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May 18, 2010

Who killed Dr. Sigmund Rascher and why?

Dr. Sigmund Rascher was the man who conducted medical experiments for the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) at Dachau, starting in May 1942. His wife, Nini Rascher, was a good friend of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, and she had recommended him for this job.

Dr. Rascher was allegedly shot on April 26, 1945 in prison cell #73 in the Dachau bunker by SS-Hauptscharführer Theodor Bongartz, on Himmler’s orders.  His wife was allegedly hanged, around the same time, at the Ravensbrück concentration camp.  But why would Himmler order two of his good friends to be executed at such a late date during World War II?

I won’t keep you in suspense: I don’t think that Himmler ordered the execution of the Raschers.

I believe that Captain Sigismund Payne Best, a British intelligence agent, who was a prisoner at Dachau, was involved in the murder of Dr. Rascher.  Why?  Because Dr. Rascher had allegedly told Captain Payne Best, while both men were allegedly imprisoned at the Buchenwald concentration camp, that he had designed the Dachau gas chamber and that thousands of people were gassed there.

The problem is that Dr. Rascher was never a prisoner at Buchenwald, so he could not possibly have told Captain Payne Best anything at Buchenwald.

With Dr. Rascher dead, Captain Payne Best could testify as a hearsay witness that there was a gas chamber at  Dachau and that it was used.

Actually, Captain Payne Best never got a chance to testify because no one was ever put on trial for the crime of operating a gas chamber at Dachau.

Dr. Sigmund Rascher doing a medical experiment at Dachau

Dr. Leo Alexander, a native of Austria who fled to China and then to America when the Nazis came to power, was an investigator for the prosecution in the War Crimes Commission at Nuremberg from 1946 to 1947, gathering information for the Nuremberg Doctor’s Trial.  If Dr. Rascher had lived, he would have been put on trial at Nuremberg as a war criminal because he had done experiments on Dachau prisoners.

Dr. Alexander’s report, on the Prolonged Exposure to Cold, evaluated the Nazi hypothermia experiments conducted by Dr. Rascher at Dachau (shown in the photo above).  Dr. Alexander found inconsistencies in Dr. Rascher’s lab notes which led him to believe that Dr. Rascher had deceived Himmler about his results. According to Dr. Alexander, Rascher reported to Himmler that it took from 53 minutes to 100 minutes for the prisoners to die in the freezing water. However, Dr. Alexander’s inspection of Dr. Rascher’s personal lab notes revealed that some of the subjects had suffered from 80 minutes to five or six hours before they died.

According to Dr. Alexander, Himmler discovered that Dr. Rascher had lied in his reports and Dr. Rascher’s deception was the reason that Himmler ordered the execution of both Dr. Rascher and his wife in April 1945. Himmler allegedly committed suicide shortly after he was captured by the British so we will never know if Dr. Alexander’s theory is correct.

However, Dr. Rascher was not arrested and imprisoned because he lied to Himmler about his lab results.  According to an affidavit signed by Dr. Friedrich Karl Rascher, the uncle of Dr. Sigmund Rascher, which was entered into the proceedings of the Nuremberg IMT, Dr. Rascher and his wife Nini were arrested in May 1944 because they had registered a child, who was not born to Nini, as their own.

Dr. Rascher with the baby, Peter

During the Nuremberg Doctors Trial, the following testimony was given by Freiherr Von Eberstein, the SS officer and Police President of Munich, who had arrested Dr. Rascher:

VON EBERSTEIN: Yes. In the spring of 1944, in the course of Criminal Police investigations against an SS Hauptsturmführer, Dr. Rascher, a physician, and his wife. The Raschers were accused of Kindesunterschiebung. That is a word which is very difficult to translate. In our law it means the illegal appropriation of other people’s children.

Secondly, Rascher was accused of financial irregularities in connection with the research station at Dachau, where these biological experiments were carried on. This research station was directly subordinate to Himmler, without any intermediate authority.

So Dr. Rascher was accused of “financial irregularities” in his research at Dachau, but not falsifying the results.  If this was enough to anger Himmler to the point of killing his two good friends, why didn’t he order their execution a lot sooner?  And if Himmler did finally order Dr. Rascher’s execution on April 26, 1945, why was this done secretly, without going through the usual procedure.

Door of prison cell in the Dachau bunker

Dr. Sigmund Rascher was allegedly shot inside a prison cell in the Dachau camp prison, called the bunker, on April 26, 1945.

April 26, 1945 was the day that a bunch of VIP prisoners at Dachau were taken to the South Tyrol, allegedly because Himmler wanted to use them as hostages in his negotiations with the Allies.  However, Captain Payne Best wrote in his book The Venlo Incident, that the VIP prisoners, including himself, were taken to the South Tyrol to be killed.  If this was the case, why wasn’t Dr. Rascher taken to the South Tyrol to be killed along with the others?  Why wasn’t he at least taken to the execution spot at Dachau, instead of being shot inside a prison cell?

The execution spot at Dachau with the “blood ditch” in the foreground

According to two different sources, Dr. Sigmund Rascher was, in fact, on the trip to the South Tyrol.

