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Viktor Brack Nazi organiser of the Euthanasia Programme

Viktor Brack testifies in his own defense at the Doctors' Trial in Nuremberg in 1947
Viktor Brack testifies in his own defense at the Doctors' Trial in Nuremberg in 1947

Viktor Brack (November 9, 1904-June 2, 1948) was the organiser of the Euthanasia Programme, Operation T4, where the Nazi state systematically murdered German disabled people. Following this, Brack was one of the men responsible for the gassing of Jews in the extermination camps, and he conferred with Odilo Globocnik about the practical implementation of the Final Solution. Brack was sentenced to death in 1947 and executed in 1948.


In 1929, Viktor Brack became a member of the NSDAP and the SS. In 1936, he supervised the operation of Office 2 (Amt 2) in the Chancellery of the Führer in Berlin. The office examined complaints received by the Führer from all parts of Germany. In November 1940, Brack was promoted to the grade of SS Oberführer (Senior Colonel).

During the Doctors' Trial Brack testified from the witness stand that after 1941, when the extermination of Jewish population by Nazis was at full capacity, Heinrich Himmler ordered him to contact physicians involved previously in the Euthanasia Program to find out a way of sterilizing young and strong Jews capable of labour for use in the German war effort. The idea was to develop a method by which the victim could be sterilized without being aware of the process.

In March of 1941, Brack fulfilled his assignment and prepared a report for Heinrich Himmler, in which he described the method of sterilizing patients using X-rays on a large scale and without the subject's knowledge of the fact until the effects made themselves felt.

On 23 June, 1942 Brack wrote the following letter to Himmler:

Dear Reichsführer, among 10 millions of Jews in Europe, there are,I figure, at least 2-3 millions of men and women who are fit enough to work. Considering the extraordinary difficulties the labor problem presents us with, I hold the view that those 2-3 millions should be specially selected and preserved. This can however only be done if at the same time they are rendered incapable to propagate. About a year ago I reported to you that agents of mine have completed the experiments necessary for this purpose. I would like to recall these facts once more. Sterilization, as normally performed on persons with hereditary diseases is here out of the question, because it takes too long and is too expensive. Castration by X-ray however is not only relatively cheap, but can also be performed on many thousands in the shortest time. I think that at this time it is already irrelevant whether the people in question become aware of having been castrated after some weeks or months, once they feel the effects. Should you, Reichsfüuehrer, decide to choose this way in the interest of the preservation of labor, then Reichsleiter Bouhler would be prepared to place all physicians and other personnel needed for this work at your disposal. Likewise he requested me to inform you that then I would have to order the apparatus so urgently needed with the greatest speed. Heil Hitler! Yours

Following the letter, Himmler ordered the procedure to be tested on prisoners in Auschwitz. Since Brack was transferred to an SS division, his deputy Blankenburg would undertake the task and "immediately take the necessary measures and get in touch with the chiefs of the main offices of the concentration camps."

The Nuremberg Trial

From testimony given by a French physician of Jewish descent, who was a prisoner in Auschwitz from September 1943 to January 1945, it can be found that sterilization of Jewish inmates was carried out in Birkenau camp by SS doctors. About 100 male Poles who had been sterilized at Birkenau were attended to by the witness after the operation. According to the witness, members of the group were later castrated by camp physicians.

More evidence was presented, from which it is clear that sterilization using X-rays was conducted on other persecuted groups. They also were subjected to the excruciatingly painful procedure, and later castrated.

Also, during the Doctors' Trial at Nuremberg, Brack was implicated in the execution of the Euthanasia Program which later emerged as the famous "Action 14 f 13"; the extermination of those concentration camp inmates deemed unable to work.

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