Wolfram Sievers was dubbed "the Nazi Bluebeard" by journalist William L. Shirer because of his
"thick, ink-black beard"


Herbert Jankuhn (8 August 1905 - 30 April 1990) was a German archaeologist and supporter of the Nazi Party. He undertook a series of investigations on behalf of the Ahnenerbe before going on to be one of post-war Germany's leading archeology academics.

Jankuhn was born in East Prussia where his schoolteacher father was involved in local nationalist politics, publishing a pamphlet entitled Is There a Prussian Lithuania?. He followed his father's beliefs in a Greater Germany and also became a devotee of the Teutonic Knights, a passion which both reinforced his political beliefs and convinced him to follow a career in archaeology. His first major work was at the Viking settlement at Haithabu where he directed the excavations. Whilst in this post he met Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler who was impressed by Jankuhn's work and provided significant funds to the operation. As a professor of archaeology he also worked at the University of Kiel and the University of Rostock.

The two would become close and within a few months of the meeting Jankuhn had joined both the Schutzstaffel and the Ahnenerbe, with Jaunkuhn eventually being appointed head of the latter body's excavation and archaeology department in 1940. He was also a member of the Nazi Party itself.] Himmler respected Jankuhn's theories and endorsed his view that the bog people were actually anti-social elements in ancient Germanic society, in particular homosexuals and deserters, put to death for their supposed crimes. It has even been argued that Jankuhn's research in this area helped to convince Himmler to crack down on homosexuality.

Jankuhn supervised digs across Germany and also spent time in both Norway and France after their respective falls, both touring their major archaeological sites and secretly investigating attitudes towards the occupying Nazis on behalf of the Sicherheitsdienst.

Following the capture of Crimea, in early July 1942, Himmler sent Jankuhn, to the region in search of artifacts to follow up the recent displaying of the Kerch “Gothic crown of the Crimea” in Berlin, to prove that the area was the cradle of the Goths. Setting out on 21 July 1942, Jankuhn was accompanied by Bronze Age expert Karl Kersten and Russian-speaking archaeologist Baron Wolf von Seefeld. Jankuhn hoped to raid the areas museums for their treasures but found that these had all been shipped to the Caucasus during the invasion. Jankuhn met with senior officers of Einsatzkommando 11, part of Einsatzgruppe D, while waiting at the field headquarters of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. Commander Otto Ohlendorf gave Jankuhn information about the Crimean museums.

Travelling with the Division as they battled to Maikop Jankuhn reached the city on 9 August only to receive a telegram from Wolfram Sievers telling him that Himmler wanted Jankuhn to investigate a possible Gothic residence in Manhup-Kale, an ancient mountain fortress. after Ludolf von Alvensleben had told Himmler of its existence. Jankuhn sent Kersten to investigate and continued his search in the Caucasus. Unwilling to miss out on the treasures he had came for, Jankuhn sent Kersten to follow up on Manhup-Kale, while the rest of the team continued trying to secure artifacts that had not already been taken by the Red Army.

Arriving at Maikop museum on the 26th August, Jankuhn took a number of ancient Greek, Stone Age and Scythian artefacts, believing the latter to be (like the Goths) ancestors of the modern Germans, although his search for anything Gothic proved fruitless. Faced with the problem of transporting the goods to Germany, Jankuhn was aided by Dr. Werner Braune, the head of the Einsatzkommando 11b and himself an amateur archaeologist, who put his men at Jankuhn's disposal. The remainder of the Crimean expedition, which failed in its main objectives of providing evidence of a Gothic empire in the region and recovering the Kerch "Gothic crown of the Crimea" that had been exhibited in Berlin before Operation Barbarossa, was largely left in the hands of Kersten.

...In these areas the Ahnenerbe had moved right in. As early as July 1941 this archeological wing of the SS had urged ‘action in South Russia’ by a group to be headed by SS Sturmbannführer Professor Herbert Jankuhn of Kiel. By February of the next year they had proposed such genteel activities as ‘research into the finds and monuments of the Gothic Empire of Southern Russia,’ Jankuhn’s specialty. Somewhat less highbrow were projects to safeguard the Museum of Prehistoric Art in the Lavra Monastery near Kiev, and those of ‘the destroyed museum at Berdichev.’ Jankuhn later claimed to be acting in the spirit of the absent Kunstschutz; but the fact that he continually removed museum collections to SS Collecting Points and thence to Germany gives the lie to his claim of altruism. All this was approved by Himmler, who attached Jankuhn’s special detail to his Waffen SS Division “Wiking,” which was to give it ‘every support possible.

