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SS-Gruppenführer Dr Conti
24 August 1900|
|Died||6 October 1945
Leonardo Conti, MD (24 August 1900 in Lugano – 6 October 1945 in Nuremberg) was the Reich Health Leader (German: Reichsgesundheitsführer) in Nazi Germany. He is attributed with the killing of a large number of Germans who were of "unsound mind." 
Conti later studied medicine in Berlin (Friedrich Humboldt Universität, F.H.U) and Erlangen (Friedrich Alexander Universität, F.A.U). He became active in the völkisch movement, and co-founded an antisemitic paper called Kampfbund ("Struggle league"). He took part in the Kapp Putsch in 1920. From 1923 he was a member of the Sturmabteilung (SA), becoming their first physician; one of his patients was Horst Wessel, who eventually became a martyr of the Nazi Party. In 1925, he promoted "Über Weichteilplastik im Gesicht", a book about facial plastic surgery. In 1927 he left his usual activities and started organizing the National Socialist German Doctors' League (NSDÄB) (German: Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Ärztebund) in Berlin.
He joined the Schutzstaffel (SS) and, as an "old fighter" of the party, he was appointed by Hermann Göring to the Prussian State Council. Conti held the posts and titles of Head of the Reich Physicians' Chamber (German: Reichsärztekammer), Leader of the NSDÄB, and Leader of the Main Office for the People's Health. In 1937 he was elected to the presidency of the FIMS, the International Federation of Sports Medicine. The FIMS today considers this to have been "a black page' in their history. In 1939, Conti was appointed Reichsgesundheitsführer and State Secretary in the Interior Ministry. On the first of July 1941, as the Chief of Health in the Reich, he obtained the classification of Pervitin (see History and culture of substituted amphetamines) among the products defined by Reich law on opiates. It condemns the private use of Pervitin but does not call into question its use for military purposes. In 1944, he was promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer (English: Lieutenant General).
After Germany's surrender, Conti was to have been tried for his involvement in the Action T4 Euthanasia Program at the Doctors' Trial. However, he hanged himself in his cell on 6 October 1945 (over a year before the trial began). The operation involved the planned murder of mental patients and physically deformed people from September, 1939 when the policy was personally approved by Hitler. The killings were conducted in many hospitals and asylums by a variety of methods, including starvation, injection of lethal drugs, and gassing using carbon monoxide. The programme was later extended and modified for the mass murder of Jews, Poles, and Russians in camps such as Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Chelmno, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Majdanek.
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