FRANKFURT (Oct. 18)
A former Nazi doctor who admitted to working at Auschwitz has denied that he took part in atrocities.
Prosecutors in Munich began investigating Hans Muench after he was quoted in a recent interview in the German news magazine Der Spiegel as saying that he was not bothered by working at Auschwitz and that gassing Jews spared them from further suffering.
“I could conduct experiments on people that otherwise are only possible with rabbits. That was an important contribution to science,” Muench said. He also said that after two or three days, it was easy to adjust to life at the death camp.
Prosecutors in Frankfurt have also reopened multiple investigations into the wartime actions of Muench, who is alleged to have infected prisoners with malaria. Previous investigations were dropped due to lack of evidence. But the Prosecutor’s Office says new evidence has surfaced from files that were found in the archives of the Stasi, the former East German security service.
“He outed himself,” said Willi Dressen, the director of the central office for the investigation of Nazi crimes in Ludwisburg, Germany. Dressen said Muench was the only one of 40 defendants cleared of charges during a trial in Krakow, Poland, in 1947. “Many prisoners spoke out in his favor” at that trial, according to Dressen.
Muench, who lives in a village in Bavaria, claimed in the magazine interview that he saved many people by killing a few. He is reportedly the last surviving doctor who worked at Auschwitz.
Meanwhile, the German Society for Children’s Medicine has admitted it did nothing to stop the Nazis from ending the careers of more than 700 pediatricians who were Jewish or political opponents of the Nazis. At a commemoration ceremony in Dresden, the director of the society, Lothar Pelz, said it is important for future generations to remember the fate of their fellow doctors.