawhorse. Strippel frequently indulged in tree-hanging, where a prisoner was suspended by his arms bound behind him. Strippel determined what had to be done with the Heissmeyer children and brooked no dissent. Lacking poison, as directed by Berlin, he improvised.

Wilhelm Dreiman attached four ropes to ceiling pipes in Bullenhuser Damm. The children’s French physicians, Gabriel Florence and René Quenouille, and their Dutch caretakers, Anton Hölzel and Dirk Deutekom, were hanged. So were the six Russian prisoners from Neuengamme.
Following these murders, Frahm told the children to get undressed; they were going to be vaccinated against typhus. Instead, each of the children received an injection of morphine by Dr. Trzebinski; most of them fell asleep. The six who remained awake were given a second injection. Trzebinski later claimed, “I knew then what terrible fate was awaiting the children, and I wanted to make at least their last hours more tolerable.”

Frahm lifted the sickest child, Georges Kohn, and brought him into an adjacent room where two nooses hung from hooks on the wall. “He’s going to bed now,” he told the other children. Frahm placed the boy into one of the nooses, but Kohn was so frail that the noose would not tighten. Frahm placed the child in a bear hug and pulled down, causing the noose to close. Two at a time, the children were brought into the boiler room and one at a time, hanged in the same manner. The murders were supervised by Arnold Strippel and Ewald Jauch. Following the massacre of the children, 18 more Russian prisoners were hanged. Strippel rewarded Jauch and Frahm with cigarettes and whiskey. Dr. Trzebinski had a cup of coffee and ordered Frahm to burn the children’s clothing. Peterson, Dreiman, Speck, and Trzebinski returned to Neuengamme. Jauch and Frahm remained at Bullenhuser Damm, locked up the corpses, and slept.
Now Max Pauly had a dilemma: What to do with the gaunt corpses of 20 children, bearing evidence of medical testing and murder? While Pauly demurred, Strippel took the initiative again. He returned to Bullenhuser Damm the next night, in the same truck that had originally transported the children. The corpses were loaded into the truck and returned to Neuengamme, where they were cremated under the direction of SS-Unterscharführer Wilhelm Brake. The war in Europe ended 17 days later.

Wilhelm Dreimann, Adolph Speck, Alfred Trzebinski, Max Pauly, Johann Frahm, and Ewald Jauch were captured soon after the war ended. They were tried, and executed by hanging in October 1946.

Hans Petersen fled to Denmark, where he served a short prison sentence in 1946 for his membership in the SS. He died in Sonderburg in December 1967.
Hans Klein was not pursued. He became an instructor of forensic medicine at the University of Heidelberg.

Heissmeyer fled Hohenlychen on April 21, 1945 in civilian clothing. He returned to Sanger-hausen in Thuringia, where he assisted his father with his medical practice. Heissmeyer eventually settled in Magdeburg, Gellerstrasse # 12 as a “lung specialist.” For 18 years, he enjoyed a successful practice as the director of the only private TB clinic in Germany. Heissmeyer’s practice was so large that he was able to purchase homes for each of his three children. He was one of Magdeburg’s outstanding citizens.

Heissmeyer would have continued prospering in obscurity if it were not for an article that appeared in Stern, in 1959, deploring the omission of Nazi crimes from the curricula of German schoolchildren. As an example, the murders of the children at Bullenhusen Damm were cited. The article piqued the interest of a retired economist from Nuremberg. He began making inquiries about Heissmeyer, and four years later, after verification of his identity, Heissmeyer was arrested by the East German General Prosecutor’s Office. He was charged with crimes against humanity and placed in a Berlin prison. Heissmeyer denied the accusations at first, but eventually led investigators to a box he had buried in the garden of his house in Hohenlychen. The box contained documents and photographs relating to his experiments on children.
Heissmeyer’s trial began on June 21, 1966. On June 30, he was sentenced to life imprisonment at Bautzen. Fourteen months later, he died of a heart attack.

After the massacre at Bullenhusen Damm, Arnold Strippel also went into hiding. He gained refuge in the home of an old SS friend in Büdelsdorf and later worked as a farmhand in Hesse. In 1948, Strippel presented himself to the American internment camp in Darmstadt and was dismissed after receiving proper documentation. Later that year, in Frankfurt, Strippel was spotted by a former Buchenwald inmate whom Strippel had tortured. The man summoned the police and Strippel was arrested.

