Gerhard Wagner (physician)

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This article is about the physician Gerhard Wagner. For other people of the same name, see Gerhard Wagner (disambiguation).

Gerhard Wagner (18 August 1888 in Neu-Heiduk, Prussian Silesia, now in Poland – 25 March 1939 in Munich) was the first Reich Doctors' Leader (Reichsärzteführer) in the time of Nazi Germany.

Born a surgery professor's son, he studied medicine in Munich and served as a doctor at the front in World War I (1914–1918). Among other things, he was awarded the Iron Cross, first class.

From 1919, Wagner ran his own medical practice in Munich, while also being a member of two Freikorps between 1921 and 1923, von Epp and Oberland. Just because of his Silesian origins, Wagner stayed on as leader of the Upper Silesia German Community Associations (Deutschtumsverbände Oberschlesiens). In May 1929, he switched to the NSDAP.

Dr. Wagner was co-founder and as of 1932 leader of the National Socialist German Physicians' Federation (NSDÄB), and also functioned from 1933 as a member of the Palatinate Landtag. A year later, in 1934, Wagner was ordered to the position of Reich Doctors' Leader. Moreover, he was "The Führer's Commissioner for National Health". By 1933, he had already become leader of the Main Office for National Health, and in 1936 came his appointment as that office's Main Service Leader (Hauptdienstleiter).

In December 1935, Wagner became leader of the Reichsärztekammer (Physicians' Chamber). At the 1936 Nuremberg Rally, he discussed the racial laws. As was typical of Nazi propaganda at this time, this was more in terms of the pure and growing race than the evil of the Jews.[1] A shift in his political career came in 1937 when he was promoted to SA Obergruppenführer. Meanwhile he was also commissioner for collegiate issues on Rudolf Hess's staff.

Wagner died quite young, at only 50. The cause of his sudden death is to this day unknown. His successor was Leonardo Conti.

Gerhard Wagner was jointly responsible for euthanasia and sterilization carried out against Jews and the handicapped, and showed himself at the Nuremberg Party Congress in 1935 to be a staunch proponent of the Nuremberg Laws, and thereby also of Nazi Germany's race legislation and racial politics. Under Wagner's leadership, the Nazi killing institution at Hadamar was established.

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