Some sixty years after the Nuremberg trials, interest in the leading figures of the Third Reich continues unabated. Here, Ulf Schmidt recounts the meteoric rise of one of Hitler's most trusted advisers, Karl Brandt. As Reich Commissioner for Health and Sanitation, Karl Brandt became the highest medical authority in the Nazi regime. He was entrusted with the killing of handicapped children and adults - the so-called ‘Euthanasia' Program - and played a part in illegal medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. What drove a rational, highly cultured, idealistic and talented young medic to become responsible for mass murder and criminal human experimentation on a previously unimaginable scale?
This riveting biography explores in detail the level of culpability of one of the most intriguing of the Nuremberg Nazis. Ulf Schmidt presents an incisive study of Brandt's political power as a way of exploring the contradictions of Nazi medicine in which the care for wounded civilians and soldiers existed side by side with the murder of tens of thousands of unwanted people. Brandt's eventual capture and trial at Nuremberg in 1947 is also described in detail. This book is the first major biography of Brandt, featuring substantial unseen documentation, and a lasting reminder of the horrors of the Third Reich.
- Titre : Karl Brandt the nazi doctor
- Author : Ulf Schmidt
- ISBN-13 : 9781847250315
- Publisher : Bloomsbury
- Publication date : 15/08/2007
Karl Brandt (1904-1948) was for a time the leading medical authority in the Nazi regime. He was responsible for the euthanasia program, in which tens of thousands of handicapped individuals were killed. But that Brandt (who also served for a time as Hitler's physician) left the details up to subordinates didn't help him after the war, at Nuremberg, where he was convicted and executed for his crimes. As British historian Schmidt (Justice at Nuremberg: Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors' Trial) shows, a belief in eugenics, combined with a dash of ambition, motivated Brandt. During the war, he saw it as "legitimate to sacrifice individual human lives in the name of science."
Outside of the diaries he wrote during the Nuremberg trials, which Schmidt had partial access to, Brandt left few writings, so Schmidt is forced to make informed guesses about the degree of Brandt's involvement in certain projects, such as the gruesome medical experiments conducted on concentration camp inmates, as well as about some of his motivations. Schmidt concludes that whether Brandt backed the genocide of the Jews is almost impossible to know. There's a lot to wade through, but readers who do will learn about a man of culture and science who turned medicine into a tool of murder. B&w illus., maps. (Aug.)
Meet the Author
Dr Ulf Schmidt is Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent, Canterbury, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Research Associate at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford.