August Hirt

August Hirt ( Mannheim , 28 as April as 1898 – Schönenbach , 2 as June as 1945 ) was a doctor German . Professor of anatomy at the University of Greifswald from 1936 , during World War II was part of the SS officer of the Ahnenerbe and in 1941 was appointed director of the Anatomical Institute of the Reichsuniversitat in Strasbourg , where experiments and tests on prisoner bodies Murdered and classified as war crimes during the trial of the Nuremberg judges . Hirt managed to evade allied forces and according to witnesses, committed suicide or disappeared before he could be arrested and tried.

Medical career

After being seriously injured in 1916 during World War I serving as a volunteer, Hirt received the Iron Cross and began his medical studies at the University of Heidelberg where he presented his thesis in anatomy in 1922 and later specialized in fluorescent microscopy. In 1933 he joined the Nazi Party and during World War II reached the rank of officer SS Obersturmführer and in 1941, the superior of Sturmbannführer before joining the Ahnenerbe in 1942 1 and receive the commission of the direction of the Anatomical Institute of Strasbourg.

At the head of the Institute, along with Sigmund Rascher and Wolfram Sievers , Hirt planned and carried out experiments and trials in which toxic or biological agents prisoners were inoculated 2 3 of Natzweiler-Struthof and Dachau . In particular, he was responsible for the collection of skeletons, mutilated bodies and human fragments constituted with the mortal remains of 86 prisoners kept in alcohol in the anatomical of Strasbourg. 4

The collection of the doctor Hirt

Entrance to the Institute of Anatomy of Strasbourg.

After the arrival of the troops of the 2nd Armored Division of General Leclerc in Strasbourg on November 23, 1944 a mission of the French army explored the basements of the anatomical institute in search of documents discovering in its place dozens of human bodies and fragments submerged in vats Of alcohol. From December 17, 1944, a team of medical officers from the war crimes investigation body interrogated several witnesses and moved to the Struthof-Naztweiler camp to report on the episode of the Hirt collection. 5 Numerous documents signed by the administrative director of the Ahnenerbe, Wolfram Sievers , allowed to reconstruct the methodical operation whose mission was to create a sample of skeletons to serve as testimony to “future generations” of what would have been the “Jewish race one Once exterminated. ” 6

In coordination with Adolf Eichmann , promoter of the Endlössung , Sievers sought, according to Hirt’s instructions, to send enough prisoners in good health to Struthof’s gas chamber, using for his murder hydrogen cyanide salts prepared by Hirt himself . The executed execution in several batches and supervised by the Sturmführer of the field Josef Kramer , ended the life of 86 people of which 30 were women, whereas a victim 87 was shot down to resist resistance. 7 The bodies were sent to Strasbourg where they remained preserved until a year later, August of 1944 , when Hirt ordered “the partition of the bodies and their decapitation. The gold teeth were to be given to him and the heads burned. These and other organs were incinerated in the cemetery of Strasbourg-Robertsau. 8 By order of Hirt, all the tattoos with the registration numbers on the skin of the bodies were removed except those of the only identified body of the 86, that of the Berlin Jew of Polish origin Menachem Tafel. Referring to Fig.

Mysterious end

According to the testimony of one of his collaborators, Hirt escaped on November 15, 1944, shortly before the Allied troops entered Strasbourg, taking refuge in Tubingen where the Reichsuniversitat had been evacuated . After the French occupation of this part of the Black Forest , Hirt managed to camouflage itself between the civil refugees and to circumvent the surveillance of the French soldiers, until it was presented to the mayor of the town of Schönenbach where, according to witnesses, Shot in the heart although according to other testimonies, would have managed to escape like so many other Nazis, avoiding in both cases its capture, process and condemnation as if it was the end of Sievers. 10


  1. Back to top↑ (Courand 2005: 103)
  2. Back to top↑ Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10. Nuremberg, October 1946-April 1949. Washington, DC: USGPO, 1949-1953. INDICTMENT , p . Available in [1]
  3. Back to top↑ Nürnberg Military Tribunal. Staff Evidence Analysis Page NO-085. Available in [2]
  4. Back to top↑ Tests of Hirt’s experiments
  5. Back to top↑ (Courand 2005: 101)
  6. Back to top↑ (Courand 2005: 102)
  7. Back to top↑ Confession of Henri Henrypierre, employee of Hirt in the Institute (Courand 2005: 109-111)
  8. Back to top↑ Testimony of Otto Bong, employee of Hirt (Courand 2005: 111)
  9. Back to top↑ In his memory founded the Cercle Menahem Taffel , association of French and German doctors against negationist arguments, see [3]
  10. Back to top↑ (Courand 2005: 112-113)