The following quote is from the book entitled The SS, Alibi of a Nation, 1922 – 1945 by Gerald Reitlinger:

Rascher remained at work in Dachau til May 1944, when Freiherr von Eberstein, higher SS and police leader for Munich, came to arrest him — but not for his experiments. It had been discovered that the children whom Frau Rascher had borne after the age of forty-eight had in reality been kidnapped from orphanages. The camp commandant and the chief medical officer at Dachau thereupon discharged a flood of complaints against Rascher, whom they described as a dangerous, incredible person who had been under Himmler’s personal protection for years, performing unspeakable horrors. Himmler naturally refused to have the Raschers tried, but they were confined in the political bunkers of Dachau and Ravensbrueck, the fate under the Third Reich of people who knew too much. Captain Payne-Best met Sigmund Rascher during the southward evacuation of the Dachau political bunker at the beginning of May 1945. He found Rascher garrulous and sympathetic. One of Rascher’s boasts to Captain Payne-Best was that he had invented the gas chamber. Perhaps that was why Sigmund Rascher disappeared soon afterwards, and likewise Frau Rascher who was last seen in Ravensbrueck.

Nerin E. Gun, a journalist who was a prisoner at Dachau, wrote in his book The Day of the Americans, published in 1966, that Dr. Sigmund Rascher was with the other prisoners that had been evacuated from Dachau and taken to the South Tyrol, and that Dr. Rascher was shot in Innsbruck. Upon arrival in Innsbruck, Edgar Stiller (the SS man in charge of the evacuation) had turned the VIP prisoners over to Captain Payne Best, according to Payne Best’s account in his book The Venlo Incident.

According to Nerin E. Gun, Captain Sigismund Payne Best was the most privileged of all the privileged prisoners. The following quote is from his book entitled The Day of the Americans:

Captain Best, who was fifty at the time of his arrest, had all the leisure he wanted in prison and was even allowed a typewriter. He was able to write a book in which he related all the tiresome details of his captivity. But he carefully avoided explaining what he was really doing in Holland at the time, or how much, if at all, he was implicated in the unfortunate affair at the Burgerbrau.

[...]

Best himself, in his book, admits that if he had remained free he would have known greater deprivation in wartime England, not to mention the risk of being buried under a German bomb.

According to Nerin E. Gun’s book, Captain Payne Best was allowed to keep his monocle and his personal possessions while in prison and he was given a radio capable of receiving London broadcasts. All the prisoners in the bunker were fed from the SS kitchens, but Captain Payne Best was given “double the normal SS ration of food,” according to Gun.

In his book, Nerin E. Gun wrote that when you read the memoirs of Captain Payne Best, “you feel that he had more affection for his SS guards, whom he considered to be nice everyday people who had somehow been forced to don a uniform, and worried more about what would happen to them than he did about the poor prisoners dying all around him.”

From Nerin E. Gun’s description of Captain Payne Best’s close relationship with the SS guards, it is clear that he might have had the means and the opportunity to get rid of a fellow prisoner in the last chaotic days of the Dachau camp if that prisoner knew any secrets that were best kept hidden.

What was it that Captain Payne Best did not want Dr. Sigmund Rascher to testify about in court?  Maybe about the conversation that Captain Payne Best claims that he had with Dr. Rascher in the Buchenwald Concentration camp.  Dr. Rascher was put into a prison in Munich in May 1944,  and then transferred to Dachau in April 1945; he was never a prisoner at Buchenwald.

In his book entitled The Venlo Incident, Captain Sigismund Payne Best wrote the following regarding a conversation he had with Dr. Rascher while both were allegedly prisoners at Buchenwald:

Next morning when I went to wash, there was a little man with a ginger moustache in the lavatory who introduced himself as Dr. Rascher saying that he was half English and that his mother was related to the Chamberlain family. When I told him my name he was much interested saying that he knew about my case and that he had also met Stevens (R. H. Stevens was another British intelligence agent who had been arrested along with Payne Best.) when he was medical officer in Dachau. … He was a queer fellow; possibly the queerest character which has ever come my way.

Almost at our first meeting he told me that he had belonged to Himmler’s personal staff, and that it was he who had planned and supervised the construction of the gas chambers and was responsible for the use of prisoners as guinea pigs in medical research. Obviously he saw nothing wrong in this and considered it merely a matter of expediency. As regards the gas chambers he said that Himmler, a very kind-hearted man, was most anxious that prisoners should be exterminated in a manner which caused them least anxiety and suffering, and the greatest trouble had been taken to design a gas chamber so camouflaged that its purpose would not be apparent, and to regulate the flow of the lethal gas so that the patients might fall asleep without recognizing that they would never wake. Unfortunately, Rascher said, they had never quite succeeded in solving the problem caused by the varying resistance of different people to the effects of poison gases, and always there had been a few who lived longer than others and recognized where they were and what was happening. Rascher said that the main difficulty was that the numbers to be killed were so great that it was impossible to prevent the gas chambers being overfilled, which greatly impeded any attempts to ensure a regular and simultaneous death-rate.

Did Dr. Rascher really tell Captain Payne Best about prisoners being gassed at Dachau? With Dr. Rascher dead and gone, no one would know if this conversation had actually taken place. Or did Himmler order Rascher’s execution just three days before Dachau was liberated because he didn’t want Dr. Rascher to tell the Allies about the gas chamber at Dachau?

Captain Payne Best also mentioned in his book, The Venlo Incident, that he and Dr. Rascher had discussed the attempt by Georg Elser to assassinate Adolf Hitler on November 8, 1939, and that Dr. Rascher was of the opinion that it was an inside job, staged by the Nazis.

Captain Sigismund Payne Best was arrested and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp because he was allegedly involved in the assassination attempt on November 8, 1939.  Was he trying to prove that the British were not involved in the plot to kill Hitler, as both Himmler and Hitler believed? Is it possible that Captain Payne Best had told Dr. Rascher that British intelligence was behind Georg Elser’s attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler and that’s why Dr. Rascher had to be silenced?

