"From Witness to Inditee: Eugen Haagen and his Hearings from the Nuremberg Military Tribunal to the Struthof Medical Trial"

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Christian Bonah (University Strasbourg) and Florian Schmaltz (MPIWG, Berlin)

"From Witness to Inditee: Eugen Haagen and his Hearings from the Nuremberg Military Tribunal (1947) to the Struthof Medical Trials (1952/1954)"

(Introduced by: Sari Siegel, University of Southern California)

[46min13; no slides]


This paper was presented to the international symposium:

"Reassessing Nazi Human Experiments and Coerced Research, 1933-1945: New Findings, Interpretations and Problems"

4 - 7 July 2013, Wadham College, Oxford


Convened by Paul Weindling (Oxford Brookes University), Marius Turda (Oxford Brookes University), and Volker Roelcke (University of Giessen).

Kindly funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and the University of Giessen


Abstract: The Struthof war crimes trials, named after the location of the only Nazi concentration camp on French soil in Alsace, also identified by the occupiers as the Natzweiler camp, were held between 1952 and 1954, respectively five to seven years after the US Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT). One of the SMT inditees was professor of hygiene, bacteriology and virology Eugen Haagen (1898-1972). With his close collaborator Hellmut Erich Gräfe and his technical assistant Brigitte Crodel, Haagen pursued according to Raphael Toledano an ambitious research program in Strasbourg on yellow fever (1941-43) typhus (1943-44), influenza (1943-44), epidemic hepatitis (1944), sulfonamides (1944) and penicillin (1944).


After the French Military Tribunal at Metz had issued an arrest warrant against Haagen, he was arrested and released several times. While awaiting his trial, Haagen was transferred to Nuremberg in May 1947 where he served between June 17 and June 20 as a defense witness in the Nuremberg doctors’ trial. No other witness had been interrogated on so many days. On August 15, Haagen was transferred back to France to be detained in Metz until his trial in 1952. He remained imprisoned for eight years until his final conviction in Lyon in 1954 and was granted amnesty and released in September 1955. The presentation will propose a close reading of Haagen’s testimonies and defense strategies between 1947 and 1954.



Christian Bonah is professor for the history of medical and health sciences at the University of Strasbourg. He has worked on comparative history of medical education, the history of medicaments, as well as the history of human experimentation. Recent works includes research on risk perception and management in drug scandals and courtroom trials as well as studies on medical film.


Florian Schmaltz has studied Social and Economic History, History, Philosophy and German Literature at the University of Hamburg and the Free University of Berlin. He completed a PhD at the University of Bremen on the subject of war industry research involving the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute under National Socialism. Since 2004 he has been a research assistant on the project: “Aerodynamic Research Practice in the First and Second World War between politics, defence and scientific theory,” and the University of Frankfurt.



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