~Lynn H. Nicholas, The Rape of Europa (Vintage Books, 1995)

Jankuhn spent the remainder of the war with the Wiking Division as an intelligence officer and was with them in 1945 when they made a swift retreat from the Eastern Front in order to surrender to the US Army in Bavaria, fearing that their treatment at the hands of the Red Army would be much worse.

Jankuhn spent three years in an internment camp and was barred from university lecturing by the denazification courts. As such he continued his earlier work on Haithabu only through grants and published the findings privately, whilst also giving guest lectures. His work lead to theories on the impact of the development of such "emporia" (trade ports) that was considered highly innovative in its field.

He returned to university life in 1956 as a lecturer at the University of Göttingen and within ten years had risen to be dean of the philosophy faculty and a widely respected academic in Germany. Elsewhere this was less the case as was noted in 1968 when he offered to give a lecture at the University of Bergen and was refused permission. His disrespect of Norway's historic sites as an SS officer and his dismissive attitudes towards the work of famed Norwegian archaeologist Anton Wilhelm Brøgger meant that he was, in the words of Anders Hagen, "not welcome".

Politically he remained a supporter of a Greater Germany until the end and also argued that only SS concentration camp guards, rather than the SS as a whole, should be held responsible for the Holocaust.

In June 1943, 27-year-old Untersturmführer Heinz Brücher, who held a PhD from Tübingen in botany, was tasked with an expedition to the Ukraine and Crimea. Hauptsturmführer Konrad von Rauch and an interpreter identified as 'Steinbrecher' were also involved in the expedition.

In February of 1945, Brücher was ordered to destroy the 18 research facilties that were being studied, to avoid their capture by advancing Soviet forces. He refused, and after the war continued his work as a botanist in Argentina and Trinidad.

"When Germany overran the Caucasus in early 1942, they stationed 10,000 troops on Mount Elbrus. Three mountaineers believed to be from the Ahnenerbe held a ceremony in which they planted the Nazi flag at the peak, referring to it as a 'sacred Aryan mountain'."

German troops had reached the Volga just north of Stalingrad on August 23. Two days before the Swastika had been hoisted on Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in the Caucasus Mountains.

~from William Shirer, one of the more definitive sources on the Reich

On 21 August 1942, a joint 23-man team from 1st and 4th Mountain Divisions (General der Gebirgstruppe Rudolf Konrad’s XXXXIX Mountain Army Corps), led by Hauptmann Heinz Groth and Hauptmann Max Gämmerler from each division respectively, scaled the 5,633-meter-high Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in the Caucasus, one of the furthest penetrations of the German advance, and planted the Reich War Flag at the summit. Although an impressive feat, Hitler seemed to view the event as mere grandstanding and described it as the 'most pointless' operation in the war.

But there appears to be very little evidence that the Ahnenerbe sponsored the expedition in any way.

In 2002, Ukraine announced the discovery of a mass-grave containing dozens of Nazi soldiers in the southern region of the country. Some had been trepanned, others had their spinal cords sawn lengthwise, or were missing their skulls. Pravda reported it to be the aftermath of an Ahnenerbe experiment, although no further information was given. (And it should be pointed out that Pravda has run several incorrect stories about the Ahnenerbe before)

Ukraine said the skeletons were from German soldiers.....

The Ahnenerbe would have had absolutely no reason to be doing experimets on German soldiers 1) outside of Germany and 2) in Crimea at the time - while Germany was occuping Ukraine the Wehrmacht was sieging Sevastopol, Stalingrad and Leningrad; the tide of the war was beginning to turn, and Hitler needed all the men he could get to fight. The unlikelihood of the Ahnenerbe carrying out experiments on Germans in the Ukraine combined with Pravda's track record and the lack of real substance in this part of the article make it unbelievable.

Other Ahnenerbe activities

Master Plan East

After being appointed Commissioner for the Strengthening of the German Race, Himmler set to work with Konrad Meyer on developing a plan for three large German colonies in the eastern occupied territories. Leningrad, northern Poland and the Crimea would be the focal points of these colonies intended to spread the Aryan race. The Crimean colony was called Gotengau, or “Goth district” in honor of the Crimean Goths who had settled there and were believed to be Aryan ancestors of the Germans.