On April 26, 1945, the day that Dr. Sigmund Rascher was allegedly executed in Cell #73 in the bunker at Dachau, there was complete chaos and confusion in the Dachau camp, according to a book entitled The Last Days of Dachau, written jointly by Arthur Haulot, a Belgian prisoner, and Dr. Ali Kuci, an Albanian prisoner. Reischführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had given the order that the Dachau camp was to be immediately evacuated and that “No prisoner should fall into the hands of the enemy alive…” This message was received in the camp in response to a query sent to Berlin by the camp commandant, according to Kuci and Haulot. At 9 a.m. on April 26th, the order was given by the camp Commandant to evacuate the entire camp, but according to Haulot and Kuci, the prisoners acted quickly to sabotage the evacuation plan.

According to the book by Haulot and Kuci, the SS had assembled 6,700 prisoners for evacuation by 8 p.m. on April 26th. At 10 p.m. that day, a total of 6,887 prisoners left the camp on foot, marching south toward the mountains of the South Tyrol. According to testimony given at the Nuremberg IMT, the march to the South Tyrol was part of a plan, devised by Ernst Kaltenbrunner, to kill all the concentration camp prisoners. A transport of 1,735 Jewish prisoners had already left that day on a train bound for the mountains in southern Germany.

With so much going on at Dachau on April 26, 1945, it would have been easy for one of the prisoners to kill Dr. Sigmund Rascher without attracting much attention. It would also have been easy for Dr. Rascher to sneak away that day from the group of VIP prisoners in the bunker, which was near the main gate at Dachau, and join the group of 6,887 prisoners who were being marched out of the camp that same day.  Did Dr. Rascher manage to escape that day and go into hiding in South America, like so many other Nazis?  Anything is possible.

Frau Rascher was rumored to be Heinrich Himmler’s former mistress.  Did Himmler really order the death of his former lover because she was also involved in the medical experiments?  Nini Rascher took photos of the victims during the experiments.

Russian POW appears to be unconscious during Dachau medical experiment for the Luftwaffe

39 Comments »

  1. [...] at Dachau.  I wrote a blog post about the alleged execution of Dr. Rascher, which you can read here.  (the website with the article links to my blog [...]

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  2. [...] adopting children and then claiming them as his own.  I previously blogged about Dr. Rascher here. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Leave a [...]

    Pingback by More about the only Irish prisoner at Dachau « Scrapbookpages Blog — August 6, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

  3. Then, please, read the whole book. And, please, do not rely on secondary sources. Try to get original documents.
    Best regards und Auf Wiedersehen!

    Comment by Hubert Rehm — January 25, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  4. to furtherglory
    Have you ever read Payne Bests “The venlo incident”?

    Comment by Hubert Rehm — January 25, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    • I have not read the entire book. I have read parts of it which were quoted in other books.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 25, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  5. It is always wise to accept criticism. Yours made me read again the death declaration of Sigmund Rascher. The issue of the declaration was initiated by the “Generalkläger in München” which at that time was probably the “Generalstaatsanwalt”. This however makes the declaration even more strange, since not a private person initiated it but an official person – eine Amtsperson – although the Generalkläger in turn may have been asked by Hanns Rascher to do this. I am not sure about the juridical procedures which one had to follow in 1952.
    In addition I detected a handwritten note on the document issued in March 1952 and saying: “„Der Nachlaß wird nach dem Ger. für poli. Aufzeichung eingezogen“. Translated into my bad English this says: “the heritage will be confiscated after the court proceedings to be listed by the police”. From this I conclude, that at least part of the property of the Raschers had survived the war, the mice and the woodworms.

    Comment by Hubert Rehm — January 25, 2011 @ 8:43 am

  6. Sorry, I was not exact. You are right: The usual procedure for an execution was to be taken to the execution wall that was north of the crematorium.
    Nevertheless, I do not see the necessity to call the shooting of Rascher a “secret examination”. May be Bongartz found it just convenient to shoot Rascher in his cell. In April 1945 “normal procedures” were detoriating.
    Why was “an eye-witness” in attendance?
    I have no idea. May be by accident. May be Bongartz needed him to clean up the mess. I will have to ask for the court proceeding files to look up the original wording of the witness.
    I agree with you: The wrong date of the death declaration is strange. After all it was issued AFTER the witness made his “Aussage” and in 1952 when official procedures in Germany were back to normal and rather thourough. It is also unknown to me who initiated the issue of the death declaration. I assume it was Sigmunds father, Hanns Rascher, who in 1952 was still alive and living in München. As I wrote in a former post, in 1944 Sigmund Rascher was a wealthy man and Hanns Rascher might have wished to get a hand onto Sigmunds property. For this he needed a death declaration of his son (you can only inherit the dead). But this is all speculation.

    Comment by Hubert Rehm — January 25, 2011 @ 7:46 am

    • April 26, 1945, the day that Dr. Rascher was allegedly killed, was the same day that the VIP prisoners at Dachau were scheduled to be taken to the South Tyrol. Captain Payne-Best claimed that the purpose of taking these prisoners to the South Tyrol was to kill them. Also, on April 26, 1945, a transport of 1,735 Jewish prisoners left on a train bound for the mountains in southern Germany. Then another 6,887 prisoners, half of them Jews and half of them Russian POWs, were marched south toward the South Tyrol. According to testimony given at the Nuremberg IMT, the march to the Tyrol was part of a plan, devised by Ernst Kaltenbrunner, to kill all these prisoners. In my e-mail correspondence with staff members of the Dachau Museum, I was told that Dr. Rascher’s execution had been ordered by Himmler and carried out by Theodor Bongartz, the man in charge of the crematorium where the bodies were disposed of. So, according to the staff at Dachau, Theodor Bongartz was not the man who normally did the executions at Dachau. On April 26th, the ovens were not being used and the bodies were being buried. Bongartz was apparently chosen as the executioner because he knew how to fire up the ovens.

