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Kurt Blome

Kurt Blome (* 1894; 1969) was a high-ranking Nazi scientist before and during the Second World War. He was a deputy of the Reich Health Leader (Reichsgesundheitsführer) and Plenipotentiary for Cancer Research in the Reich Research Council. Blome captured the spirit of his medical identity in an autobiographical book, Arzt im Kampf (Physician in Struggle), in which he exuberantly equated medical and military power in their battle for life and death.

Blome had been arrested on 17 May 1945 by an agent of the United States Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC, an army intelligence service) in Munich, and he had no papers except his driving licence. After some weeks of custody, in which the CIC checked on his identity, Blome was taken to the Kransberg Castle (medieval castle north of Frankfurt) by an escort.

A few days after his arrival at the castle a secret message was transmitted to Operation Alsos, an Anglo-American team of experts, whose order was to investigate the state of German and Italian weapons technology towards end of war:

"In 1943 Blome was studying bacteriological warfare, although officially he was involved in cancer research, which was however only a camouflage. Blome additionally served as deputy health minister of the Reich. Would like you to send investigators?"

Blome admitted that he had been ordered in 1943 to experiment with plague vaccines on concentration camp prisoners. He was tried at the Doctors' Trial in 1947 on charges of practising euthanasia (extermination of sick prisoners), and conducting experiments on humans. Although acquitted, his earlier admissions were well known, and it was generally accepted that he had indeed participated in the gruesome experiments (there is evidence that Blome experimented with Sarin gas on Auschwitz prisoners).

It is believed that American intervention saved Blome from the gallows. In return Blome agreed to provide information to the Americans about his experiments in the Dachau concentration camp and advice in the development of their own germ warfare program. Two months after his Nuremberg acquittal, Blome was transferred to the USA in the frame of Operation Paperclip and interviewed at Camp David, Maryland by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency about biological warfare. In 1951, he was hired by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps to work on chemical warfare. His file neglected to mention Nuremberg.

Eventually, Blome was arrested by French authorities, convicted of war crimes, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

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