Himmler estimated Aryanization of the region would take twenty years, first expelling all the undesirable populations, then re-distributing the territory to appropriate Aryan populations. In addition to changing the demographics of the region, Himmler also intended to plant oak and beech trees to replicate traditional German forests, as well as plant new crops brought back from Tibet. To achieve the latter end, Himmler ordered a new institution set up by the Ahnenerbe and headed by Schäfer. A station was then set up near the Austrian town of Graz where Schäfer set to work with seven other scientists to develop new crops for the Reich.

Himmler inspects
a cotton crop
in the Crimea

The final piece of the puzzle fell in place after Hitler read a work by Alfred Frauenfeld which suggested resettling inhabitants of South Tyrol, believed by some to be descendants of the Goths, to the Crimea. In 1939 the South Tyrolean were ordered by Hitler and Benito Mussolini to vote on whether they wanted to remain in Italy and accept assimilation or alternatively emigrate to Germany. Over 80% chose the latter. Himmler presented Master Plan East to Hitler and received approval in July, 1942.

Full implementation of the plan was not feasible because of the ongoing war, but a small colony was in fact founded around Himmler’s field headquarters at Hegewald, near Kiev. Starting on October 10, 1942, Himmler’s troops deported 10,623 Ukrainians from the area in cattle cars before bringing in trains of ethnic Germans (volksdeutsche) from northern Ukraine. The SS authorities gave families needed supplies as well as land of their own, but also informed them of quotas of food they needed to produce for the SS.

Medical Experiments

The Institut für Wehrwissenschaftliche Zweckforschung ("Institute for Military Scientific Research"), which conducted extensive medical experiments using human subjects, became attached to the Ahnenerbe during World War II. It was managed by Wolfram Sievers. Sievers had founded the organization on the orders of Himmler, who appointed him director with two divisions headed by Sigmund Rascher and August Hirt, and funded by the Waffen-SS.

Dr. Sigmund Rascher was tasked with helping the Luftwaffe determine what was safe for their pilots—because aircraft were being built to fly higher than ever before. He applied for and received permission from Himmler to requisition camp prisoners to place in vacuum chambers to simulate the high altitude conditions that pilots might face.

After viewing a report of one of the fatal experiments, Himmler remarked that if a subject should survive such treatment, he should be "pardoned" to life imprisonment. Rascher replied to Himmler that the victims had to date been merely Poles and Russians, and that he believed they should be given no amnesty of any sort.

Rascher was also tasked with discovering how long German airmen would be able to survive if shot down above freezing water. His victims were forced to remain out of doors naked in freezing weather for up to 14 hours, or kept in a tank of icewater for 3 hours, their pulse and internal temperature measured through a series of electrodes. Warming of the victims was then attempted by different methods, most usually and successfully by immersion in very hot water, and also less conventional methods such as placing the subject in bed with women who would try to sexually stimulate him, a method suggested by Himmler.

A medical conference was held in Nurembers in October 1942, at which the results of the experiments were presented under the headings "Prevention and Treatment of Freezing", and "Warming Up After Freezing to the Danger Point".

Rascher, who had by now been transferred to the Waffen-SS, was eager to obtain the academic credentials necessary for a high-level university position. A Habilitation which was to be based on his research failed, however, at Munich, Marburg, and Frankfurt, due to the formal requirement that results be made available for public scrutiny. US investigators later concluded that Rascher had been merely a convenient front for Luftwaffe chief surgeon Erich Hippke, who had been the true source of the ideas for Rascher's experiments.

Erich Hippke (March 7 1888 - June 10 1969) was a German General Surgeon .

During the National Socialism period from 1937 until the end of December 1943 he was Chief of Medical Services of the Luftwaffe. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research. In 1941, with Hippke's participation as the highest-ranking Air Force officer "pressure" and "cooling" experiments took place at Dachau concentration camp using prisoners. In May 1942, the high altitude trials were completed and Hippke reported it to SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Wolff. Hippke extended his "sincerest thanks" to Heinrich Himmler in February 1943, and described the human experiments as a "great help". To Wolff explained Hippke in March 1943: "All work in the field of aviation medicine - ie altitude tests - were always under my scientific supervision in my capacity as head of German aviation medicine."