      However, there are two sources which claim that Dr. Rascher was on the trip to the South Tyrol. One of these sources is Gerald Reitlinger who wrote the book entitled “The SS, Alibi of a Nation, 1922 – 1945.” Here is a quote from his book:

      “Rascher remained at work in Dachau til May 1944, when Freiherr von Eberstein, higher SS and police leader for Munich, came to arrest him — but not for his experiments. It had been discovered that the children whom Frau Rascher had borne after the age of forty-eight had in reality been kidnapped from orphanages. The camp commandant and the chief medical officer at Dachau thereupon discharged a flood of complaints against Rascher, whom they described as a dangerous, incredible person who had been under Himmler’s personal protection for years, performing unspeakable horrors. Himmler naturally refused to have the Raschers tried, but they were confined in the political bunkers of Dachau and Ravensbrueck, the fate under the Third Reich of people who knew too much. Captain Payne-Best met Sigmund Rascher during the southward evacuation of the Dachau political bunker at the beginning of May 1945. He found Rascher garrulous and sympathetic. One of Rascher’s boasts to Captain Payne-Best was that he had invented the gas chamber. Perhaps that was why Sigmund Rascher disappeared soon afterwards, and likewise Frau Rascher who was last seen in Ravensbrueck.”

      The other source is Nerin E. Gun, a young journalist from Turkey, who was a prisoner at Dachau. Gun wrote in his book “The Day of the Americans,” published in 1966, that Dr. Sigmund Rascher was with the other prisoners that had been evacuated from Dachau and taken to the South Tyrol, and that Dr. Rascher was shot in Innsbruck.

      Captain Payne-Best wrote in his book “The Venlo Incident” that SS man Edgar Stiller had turned the VIP prisoners over to him (Payne-Best) as soon as they arrived in Innsbruck.

      Meanwhile Dachau Commandant Wilhelm Eduard Weiter had taken a transport of prisoners to Schloss Itter, a subcamp of Dachau in Austria. On May 6, 1945, Weiter shot himself, according to Johannes Tuchel, the author of “Dachau and the Nazi Terror 1933-1945.” May 6, 1945, the day that Weiter committed suicide, was the same day that the 137 Dachau VIP prisoners were liberated by American soldiers. However, the German Wikipedia gives May 2, 1945 as the date that Weiter shot himself.

      Dr. Rascher was transferred from a Munich jail to Dachau where he became a prisoner in the bunker which had private cells for the VIP prisoners. Captain Payne-Best was transferred from Buchenwald to Dachau on April 9, 1945 and also imprisoned in the bunker. Captain Payne-Best may have assumed that Dr. Rascher was sent from Buchenwald to Dachau because both of them arrived on the same day. Shortly after he arrived at Dachau, Captain Payne-Best was transferred from the bunker to the barrack building that was formerly used as a brothel, and it is possible that he didn’t meet Dr. Rascher until the bunker was evacuated on April 26, 1945. Dr. Rascher was never a prisoner at Buchenwald, but Captain Payne-Best just assumed that he was, since Dr. Rascher was brought to Dachau around the same time that the VIP prisoners at Buchenwald were transferred to Dachau.

      An account of the period just before the liberation of the camp, called “The Last Days of Dachau,” was written jointly by Arthur Haulot, a Belgian prisoner, and Dr. Ali Kuci, an Albanian prisoner. Nerin E. Gun mentioned in his own book that he was Kuci’s assistant.

      Kuci and Haulot wrote that the members of the Communist underground resistance group began to initiate action designed to create confusion within the camp in order to prevent the evacuation of all the prisoners. On April 24th, a group of Jewish inmates at Dachau were forced into boxcars parked outside the camp, but no engine was available for the train, so they had to remain there for three more days. According to Kuci, it was rumored that the Jews were being kept in the outer area in the hope that they would be bombed by the American planes.

      On April 26th, according to Kuci, the prisoners ransacked the trains, canteen, kitchen and warehouses for food and civilian clothes. At 9 a.m. that day, the order was given to evacuate the entire camp, but the underground committee moved quickly to sabotage the SS plans.

      According to Himmler’s biographer, Peter Padfield, the information that Dr. Sigmund Rascher and his wife were both executed on the direct orders of Heinrich Himmler came from Dr. Leo Alexander who wrote a paper entitled “Miscellaneous Aviation Medical Matters,” SHAEF 1945, subtitled “The Treatment of Shock from Prolonged Exposure to Cold,” SHAEF 1945.

      Dr. Leo Alexander, a native of Austria who fled to China and then to America when the Nazis came to power, worked as an investigator for the prosecution in the War Crimes Commission at Nuremberg from 1946 to 1947, gathering information for the Nuremberg Doctors Trial. If Dr. Sigmund Rascher had lived, he would have been put on trial as a war criminal for his work on medical experiments. Dr. Alexander’s papers are kept in the Guide to the 65th General Hospital Collection in the Archives and Memorabilia Department at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

      All of the details surrounding the execution of Dr. Rascher seem to me to be very suspicious. In any crime, one must ask “Who had a motive? and Who benefitted? Captain Payne-Best had a motive and he also benefitted. With Dr. Rascher dead, Captain Payne-Best could then claim that Dr. Rascher had told him about the gas chamber at Dachau being used. This is the claim that is being made at Dachau today. Captain Payne-Best claimed that he had met Dr. Rascher in the washroom when both were prisoners at Buchenwald and that this was the occassion when Dr. Rascher told him about the Dachau gas chamber. Captain Payne-Best was obviously lying because Dr. Rascher was never a prisoner at Buchenwald.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 25, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  7. to furtherglory

