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Rose was born in Danzig (then part of Germany, now Gdańsk Poland). He studied at the University of Breslau and the University of Berlin. After completing his studies he worked at the Robert Koch Institute and Heidelberg University. He worked in China from 1929 to 1936.
In 1939, Rose became a member of the Luftwaffe medical corps, where he became a brigadier general. During the war, he carried out experiments on the prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp and Buchenwald, in which he investigated malaria and typhus. He attempted to obtain a research position in the United States, but was arrested at war's end.
During the Doctors' Trial at Nuremberg, he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he later had his sentence reduced to twenty years. He was released from Landsberg Prison in 1955.
See also 
- Nazi human experimentation
- Doctors' Trial
- Kurt Blome
- Unit 731
- Yellow fever
- Erich Traub
- Claus Schilling