Hippke's successor Oskar Schröder was after the war an accused in the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial, an indictment of Hippke was not made since he had disappeared and his whereabouts were unknown at the start of the process. Hippke became Work Doctor of Hamburg subway and on the staff of the Hamburg Chamber of Physicians. When he was arrested in December 1946, he was working as a general practitioner in Hamburg. As the person responsible for human experimentation as Medical Inspector, in the so-called Milch-Prozess he was heard as a witness against his superior Erhard Milch in the Military Tribunal II. He left Nuremberg without being charged. He then became Kassenarzt in Berlin to 1962 and acted as a consultant in the reconstruction of the medical services of the Bundeswehr Luftwaffe.

Similar experiments were conducted from July to September 1944, as the Ahnenerbe provided space and materials to doctors at Dachau to undertake “seawater experiments”, chiefly through Wolfram Sievers. Sievers is known to have visited Dachau on 20 July 1944, to speak with Kurt Plötner and the non-Ahnenerbe Wilhelm Beiglböck, who ultimately carried out the experiments.

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Franz Josef Beiglböck (October 10, 1905– November 22, 1963) was an internist and held the title of Consulting Physician to the German Luftwaffe during World War II.

He was a member of the NSDAP and member of the SA (SA Obersturmbannführer). He performed medical tests involving seawater on inmates at Dachau concentration camp.

Beiglböck was a defendant in the Nuremberg Doctor's Trial. He was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. His sentence was commuted to 10 years and from 1952 - 1963 he served as the chief physician at Hospital of Buxtehude.

While at Dachau, Rascher developed the standard cyanide capsules, which could be easily bitten through, either deliberately or accidentally.

In an attempt to please Himmler by demonstrating that population growth could be accelerated by extending the childbearing age, Rascher publicized the fact that his wife had given birth to three children even after becoming 48 years of age, and Himmler used a photograph of Rascher's family as propaganda material. However, during her fourth "pregnancy", Mrs. Rascher was arrested for trying to kidnap a baby and an investigation revealed that her other three children had been either bought or kidnapped. Himmler felt betrayed by this conduct, and Rascher was arrested in April 1944. As well as complicity in the kidnappings of the three infants, Rascher was accused of financial irregularities, the murder of an assistants, and scientific fraud. He and his wife were executed. Rascher was executed in Dachau shortly before Allied forces liberated it, and his wife was hanged at an unknown location.

 The Execution of Dr. Sigmund Rascher

There were many mysterious executions and suicides in Nazi Germany during the last days of World War II, but none more mysterious than the execution of Dr. Sigmund Rascher, who was allegedly shot on April 26, 1945 inside a prison cell at Dachau on the direct orders of the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Himmler allegedly committed suicide shortly after he was captured by the British so we will never know if or how Dr. Rascher was executed.

Dr. Sigmund Rascher had conducted medical experiments for the Luftwaffe at Dachau, starting in May 1942, with the consent and approval of Himmler. Then in May 1944, Dr. Rascher and his wife were arrested because they had illegally adopted a child and registered it as their own, 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.

During the Nuremberg Doctors Trial conducted by American prosecutors in 1946 to 1947, in which Nazi doctors were accused of committing war crimes while doing medical experiments, the following testimony was given by Freiherr Von Eberstein, the SS officer and Police President of Munich, who had arrested Dr. Rascher:

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.

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 Ravensbrück, 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 Ravensbrück.

According to British intelligence agent Captain Sigismund Payne Best, who had been arrested on November 9, 1939 as a suspect in an alleged British plot to kill Hitler, Dr. Rascher was imprisoned in a cell next to his at the Buchenwald concentration camp. Before he was moved to Buchenwald in August 1944, Captain Payne Best had previously been a prisoner at Sachsenhausen where Georg Elser, the man who had tried to kill Hitler with a bomb planted at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich on November 8, 1939, was also a prisoner. Both Elser and Captain Payne Best were awaiting a trial during which Hitler expected to prove that the British intelligence service (MI6) was involved in Elser's failed assassination attempt.

After his arrest, Dr. Rascher and his wife were not put on trial. At some point, Dr. Rascher was imprisoned in the Dachau 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.

Dr. Rascher's wife was Karoline "Nini" Diehl, a Munich concert singer, who was a good friend of Heinrich Himmler and possibly his mistress before she married Dr. Rascher. Nini Rascher recommended Dr. Rascher to Himmler, "as early as April 1939," according to Himmler's biographer Peter Padfield who wrote:

Rascher was enrolled in Ahnenerbe, given the honorary rank of SS-Untersturmführer and assisted with funds for private cancer research.