    The case of Raschers death seems closed since in 1951 an eyewitness of his death, an SS-warden, appeared before a German court and testified, that Rascher was killed by Bongartz in his cell by three shots in the stomach. I assume, together with Haasis, that Rascher was shot in his cell because he knew the procedures in Dachau and would have cried and kicked when taken to crematorium. Allright, the cell was a mess afterwards, but it was not Bongartz who had to clean up guts and blood.
    An official death declaration of Rascher was issued in 1952 by an Amtsgerichtsdirektor Rost although with the wrong date.
    Best regards
    Hubert Rehm

    Comment by Hubert Rehm — January 25, 2011 @ 2:37 am

    • Thank you very much for this information. However, I find it strange that he was not killed by the usual shot to the neck. What do you mean that “the procedures in Dachau” involved being “taken to the crematorium”? The usual procedure for an execution was to be taken to the execution wall that was north of the crematorium. His death was obviously a secret execution, so why was “an eye-witness” in attendance? Why was it not until 1952 that an official death certificate was issued for him, and it had the WRONG date. To me, this is all evidence that his death was not a normal execution, but rather, a murder that was ordered by someone who had a good reason to want him dead. I also find it strange that his executioner, Bongartz, who was also the alleged killer in two other mysterious deaths, died of “natural causes” shortly after he was captured. Heinrich Himmler, the man who allegedly ordered the execution of Dr. Rascher, also died just days after he was captured.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 25, 2011 @ 5:39 am

  8. Perhaps the seemingly interesting reaction to the various discussions made so far on Dr. Rascher’s fate are here wrongly interpreted insofar these have been focused on a particular individual and not in the overall picture. In my own particular case, that he is certainly not the subject matter of my interest much rather are the other many still unanswered questions on the whole idea of what did happen in Germany at the time of the Third Reich. What did really happen with lots of people with a high degree of civilization and culture, as Dr. Racher seemingly had been, and the so claimed excesses that history relates were done in the name of racism.
    The case of Dr. Racher is only an small salt grain in this huge catalogue of sad and unexplainable events WW II represents and if in clarifying this small issue of his, perhaps some new questions could be poised on finding some new answers to the greater relevant issue of what really happened in Germany under Hitler’s dictatorship.

    Comment by miguel gonzalez-hermosillo — January 24, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

  9. To further glory,

    According to my researches Sigmund Rascher was killed by Theodor Bongartz on 26th of april 1945. Proof for this however came only in 1952. The reason for his killing were not his experiments and not “his” children or his dealings with prisoners but an affair about which I will report in the second edition of “Der Untergang des Hauses Rascher”.
    Best regards
    Hubert Rehm

    Comment by Hubert Rehm — January 24, 2011 @ 1:12 am

    • Yes, I mentioned in my blog post that Dr. Rascher was killed by Theodor Bongartz. I learned this from the Museum at the Dachau Memorial Site. According to the Museum, “documents from the preliminary proceedings concerning the death of Sigmund Rascher” show that “Rascher was killed in cell No. 73; his murderer was the SS-Hauptscharführer Theodor Bongartz.” Theodor Bongartz, died on May 15, 1945 in an American POW camp at Heilbronn-Böckingen, according to author Hellmut G. Haasis, who wrote a book entitled “Den Hitler jag’ ich in die Luft: Der Attentäter Georg Elser, Eine Biografie” published in Berlin in 1999. Haasis wrote that Bongartz had the rank of SS-Oberscharführer. Bongartz also killed Georg Elser at Dachau around the time that an Allied bomb hit the camp on April 9, 1945. Elser had been arrested for his attempt to kill Hitler on November 8, 1938.

      According to Haasis, Bongartz was captured while wearing a Wehrmacht uniform and he died of natural causes in the POW camp before it became known that he was an SS man on the staff of the Dachau concentration camp. As a result of the convenient death of Bongartz by “natural causes,” the world will never know for sure who killed Dr. Rascher, Georg Elser and General Charles Delestraint, all three of whom were allegedly shot by Theodor Bongartz and burned in the ovens at Dachau. It is strange that none of these three men were executed according to the normal procedure.

      Dr. Rascher was allegedly killed in the Dachau bunker on April 26, 1945, on the very day that the other special prisoners were marched to the South Tyrol under the supervision of Edgar Stiller, the SS man in charge of the bunker. According to Captain Payne Best, all the important prisoners were being taken to the South Tyrol in order to kill them, but Edgar Stiller had turned the prisoners over to him as soon as they arrived.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 24, 2011 @ 6:38 am

      • I’m absolutely astounded by the relatively recent renewed interest in Dr. Siegmund Rascher and his past. My research has a legitimat reason as I was directly and intemately (albeit involuntarely) involved with Dr. and Nini Rascher whereas the interest of the rest of the other authors, blogers and or want to be revisionists trying to unravel the Rascher mystery for their own reasons that seem rather insincere and selfserving.( maybe even Shoah inspired).Numerous radio
        and television programms aired in Germany and internatonally as well as books and opinions seem to me in many cases outright laughably with their inacuracy and blind reliance on unproven and false documentations. Even Dachaus exibits and Barbara Distels explanations are full of inacuracies. Numerous film makers and authors have contacted me to extract infos for their lecherous exploits.
        As a notable excemption to the above appears to be the author of “Der Untergang des Hauses Rascher” Dr. Hubert Rehm alias Siegfried Baer. His research is absolutely astounding and exemplary, all though even he has fallen into the trap of reciting mostly unrealible documents. I would inspite of his shortcommings in his research re: ” Rascher” consider him as the present absolute authority on the subject at hand. His position as knowledgable bio-chemist puts him in an unmatched position to judge Dr. Raschers experiments and their conclusions.
        I in stark contrast speak only from my direct experience with Dr. Rascher as a five year old child.
        As previously mentioned my conclusions of Nini and Dr. Rascher have been proven with in 1945 unavailable methodes(DNA).
        At no time have I claimed knowledge of Dr. Raschers activities at Dachau other then what I have gleaned from existing and in my opinion very questionable documentation.

