Hans Eisele (physician)

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Hans Kurt Eisele in American internment

Hans Kurt Eisele (March 13, 1913 in Donaueschingen – May 3, 1967 in Cairo) was a German SS-Hauptsturmführer and German concentration camp doctor.

Personal life[edit]

The son of a church painter, Eisele came from a modest background. The situation of the family worsened significantly due to inflation of currency during the twenties. After attending the grammar school in Donaueschingen, he studied medicine in Freiburg in 1931. In 1933 he joined both the Nazi Party (member number 3,125,695) and the SS (member number 237,421). He was married and had three children.

Crimes in the concentration camps[edit]

In January 1940, Eisele joined the Waffen-SS and was for a short time in the Mauthausen concentration camp, then from February to August 1941 in Buchenwald concentration camp. He served as camp doctor, and murdered 300 prisoners suffering from tuberculosis. He also did experimental surgery, sometimes without anaesthesia and with a fatal outcome; in addition, he abused and tortured patients. Then he was in the concentration camp Natzweiler and in June 1942 employed in the SS hospital in Prague. Furthermore, he did service with the SS Division Das Reich on the Eastern Front. In February 1945 he was sent to Dachau concentration camp, where he served under the First Camp Physician Fritz Hintermayer. He was arrested by U.S. forces in April 1945.

Trials and punishment[edit]

Eisele (#14) listens to an account of his crimes at the Dachau Camp trial

On 13 December 1945, Eisele was tried in the Dachau main trial for his participation in three executions for which he had issued the death certificates. He was sentenced to death. After commutation of the sentence to a life sentence on 11 April 1947, he was in the Buchenwald main trial, tried again and received together with twenty co-defendants the death penalty. However, the basic conviction against Eisele proved dubious and uncertain, so that four of the eight military judges submitted an application that the judgment be converted by the reviewing body to a ten-year sentence, which was granted.[1]

During his detention in prison for war criminals Landsberg, he wrote an extensive defense titled Audiatur et altera pars in which he denied the allegations and represented himself as a convinced Christian, who had always been a physician only for the sake of others. In contrast, numerous witnesses of his crimes were former concentration camp prisoners, and sometimes even former SS members. But after another penalty reduction, Eisele, on 26 February 1952, was released from prison.

Postwar career and escape to Egypt[edit]

After his release, he opened a medical practice in Munich. In 1958, during the course of the trial of Martin Sommer, a guard at Buchenwald, new allegations were made against Eisele. He fled to Egypt, where he settled under the pseudonym Carl Debouche in upmarket Cairo suburb Maadi.[2]

Eisele moved in the circles of former Nazi scientists in Egypt, after a German extradition request had been rejected.

There was at least one assassination attempt on Eisele by Mossad, a package bomb in which the Egyptian deliverer died, but Eisele was unhurt. Eisele died on 3 May 1967 in unknown circumstances in his home in Maadi, and was buried in the small German cemetery in grave No. 99.[2]

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