When World War II started, Dr. Sigmund Rascher joined the Luftwaffe (German air force) where he became involved with high altitude research in which animals were being used as experimental subjects. Dr. Rascher wrote to Himmler and asked if he could be provided with "two or three professional criminals" to be used as subjects and Himmler agreed. The experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp where there were German prisoners who were in the category of "professional criminal.

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.

Dr. Alexander's report on the Prolonged Exposure to Cold evaluated the Nazi hypothermia experiments conducted by Dr. Rascher at Dachau; he 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 had discovered that Dr. Rascher lied in his reports and Dr. Rascher's deception was the reason that Himmler ordered the execution of both Dr. Rascher and his wife. Nini Rascher had helped with the experiments by taking color photographs during the autopsies of the subjects.

Regarding the execution of Dr. Rascher's wife Nini, the following information was obtained from the staff at the Dachau Museum on 11 July 2006:

Sigmund Rascher's wife, Nini Rascher, was imprisoned in a jail in Munich at first. After attacking a female warder, she was brought to Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. There she once again attacked a female warder and was shot a few days before the camp's liberation.

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 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.


Baracke X, erected May 1942 to April 1943.
It was to serve both as a killing facility and to remove the dead, but the gas chamber in the middle of the building was not used for mass murder. Survivors have testified that the SS did, however, murder individual
prisoners and small groups here using poison gas.

-Words on a sign at the south end of the building

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.

In his book entitled The Venlo Incident, Captain S. Payne Best wrote the following regarding Georg Elser who was brought to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in January 1941:

Then we heard that a new and very secret prisoner had been brought to the Bunker and occupied a very large cell, which had been made by knocking Nos. 11, 12 and 13 into one. Like me, he had guards with him day and night, but they slept in his cell and were forbidden to associate with Steven's guards and mine. It was all very well to make regulations such as these, but even if the guards were not allowed to fraternize while in the Bunker, there was nothing to prevent them doing so in the canteen and elsewhere outside, so not many days passed before we knew quite a lot about No. 13 as he was called.

The first news was that, as the guards put it, he was a "Todes Kandidat", meaning a man condemned to death; next his identity was established; he was Georg Elser, the man who, according to press and radio, was guilty of the attempt to assassinate the Führer on the 8th November, 1939, by a bomb built into one of the pillars in the Bürgerbräukeller at Munich. What did this mean? Why had he not been executed? We were all greatly intrigued, particularly because, in the papers, my name had been coupled with his and the suggestion made that I had been his employer. If it were true that he had been condemned to death, what about me - was I in the same boat? Bit by bit information leaked out and my guards came to me with the story that I was to be tried for complicity in the attempt on Hitler's life, and that Elser would give evidence that he had acted on my instructions. Of course I had had nothing to do with the business at all, and all I knew about the story was limited to the short report which I had read in the Dutch paper on the morning of my capture. As for Elser, all that I knew about him was that I had seen in one of the German illustrated papers which a guard was reading, his photograph next to mine; this was at the time when I was not allowed to read, and I had only caught a glimpse of it as I passed the guard on my promenade up and down the cell.

In the course of time I was able to establish relations with Elser and although we never met or spoke to each other, a sort of friendship developed between us. From what he communicated to me himself, and from information which I picked up from a number of other sources, I was eventually able to piece together his very strange story which I will tell at the appropriate time.

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?

In any case, if illegal adoption and registration of a child was a capital offense, why did Himmler wait until April 26, 1945 to execute Dr. and Frau Rascher?

Illegal adoption was a serious crime in Nazi Germany, so why were Dr. Rascher and Frau Rascher never put on trial?

The following quote is from an article entitled "Medical experiments of the Holocaust and Nazi Medicine":

Dr. Sigmund Rascher
with his illegally adopted child

The Nordic or Aryan Race was the most important goal of the Nazis. It was the largest part of the over all plan. The blonde hair, blue eye, super men were to be the only race. The Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and anyone else that did not meet the race requirements were to by cleansed from society through genocide. Hitler and the German High command made a list of rules for the fellow Nazis to follow. The new rules required all SS before marriage must submit to general testing to insure racial purity. The rules for marriage were unbelievably complex. Thousands of marriages were denied. If the laws for marriage were broken it could mean the death penalty.

Dr. Sigmund Rascher and his wife learned what not following the marriage laws would hold for their lives. Mrs. Rascher was sterile. They were not illegally married; they adopted two children. They were later investigated by the Gestapo and executed for the crime. In this case, after his medical experimentation, it seems fitting that this killer was caught up by his own party.