        Comment by Peter Schneider — January 24, 2011 @ 9:10 am

        • I’m amazed that you are still alive and that you found this blog. Thank you for your comments.

          Comment by furtherglory — January 24, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  10. Dear Peter,
    As you know, in the last years I did a lot of research in the Rascher case for the 2. edition of book “Der Untergang des Hauses Rascher”.
    Yes, you are right: You were not adopted by the Raschers, none of your “brothers” were. After the first release of Sigmund from arrest, Himmler had promised him, that he may adopt his children. But when Rascher was arrested a second time in May 1944, this promise was dropped (and indeed made no sense since he stayed in custody until 26th of April 45).
    Regarding the silver cup from Lebensborn, Steinhöring with Himmlers signature:
    I have looked up the list of the Rascher property which was made in May 1943 by an insurance expert. In the list I found two cups or beakers made from 800er silver. However, these cups are not signed and are therefore probably not from Lebensborn, Steinhöring.
    I do not know what happened with this cups or the rest the substantial property of the Raschers. In todays money it may have amounted to more than half a million Euro.
    Your notion that your years with the Raschers were the best of your life and that the Raschers were a caring couple is however corroborated by the list. It shows for instance childs shirts made of silk and childrens coats made of pure wool which is unusal for the time. By the way: Sigmund Rascher himself slept in a pyjama made of red silk.
    Despite being a caring father (and a good friend), Rascher killed more than hundred people. In addition he was a miserable scientist.
    Best regards
    Hubert Rehm

    Comment by Hubert Rehm — January 24, 2011 @ 1:03 am

    • You wrote that “Rascher killed more than a hundred people.” It would be more correct to say that “more than a hundred people died during the experiments done by Dr. Rascher.” The subjects of the experiments were criminals who had been sentenced to death and would have died anyway. The American Air Force did the same kind of experiments; America confiscated the results of Dr. Rascher’s experiments and used them to save the lives of pilots. If Dr. Rascher had lived, it is possible that he would have been brought to America, just as other German doctors were.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 25, 2011 @ 5:50 am

  11. Without being a revisionist or being anything close to that, after I have read these exchanges on the new disclosed facts and conjectures about Dr. Rascher´s experiments made by Herr. Schneider, we can certainly question ourselves on what may be true and what may have been mere exageration in the Nuremberg and Dachau trials due to the aftermath post war feelings against Nazism.
    It is indeed important that Herr. Schneider, before his book is translated, comes by now here in this Forum and clearly explains us the core of his thesis regarding the professional conduct of Dr. Rascher and his infamous medical experiments.
    Certainly this matter,would be a great subject for a further revision on the Doctor´s Nuremberg and Dachau Military Trials and its true legal foundations,investigating its claims and its veracity focusing on whatever Herr. Schneider has to say on the nature of such experiments. In doing so, he may possible open a new venue to further question on many of the known facts used as evidence to sustain such trials.
    The question remains the same, were these trials legally sound or were these pure victors revenge, american style?
    There are so many germans culprit of the ” Shoah” existence, that perhaps today some could not even be indicted, following modern trial practices and standards.
    Herr. Schneider has a moral obligation to disclose these unknown documents he mentions, aiming to open new roads to confront those facts that have being described and accepted by hundreds of history researchers through time.

    Comment by miguel gonzalez-hermosillo — January 18, 2011 @ 10:28 am

  12. Correction: The picture of Dr. and me was taken at the beginning of 1940 at our residence in Munich, Trogerstrasse.

    Comment by Peter Schneider — January 16, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  13. The photo of me and Dr. Rascher was taken at the beginning of 1945.
    I had known Dr. Rascher and his wife Karoline(Nini) as extremly caring and loving parents. My expression in that photo shows my usual demeanor (no dread or fear). I have subsequent pictures of me with identical expression taken years after 1945.
    My five years in the Rascher family were the best years of my life.

    Comment by Peter Schneider — January 16, 2011 @ 10:25 am

  14. Ha, Google translations suck.
    I’m almost as fluent in English as I’m in German. So English it is.

    As I was only 5years old in April 1945 my knowledge of Dr. Raschers demise is unfortunately
    based only on existing Docomentation. Wether the Allies or Germans were responsable for Raschers execution I can’t say. He may even have committed suicide.
    How ever it would seem to me illogical for the Allies to have done the deed(allthough I know that
    they have executed numerous German soldiers at Dachau in the most illegal and cowardly manner,) Lt. Jack Bushyhead comes to mind.
    It is also possible, that Dr. Rascher was executed on the order of Heinrich Himmler to eliminate a witness to the human experiments conducted by Rascher.( question, why were Dr. Mengele and others with simmilar background not eliminated).
    Nini Rascher( my first mother I ever knew) was executed was not sot but by hanging in Ravensburg. Both Nini and Siegmund could have been an extraordinary embarassement for H.H in the eyes of his detractors and or the allies.

