Carl Værnet

Carl Peter Vaernet ( Astrup , Aarhus , Denmark , 28 of April of 1893 – Buenos Aires , Argentina , 25 of November of 1965 ) was a more of the SS and doctor at the Buchenwald concentration camp . He experimented extensively with hormones and other possible remedies to “cure” homosexuality , whose consequences would die at least 13 prisoners in the weeks following treatment. His investigations were under the authority of the head of the Gestapo , Heinrich Himmler .


Early years

Carl Peter Vaernet was born with the name of Carl Peder Jensen, in the heart of a rich Danish family of horse dealers. In August 1920 she married Edith Frida Hamershoj, of whom she had three children, the first of whom, Kjeld Vaernet, in November of the same year. In December of 1921 it changes its name Jensen, very common in Denmark, by the one of Vaernet. In 1923 Vaernet graduated in medicine along with Fritz Clausen , later a head of the Danish National Socialist party.

After graduating, Vaernet left his family and moved to Germany , where he married Gurli Marie (1902-1955), of whom he has three other children. At this time he specializes in Endocrinology and meets Knud Sand, a proponent of the castration of homosexuals in Denmark, before the Danish State legalized it in 1930. In 1932 Vaernet began his endocrinological experiments using cats; his colleague and rival Sand, in turn, makes parallel experiments with chickens, based on the assumption that homosexuality could be “cured” with the transplantation of testicles healthy subjects “sick”. Between 1932 and 1934, Vaernet after working in two hospitals in Copenhagen, returned to Germany and then went to Paris to pursue his studies and specialize in ultrasound treatment .

In 1939, he returned to Denmark and resumed experiments and studies with testosterone : in 1941 a Danish newspaper claims that the hens used in the experiments sing like roosters.

In the years immediately preceding World War II Vaernet’s fame reaches its peak, making him one of the country’s most important physicians. After the outbreak of the War, his popularity declined drastically because of his good relations with Nazi sympathizer Fritz Clausen and the Reichsbevollmaechtige ( Reich plenipotentiary ) Werner Best , who warmly recommended Vaernet to his own Nazi authorities. Carl’s twin brother, Aage Vaernet joined the Danish Nazi party ( DNSAP ).

The experiments in the field of Buchenwald

In December 1943, Vaernet was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer (major) and transferred to Prague on February 26, 1944, settling with his family in a luxurious palace formerly owned by a Jewish family. Between June and December 1944, Vaernet made several visits to Buchenwald to select and conduct his experiments with homosexual inmates. Vaernet’s collaborators were the medical commander of the Buchenwald camp SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) Gerhard Schiedlausky (hanged in 1947) and the doctor Erwin Ding-Schuler ( committed suicide in 1945, after his capture), that in the long period in which Carried out its “experiments” on typhus caused the death of 200 prisoners .

In a memorandum of July 29, 1944, Schiedlausky reports a visit by Vaernet in the countryside (July 26 of the same year) during which:

During our first conversation we have reached an agreement [with Vaernet] whereby five “authentic” homosexuals will be properly retained to verify their hypotheses. Before the surgical procedure is performed, the hormone levels in urine samples will be examined […] If the results are satisfactory, the surgical procedures will be performed.

Memorandum of Schiedlausky, full text in English

The experiments, the beginning of which was planned for August 1944, were delayed for some weeks because of an aerial bombardment that affected the field area. A first series was made on September 13, 1944. The magazine Studenternes efterretningstjeneste reports that a total of 30 to 40 inmates were affected by the “investigation”: not all were homosexual, some heterosexual or bisexual criminals were also affected. There are safe indications of 17 interventions that consisted of implanting under the skin of a special artificial gland patented by Vaernet, with differences in the dosage of testosterone implanted in the various inmates.

A long letter sent on 30 October 1944 by Vaernet to SS commander SS Grawitz comments, among other things:

[…] The operations at Weimar- Buchenwald were carried out on 13 September 1944 to five homosexual prisoners. Of these, two have been castrated, one sterilized and two “treaties”. All have been implanted the “special sexual gland” male. […]

The previous week, referring to prisoner Bernhard Steinhoff (interne number 21,686), a fifty-five-year-old homosexual theologian, Vaernet wrote:

The wound caused by the operation is cured and there has been no reaction to the implanted gland. The person feels good and has dreams about women […]

Of this first group, two inmates died of postoperative complications. Almost all, at least 13 and perhaps 15, died in the weeks following the intervention.

On 8 December 1944, further experiments were carried out on another 13 prisoners; In the documents appears the name of 7 of them: Reinhold, Schmith, Ledetzky, Boeck, Henze (dead), Köster and Parth. This time, many would die successively from postoperative complications.

Carl Vaernet, in his final report to Himmler of February 10, 1945 concerning his hormonal theories, makes no mention of his experiments at Buchenwald. This particular suggests that the experiments were considered a failure or at least not credible enough to merit mention.

Escape to Argentina

In March 1945, Vaernet returns to Denmark. The 5 of May of 1945, after the liberation of the country by the allied forces, is interned in the field of prisoners of Alsgade Skole in Copenhagen. Several Danish prisoners, former prisoners of Buchenwald, recognize him and the head of the British military mission at the camp of Alsgade Skole, Major Hemingway, stated that ” no doubt [Vaernet] will be tried as a war criminal .”

However, during his imprisonment, Vaernet gets interested in the Danish and British authorities for his hormonal theories for the “cure” of homosexuality. It seems that during this time, despite being in prison, he contacts the Anglo-American pharmaceutical company Parke, Davis & Comp. Ltd., London & Detroit and with the North American chemical colossus DuPont , interested in the acquisition of its patent.

In November 1945 he is released from the prison camp because of alleged ill health and obtains from the Danish authorities a safe-conduct to go to Sweden , where he fled to Argentina . On 19 November 1947 the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende reproduces a letter sent by a Danish emigrant stating that Vaernet was working in Buenos Aires at the Ministry of Health .

In subsequent years, Vaernet – who had changed his name to Carlos – opened a medical consultation in Buenos Aires, Calle Uriarte 2251, continuing his collaboration with the Argentine authorities in projects related to the “cure of homosexuality”. The neurosurgeon Kjeld Vaernet, son of Carl, collaborated in the 1950s with Walter Freeman in a series of “hormonal cures” for the “cure” of homosexuality (with about 4,000 patients treated) and then studied the possibility of lobotomization of Homosexuals.

Vaernet died unpunished on 25 November 1965 because of an unknown feverish illness, despite the fact that the Danish authorities were aware of both his criminal experiments and his Argentine residence.


  • David A Hackett (1995). The Buchenwald report . ISBN 0-8133-1777-0 .
  • Hans Davidsen-Nielsen, Carl Vaernet-Der dänische SS-Arzt im KZ Buchenwald , Regenbogen Edition, Wien 2004, ISBN 3-9500507-2-8