In the last days of World War II, Himmler had a lot on his mind. He was desperately trying to negotiate with the Allies for a German surrender to the Americans and the British, but not to the Soviet Union. There were rumors that he planned to use the VIP prisoners, who had been transferred to Dachau in April 1945, as hostages in his negotiations.

After the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11th, Adolf Hitler had given the order to evacuate the Sachsenhausen and Dachau camps to prevent the prisoners from being released by the Americans. According to testimony given at the Nuremberg IMT, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the head of the Security SD forces, had ordered that the prisoners should be "liquidated" in the event that it was impossible to evacuate the Dachau camp.

On April 26, 1945, the day that Dr. Sigmund Rascher was allegedly executed, there was complete chaos and confusion in the Dachau concentration 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.

According to the Dachau 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."

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 at their destination.

The Reverend Martin Niemöller and the Catholic clergymen in the bunker were released from Dachau before the evacuation began. Is it possible that Himmler's good friend Dr. Sigmund Rascher was also released at the same time? Could he have escaped to Paraguay? Or maybe he ended up in America, working with the U.S. Air Force under a new identity.

Several of the Nazi doctors who worked on medical experiments for the German air force were brought to America after the war, including Prof. Dr. Hubertus Strunghold, the head of the Luftwaffe research department, who handed over important information about the medical experiments at Dachau to the Americans. Strunghold was not charged as a war criminal, and instead his assistants Dr. Hermann Becker-Freyseng, Dr. Georg August Weltz and Dr. Konrad Schäfer were put in the dock at the Doctors Trial. After Weltz and Schäfer were acquitted, they were brought to America to work on medical research. Dr. Becker-Freyseng was convicted and sent to prison, but he was released early so that he could come to American and do research for the U.S. Air Force.

If the plan was to kill all the prisoners in the bunker, except for the religious leaders, why was Dr. Rascher singled out to be murdered before the evacuation began? And why wasn't Dr. Rascher taken to the execution wall north of the crematorium where executions normally took place, instead of having SS-Hauptscharführer Theodor Bongartz blow Dr. Rascher's brains out in a prison cell? Why leave behind the gory evidence in a prison cell when it would have been so easy to execute Dr. Rascher in the woods behind the crematorium.

When the Nuremberg Doctors Trial started on December 9, 1946, it was apparently not yet known for sure that Dr. Rascher had been executed. In his opening statement for the prosecution at the Doctors Trial, General Telford Taylor said the following:

There were many co-conspirators who are not in the dock. Among the planners and leaders of this plot were Conti and Grawitz, and Hippke whose whereabouts is unknown. Among the actual executioners, Dr. Ding is dead and Rascher is thought to be dead. There were many others.

Taylor was referring to the Doctors who were involved as "co-conspirators" in the Nazi "plot" to do experiments, but were not on trial for one reason or another. The defendants in the Doctors Trial were accused of committing crimes under the guise of scientific research. The "executioners" were the Doctors who did the actual experiments, including Dr. Rascher. They were called "executioners" because the subjects had been prisoners who were classified as "professional criminals," but instead of having a humane execution, they had been tortured to death.

Curiously, it was not known for certain by the American prosecutors at the Doctors Trial, whether Dr. Sigmund Rascher was alive or dead, 18 months after his alleged demise, even though Dr. Leo Alexander had supposedly deduced the reason for Dr. Rascher's execution during the course of his investigation prior to the start of the trial.

The following testimony was given at the Doctors Trial by a member of the German nobility, Freiherr von Eberstein, who was the Police President in Munich, when he was asked about Dr. Rascher by prosecution attorney, Herr Pelckmann:

Yes. Rascher remained under arrest in the detention house of the SS barracks, Munich-Freimann, to all appearances until the barracks, at least the detention house, was evacuated because of the approach of the American troops. He was then sent to Dachau and I learned from the press that he must have been shot during the last few days. I cannot give any further information about this, since I was relieved of my post on 20 April 1945.

He was "sent to Dachau?" "Because of the approach of the American troops?" What about Dr. Rascher's time in Buchenwald when he supposedly had incriminating conversations with Captain Payne Best?

Did Captain Payne Best actually meet Dr. Rascher for the first time on the march from Dachau to the South Tyrol, as reported by Gerald Reitlinger, a highly respected historian? Shortly after he arrived at Dachau, Captain Payne Best was transferred from the Dachau 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. It is possible that Dr. Rascher was never a prisoner at Buchenwald, and 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.