The first trial against Strippel began on May 31, 1949, in Frankfurt. He was charged with murdering 21 Jewish prisoners in Buchenwald and of torturing others. On June 1, 1949, he was sentenced to 21 life terms plus an additional ten years. He was remanded to Butzbach prison.
Through a series of legal manoeuvrings, the arrest order against Strippel was rescinded in 1969. On April 21 of that year, he left Butzbach. Five months later, however, a new trial began against Strippel. It lasted five months, and the Frankfurt court affirmed that while Strippel had participated in the murders of 21 Jews in Buchenwald, he had not actually fired any fatal shots. Strippel was sentenced to time served in Butzbach, and he received 121,500 marks in compensation for same. Strippel moved to Frankfurt-Kalbach, purchased a home, and lived quietly until 1975, when he was accused of complicity in the murders of 41 inmates at Majdanek. Strippel was found guilty of this crime as well, and ordered not to leave Germany.

On December 12, 1983, the Hamburg public prosecutor filed charges against Strippel for the murders of the children at Bullenhusen Damm, and 22 Neuengamme inmates. After three years of additional legal wrangling, Strippel was deemed unfit to stand trial. He disappeared from public view and is believed to have died in Frankfurt-Kalbach, about 1995.

Neuengamme Trial (18 Mar 1946 - 13th May 1946)
1.Max Pauly : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
2.SS Dr Bruno Kitt : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
3.Anton Thumann : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
4.Karl Totzauer : 20 Years Imprisonment
5.Johann Reese : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
6.Willy Warnke : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
7.Karl Wiedemann : 15 Years Imprisonment
8.SS Dr Alfred Trzebinski : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
9.Walter Kummel : 10 Years Imprisonment
10.Heinrich Ruge : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
11.Wilhem Bahr : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
12.Andreas Brems : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
13.Wilhelm Dreimann : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)
14. Adolf Speck : The Death Sentence (Executed on the 8th October 1946)

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Dieter Zinke
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Post by Dieter Zinke » 23 Dec 2004 19:07


I will give you some informations and supplements, but I need several days. Sorry for my answer not before 2005.


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Post by Ludger » 23 Dec 2004 19:08

Hi Max,


Verfahren Lfd.Nr.1057
Tatkomplex: NS-Gewaltverbrechen in Haftstätten
Heißmeyer, Kurt lebenslänglich
LG/BG Magdeburg 660630 Az.: IBs4/66
Tatland: BRD
Tatort: KL Neuengamme
Tatzeit: 4406-4504
Opfer: Häftlinge, Juden
Nationalität: Deutsche, Französische, Polnische, Sowjetische
Dienststelle: Haftstättenpersonal KL Neuengamme
Verfahrensgegenstand: Durchführung medizinischer Experimente an mindestens 52 Häftlingen, darunter 20 Kindern, durch Infizierung mit Tuberkulosebazillen, was zum Tode mehrerer Häftlinge führte. Andere Häftlinge wurden exekutiert und anschliessend seziert. Die zu den Experimenten herangezogenen Kinder und deren Betreuer sind im April 1945 von der SS in Hamburg in der Schule am Bullenhuser Damm getötet worden
Veröffentlicht in DDR-Justiz und NS-Verbrechen Band II

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Max Williams
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Post by Max Williams » 24 Dec 2004 11:22

Thank you everyone for your replies, both on the forum and by PM.
Festive greetings,

In memoriam
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Kurt Heissmeyer

Post by jv » 26 Dec 2004 02:09

More info on Dr Kurt Heissmeyer: Der Stern published a series of articles on Kurt Heissmeyer in 1979. Much of the information on the Olokaustos website seems to be based on these articles. Worth reading though (in German).
Best Seasonal Wishes from Down Under!

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Re: SS-Hauptsturmführer Kurt Heissmeyer

Post by paolosilv » 04 Feb 2011 09:50

Hi, is there anything more on Herbert Kirst?
"The tubercle bacteria were kept in Heissmeyer’s laboratory in Barracks 4. Herbert Kirst, a German orderly, was taught by Heissmeyer how to prepare the inocula. No doses were calculated; no protective clothing was worn."
from above.

The prisoner (gefangene) Herbert Kirst gave the children a cut and rubbed drops of bacterial solution into the wound. "
also, "Dr Haussmeyers accomplice Hans Klein was appointed professor at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and died in 1984." source:, Bullenhuserdamm

So, Kirst is listed in one source as a 'German orderly', and in the other as a 'prisoner.' In either case, he doesn't seem to have been prosecuted.
Thanks , Paolo

Wilfried Abenaschon
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Re: SS-Hauptsturmführer Kurt Heissmeyer

Post by Wilfried Abenaschon » 18 Mar 2018 14:33


Have found this :

http://konzentrationslager-neuengamme.b ... t-wer.html

It says that the pic above does not show the right man...


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