    Comment by Peter Schneider — January 16, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    • Dear Mr Schneider. My name is Wiktor Zajkowski. My mother didn’t want to talk about her Auschwitz and other experiences yet, as a child, I was able to “record” in my memory some tidbits of her stories mentioned to close friends . I have to ask you If you remember your nurse (babysitter?). You may not as, obviously, you were very young at that time. I think her name could be Genowefa (Polish spelling). Last name Kwasny… My mother was a servant with Rascher family. (Well… Actually I used to think it was “Raucher”) She was taking care of a baby called Peter. Later she gave birth to two girls who apparently died soon after(?)… Those are bits of information I’ve eavesdropped as a child not fully understanding their weight. My recent Internet search astonished me. It may be a complete coincidence and I could be on the wrong track. W. zz_wiktor@4enR.com

      Comment by Wiktor Zajkowski — December 10, 2012 @ 9:04 am

    • Dear Mr. Zajkowski,
      I’m sorry, but it seems to me that you either interpreting your “memory tidbits” completely wrong or you have other ulterior motives ( maybe trolling) to postulate that your mother was my babysitter at the Raschers household.
      I can assure U that none of my nurses had the name “Kwasny”.
      In spite of my young age at the time, I have very vivid and fond memories of all the persons at the Rascher family.
      I know all the names of these people which are also documented in official transcripts.
      However I have not been able to discern the fate of one of my caretakers after May 1944.
      Her Name was: Maria Starz.
      If you could give me the date of birth of your mother, I could then establish 100% wether she was indeed at the Raschers household.

      Comment by PeterSchneider — December 22, 2012 @ 9:19 am

      • Mr.
        Please let us constrain to the historical context of the questions since this Pole gentleman only wants to establish his mother’s fortunes in World War 2 times!
        I guess it is only fair since you or I would do the same questioning if we were to have the same doubts!
        Sincerely

        Comment by Miguel Gonzalez-Hermosillo — December 22, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  15. Eine kleine Korrektur:
    das gezeigte Bild von Siegmund Rascher und Baby (das bin ich) hat als Erklaehrung Dr. Rascher mit illegal adoptierten Kind.
    Keines der Rascher-Kinder wurde jemals adoptiert. Nini Rascher hat zwar H. Himmler gebeten ihr zu erlauben, zumindest mich “Peter” zu adoptieren, aber diese Adoption kam nie zu Stande..
    So bitte nicht weitere falsche Erklaehrungen anfuehren, da ist genug Unsinn ueber die Raschers und deren Kindern verbreited worden

    Peter Schneider

    Comment by Peter Schneider — January 15, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    • If I understand you correctly, you are saying that you are the baby in the photo with Dr. Rascher, and that you were not adopted. I will make that correction in my blog post.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 15, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

      • Maybe I should have written in English; I didn’t realize that this was an English only blog forum. But it seems that you do understand pretty good German.
        Yes my friend, as astonishing as it may seem, the baby in Dr. Siegmund Rascher’s arms is me in 1940. I’m still kicking and I have a wealth of until now unknown and unpublished information in regards to the children of the Rascher family.
        These facts were researched , proven by DNA results and documented by me over many years. Unlike most assumptions gleaned from available and many-times incorrect sources by uncaring and self-agrandising authors that hardly ever bothered to question the validity of “official” documents nor did any in-depth research.

        Comment by Peter Schneider — January 16, 2011 @ 8:44 am

        • There are many readers of this blog who speak, or can read German. However, the majority of the readers can read only English. It is O.K, if you want to comment in German because we can use google to translate it.

          I am very curious to know if you believe that Dr. Rascher was executed by the Germans, or if he was executed by the Allies to keep him from testifying about the truth. The photo of you in the arms of Dr. Rascher is typically used to prove that he was a cruel man because the baby (you) appears to be very afraid.

          Comment by furtherglory — January 16, 2011 @ 9:03 am

  16. Hallo Hubert. For etwa zwei Jahren haben wir ueber die Kinder von Nini Rascher gesprochen.( ich bin der grosse Peter)
    Deine Frage “who killed Siegmund Rascher” hat eine Frage in mir erweckt. Wer hat Nini und Siegmund beerbt? Da ich ja von H.Himmler persoenlich in Steinhoering “getauft” wurde, sollt ein silbernes Taufgefaess mit Himmlers Unterschrift ausgegeben worden sein. Vieleicht ist dises Gefaess in Jemandens Haenden und ich wuerde grosses Interesse daran haben.
    Auf deine positive Antwort wartend verbleibe ich mit freundlichen Gruessen

    Peter Scneider

    Comment by Peter Schneider — January 15, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

  17. I would also be delighted to read the English Translation of the
    ” Der Untergang des Hauses Rascher”

    Comment by miguel — July 28, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  18. Just in case somebody is really interested in Sigmund Rascher: His life is described in a German book entitled “Der Untergang des Hauses Rascher” (the doom of the house Rascher)which appeared 2006 in the Lj-Verlag, Freiburg.

    Comment by Hubert Rehm — May 26, 2010 @ 8:11 am

    • Thanks a million for giving us this information. I looked this book up on Amazon.com and learned that the book is a “documentary novel,” so I expect that it is something like “Schindler’s List,” which is a novel that is loosely based on the truth with added fictional scenes to make it more dramatic. I don’t like historical novels because I always want to know which scenes are true history and which scenes are fiction.

      Dr. Rascher’s story lends itself quite well to a novel. Dr. Raschser’s wife, Nini, was a well-known singer who was allegedly the mistress of Heinrich Himmler. Himmler had married the first woman that he had sex with; his wife was an older woman who had one child and then she was too old to have any more. Himmler urged his SS men to have a mistress and to have as many children as possible. Since Nini was too old to have children, Himmler took a new and younger mistress, but remained friends with Nini. Dr. Rascher then married Nini. What a great story for a novel!

