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Hoven was born in Freiburg, Baden, Germany. Between the years 1919 and 1933, he visited Denmark, Sweden, the United States, and France, returning in 1933 to Freiburg, where he completed his high school studies. He then attended the Universities of Freiburg and Munich. In 1934, he joined the SS. In 1939, he concluded his medical studies and became a physician for the SS. Hoven rose to the rank of Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in the Waffen SS.
Hoven was involved in the administration of medical experiments regarding typhus and the tolerance of serum containing phenol, and which led to the deaths of many inmates. He was also involved in Nazi euthanasia programs, during which people with disabilities were killed, along with Jewish people who were considered unfit for work.
He was arrested by the Nazis in 1943, accused of giving a lethal injection of phenol to an SS officer who was a potential witness in an investigation against Ilse Koch, with whom Hoven was rumoured to be having an affair. He was convicted and sentenced to death, although he was released in March 1945 due to the Nazi shortage of doctors.
Hoven was arrested at the end of World War II by the Allies and put on trial as a defendant at the Doctors' Trial, one of the Nuremberg Trials. He was found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and membership in a criminal organization. He was sentenced to death and hanged on 2 June 1948 at Landsberg prison in Bavaria.
"U.S. Military Tribunal No. 1, Case No. 1: Closing Brief for the United States of America Against Waldemar Hoven", 16 June 1947. Harvard Law School Nuremberg Trials Project.
- Klee, Ernst (2007). Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich (in German) (2 ed.). Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch. p. 272. ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8.
- "Nuremberg - Transcript Viewer - Transcript for NMT 1: Medical Case". nuremberg.law.harvard.edu. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
- "Nuremberg - Document Viewer - Interrogation of Waldemar Hoven concerning medical programs and research projects at Buchenwald". nuremberg.law.harvard.edu. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
- Allen, Arthur (21 July 2014). The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393244014.