In his 1143-page book entitled The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer wrote this about Dr. and Frau Rascher: "Neither survived, and it is believed that Himmler himself, in one of the last acts of his life, ordered their execution." In other words, no one knows for certain who ordered the murder of Dr. Sigmund Rascher.

Dr. Rascher's execution had been ordered by Himmler, according to the Dachau Museum, and carried out by Theodor Bongartz, the man in charge of the crematorium where the bodies were disposed of. The execution had taken place, not at the usual place at the execution wall in the woods, but in the bunker in the presence of witnesses who would have heard the shot fired in Cell #73 and seen the brains spattered on the wall of the cell. A prisoner, who had been sent to Dachau because he was a Jehovah's Witness, was in charge of cleaning the bunker and he would have been a witness to the aftermath of the shooting.

If Himmler had given an execution order, it would normally have been given to the Gestapo chief in Berlin and the order would then have been sent by telegram to Johann Kick, the Gestapo department head at Dachau, who would have given the order to Wilhelm Ruppert, the officer in charge of executions at Dachau who would have then ordered Theodor Bongartz to shoot Dr. Rascher at the execution wall. Apparently none of this happened and there is no record of an execution order.

Theodor Bongartz, who allegedly executed Dr. Rascher, 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 was also credited with the murder of Georg Elser around the time that an Allied bomb hit Dachau on April 9, 1945. Elser had been arrested as a suspect in the alleged British plot 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. Sigmund Rascher, Georg Elser and General Charles Delestraint, all three of whom were allegedly shot by Theodor Bongartz and burned in the ovens at Dachau.

May 6, 1945, the day that Dachau Commandant Eduard Weiter allegedly committed suicide at Schloss Itter in Austria, was the same day that the 137 Dachau VIP prisoners that had been evacuated from Dachau, were liberated by American soldiers at Innsbruck. However, Nerin E. Gun wrote in his book The Day of the Americans that Weiter was killed by an SS officer at Schloss Itter.

According to Nerin E. Gun, an SS man named Fritz had thrown a grenade at the American liberators in Innsbruck. Regarding the American retaliation for the grenade attack, Gun wrote the following:

The Americans were furious and shot down all the guards posted around the village. The Resistance, during this time, had not sat on its hands. The six Gestapo functionaries, the professional killers who had joined the convoy at Innsbruck, were hanging from the trees in the village square.

In a book entitled Das Ahnenerbe der SS 1933-1945. Ein Beitrag zur Kulturpolitik des Dritten Reiches, published in Stuttgart in 1974, the author, Michael H. Kater, quoted documents from preliminary German court proceedings concerning the death of Rascher, dated 17 September 1963, which stated that Dr. Sigmund Rascher was shot in the Dachau bunker in Cell No. 73 by SS-Hauptscharführer Theodor Bongartz.

However, 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 had turned the VIP prisoners over to Captain Payne Best, according to his own 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 Bürgerbräu.

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."

The following quote is from The Day of the Americans:

One even gets the impression that our temporarily unemployed chief of the British Intelligence served as an advisor at times to commander Keindl (Commandant of Sachsenhausen) and in a way helped him win the governing of Sachsenhausen. Perhaps there is a professional solidarity which is hard to overcome, even when you are at war.

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.

Walter Greite rose to leadership of the Ahnenerbe’s Applied Nature Studies division in January 1939, and began taking detailed measurements of 2,000 Jews at the Vienna emigration office—but scientists were unable to use the data. On December 10, 1941, Beger met with Sievers and convinced him of the need for 120 Jewish skulls. During the later Nuremberg Trials, Dr. Friedrich Hielscher testified that Sievers had initially been repulsed at the idea of expanding the Ahnenerbe to human experimentation, and that he had “no desire whatsoever to participate in these.” (v:II pg:37)

Sievers, Beger and August Hirt together collected human skeletons from among the camp inmates, and ultimately had 79 Jewish men, 30 Jewish women, 2 Poles, and 4 Asians sent to Natzweiler-Struthof, gassed, and their bodies returned to him. (some speculate that the asians were in fact, Soviets, and there is mention that Hirt used this opportunity to test the effects of mescaline as a poison). In early 1943, Bruno Beger arrived at the camp and began to assist in processing and measuring the remains.