      Have you read this book yourself, Mr. Rehm? If so, what is your opinion about the point of view of the author? Is he on the side of the Nazis or the side of the Jews? Is this book available in English? I can read German a little bit, but not well enough to catch all the subtle nuances. For example, I would read the word Untergang as downfall, not doom. Doom has an entirely different connotation for me. According to google translate, Untergang means destruction, which has a completely different connotation.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 26, 2010 @ 8:50 am

      • Sorry for answering so late.
        Yes I have read the book. In fact I have written it, Siegfried Bär is my artist name. Yes, I called “Der Untergang des Hauses Rascher” a documentary novel but 99% of its contents is based on documents, for instance the files of the criminal police in München, or interviews, for instance with relatives. The only fictional scene is the Wiener Walzer dance on Ninis marriage.
        I am neither on the side of the Nazis nor on the side of the Jews. I just describe the facts and leave it to the reader to judge them. Rascher himself was not an antisemite. On the contrary, he had two jewish prisoner helpers. In addition, his victims were not only Jews but also Poles and Russians.
        The book is not available in English, simply because my English is not good enough, as you already noticed (doom versus downfall). Right now I am preparing a second edition, which I will offer to an English publisher for translation.
        By the way: Nini was not an opera singer but a concert singer with a speciality in spiritual music.

        Comment by Hubert Rehm — July 15, 2010 @ 11:45 am

  19. Excellent detective work!

    Comment by paolosilv — May 22, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  20. without a documentary trail we can’t really be sure why he was arrested, nor can we sure be sure why or even if he was executed.

    People gave all kinds of strange testimony at Nuremberg for all kinds of reasons. If Sievers and Rascher did assist in Pacholegg’s escape – as appears to be the suspicion at the time, I doubt the Allies would have wanted that connection with their star witness medical experimentation witness advertised.

    And as I said, those Rascher manufactured cyanide capsules were very very handy for everyone.

    for your interest, a little bit more on Siever’s possible resistance activities here
    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=157557

    Comment by lgr — May 21, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

  21. The trouble with much of the material on Rascher’s downfall is that most of it seems to be court testimony in Allied show trials and not document based.

    this is not the place for discussing all of alleged medical experiments but not just the freezing experiments of Rascher was based on fabricated data. The Polygal experiments are certainly either falsified documents for the trial or falsified experimental records by Rascher.
    Polygal, which is nothing more than a form of pectin which is found in jam, can not possibly have any beneficial effects on blot clotting if taken orally. At best it might help with constipation. Therefore documents which have Dr Rascher amputating Russian POW’s legs and the blood flow stopping immediately are not true. Moreover Rascher published data in 1944 that supposedly proved the effectiveness of Polygal – this data must have been fabricated (or possibly biased reporting).

    There is some interesting testimony of Wolfram Sievers in volume 20 of IMT war crimes trial, where he claims to have been part of an anti-Nazi resistance network.

    He also talks about “Dr” Pacholegg who worked on the Polygal experiments (and also gave testimony on the air pressure experiments)
    “MAJOR JONES: I want you now to go back to your diary,
    Page 30 of the British document book, My Lord. You will see
    an entry for 14 April, “Political department about escape of
    Pacholegg.” This prisoner Pacholegg escaped, didn’t he?
    SIEVERS: Yes, at any rate he had disappeared.
    MAJOR JONES: Why did you go to the political department
    about it?
    SIEVERS: Because I had been in Vorarlberg together with
    Rascher and Pacholegg, and I was accused of aiding Pacholegg to
    escape. All the circumstances of the arrest at the time when the
    Rascher affair was suddenly uncovered were at issue. ”

    This strongly suggests that possibly Rascher’s downfall was connected with the escape of Pacholegg. Independent historian Dr Joachim Neander has compiled some interesting material on Pacholegg here
    http://rodohforum.yuku.com/sreply/98788/t/Regina-meet-Sophia-Two-of-the-Same-.html

    Polygal was used in German military hospitals, it had to be absolutely to useless. It is fairly horrifying to consider what damage using this snake oil may have caused – and not impossible that this may have also been a cause in Pacholegg’s escape and Rascher’s downfall.

    It is only speculation, but perhaps Polygal was an act of deliberate sabotage. If so, it was a particularly evil one, as the numbers of wounded soldiers making it back to combat positions is probably very very low.

    Rascher became useful for everybody. If there was a particular nasty or dubious piece of experimentation, the defendant could say it wasn’t me, it was Rascher.
    And Rascher has been credited with manufacturing and distributing the cyanide suicide capsules that so many senior Nazis and SS seemed to swallow after capture.

    Comment by littlegreyrabbit — May 20, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

    • Everything you wrote may be true, but how does that justify the secret execution of Dr. Rascher? Dr. Rascher and his wife were both arrested but Himmler and the Nazis had nothing to do with this arrest for breaking a German law. So why was there a secret order to execute him and burn the body? The whole execution story indicates that he was not executed by the Germans, but by the Allies. He was executed because of what he knew. The Allies did not want him to tell the truth in a trial after the war.

      Comment by furtherglory — May 21, 2010 @ 10:01 am

      • I noticed that you have revised the subtitle of the picture in your tweet of May 18-2010 depicting Dr. Rascher and me to “Dr. Rascher with baby Peter”.
        By rereading your blogs of May 21. and May 26,2010 respectively you still postulate that the Rascher children were adopted. Maybe an oversite but a correction would be appreciated. Not wanting to be repetitive however I would like to stress again that none of the Rascher Children were ever adopted.

        Comment by Peter Schneider — January 19, 2011 @ 11:45 am

        • I have corrected my comments on May 21st and May 26th. Thanks for telling me about this.

          Comment by furtherglory — January 19, 2011 @ 12:14 pm


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