The "Doctors Trial" or ''Medical Case"- officially designated United States of America, vs. Karl Brandt, et al. (Case No. l) - was tried at the Palace of Justice in Nuernberg before Military Tribunal I.
The following is an extract from the testimony of Prosecution witness Wladyslawa Karolewska.
I think at this time the Tribunal will take a recess for fifteen minutes.
The symptoms were the same. The leg was swollen and the puss flowed from my leg. After this operation, the dressings were changed by Dr. Fischer every three days. More than ten days afterwards we were taken again to the operating room, put on the table; and we were told that Dr. Gebhardt was going to come to examine our legs. We waited for a long time. Then he arrived and examined our legs while we were blindfolded. This time other people arrived with Dr. Gebhardt; but I don't know their names; and I don't remember their faces. Then we were carried on hospital cots back to our rooms. After this operation I felt still worse; and I could not move. While I was in the hospital, cruelty from Dr. Oberhauser was performed on me.
When I was in my room I made the remark to fellow prisoners that we were operated on in very bad conditions and left here in this room and that we were not given even the possibility to recover. This remark must have been heard by a German nurse who was sitting in the corridor because the door of our room leading to the corridor was opened. The German nurse entered the room and told us to get up and dress. We answered that we could not follow her order because we had great pains in our legs and we couldn't walk. Then the German nurse came with Dr. Oberhauser into our room. Dr. Oberhauser told us to dress and come to the dressing room. We put on our dresses; and, being unable to walk, we had to hop on one leg going into the operating room. After one hop, we had to rest. Dr. Oberhauser did not allow anybody to help us. When we arrived at the operating room, quite exhausted, Dr. Oberhauser appeared and told us to go back because the change of dressing would not take place that day. I could not walk, but somebody, a prisoner whose name I don't remember, helped me to come back to the room.
We drew up a protest in writing and we went to the camp commander. Not only those girls who had been operated on before but other girls who were called to the hospital came to the office. The operated on girls used crutches and they went without any help.
I would like to tell the contents of the petition made by us. We, the undersigned, Polish political prisoners, ask Herr Commander whether he knew that since the year 1942 in the camp hospital experimental operations have taken place under the name of guinea-pig (das sind Meerschweine), as explaining the meaning of those operations. We ask whether we were operated on as a result of sentences passed on us because, as far as we know, the international law forbids the performance of operations even on political prisoners.
We did not get any answer; and we were not allowed to talk to the commander. On the 15th of August, 1943, a police woman came and read off the names of the ten new prisoners. She told us to follow her to the hospital. We refused to go to the hospital, as we thought that we were intended for a new operation. The police woman told us that we were going probably to be sent to a factory for work outside the camp. We wanted to make sure whether the Arbeitsamt was open because it was Sunday. The police woman told us that we had to go to the hospital and be examined by a doctor before we went to the factory. We refused to go then because we were sure that we will be kept in the hospital and operated on again. All prisoners in the camp were told to stay in the blocks. All of the women who lived in the same block where I was were told to leave the block and stand in line before the Block ten at a time. Then overseer Binz appeared and called out ten names and among them was my name. We went out of the line and stood before the ninth block in line. Then Binz said: "Why do you stand so in line as if you were to be executed?" We told her that the operations were worse for us than executions and that we would prefer to be executed rather than to be operated on again. Binz told us that she might give us work, there was no question of our being operated on but we were going to be sent for work outside the Camp. We told her that we must know that prisoners belonging to our group are not allowed to leave the camp and go outside the camp. Then she told us to follow her into her office, that she would show us a paper proving that we are going to be sent for work to the factory outside the camp. We followed her and we stood before her office. She entered her office for awhile and then went to the canteen where the Camp Commander was. She had a conference with him probably asking him what to do with us. We stood before the office a half an hour. In the meantime one fellow-prisoner who used to work in the canteen walked by us. She told us that Binz asked for help from SS men to take us by force to the hospital. We stood for awhile and then Binz came out of the canteen accompanied by the Camp Commander. We stood for awhile near the camp gate. We were afraid that SS men would come to take us so we ran away and mixed with other people standing before the block. Then Binz and the camp police appeared. They drove us out from the lines by force. She told us that she put us into the bunker as punishment; that we did not follow her orders. In each cell were put five prisoners although one cell was intended only for one person. The cells were quite dark; without lights. We stayed in the bunker the whole night long and the next day. We slept on the floor because there was only one couch in the cell. The next day we were given a breakfast consisting of black coffee and a piece of dark bread. Then we were locked again in this dark room. We were only troubled by people walking in the corridor of the bunker. The answer was given us the same day in the afternoon. The watch-woman from the bunker unlocked our cell and got me out of the cell. I thought that I was then to be interrogated or beaten. They took me and they went down the corridor. She opened one door and behind the door stood SS man Dr. Trommel. He told me to follow him upstairs. Following Dr. Trommel I noticed there were other cells, and those cells were with bed clothing. He put me in one of the cells. Then he asked me whether I would agree to a small operation. I told him that I did not agree to it because I had undergone already two operations. He told me that this was going to be a very small operation and that it will not harm me. I told him that I was a political prisoner and that the operation cannot be performed on political prisoners without their consent. He told me to lie down on the bed; I refused to so. He repeated it twice. Then he want out of the cell and I followed him. He went quickly downstairs and locked the door. Standing before the cell I noticed a cell on the opposite side of the Staircase, and I also noticed some men in operating gowns. There was also one German nurse ready to give an injection. Near the staircase stood a stretcher. That made it clear to me that I was going to be operated on again in the bunker. I decided to defend myself to the last moment. In a moment Trommel came with two SS men. One of these SS men told me to enter the cell. I refused to do it, so he forced me into the cell and threw me on the bed.
Dr. Trommel took me by the left wrist and pulled my arm back. With his other hand he tried to gag me, putting a piece of rag into my mouth, because I shouted. The second SS man took my right hand and stretched it. Two other SS men held me by my feet. Immobilized, I felt that somebody was giving me an injection. I defended myself for a long time, but then I grew weaker. The injection had its effect; I felt sleepy. I heard Trommel saying, "Das ist fertig", that is all.
I regained consciousness again, but I don't know when. Then I noticed that a German nurse was taking off my dress, I then lost consciousness again; I regained it in the morning. Then I noticed that both my legs were in iron splints and were bandaged from the toes to groin. I felt a strong pain in my feet, and a temperature.
In the afternoon of the same day a German nurse came and gave me an injection, in spite of my protests; she gave this injection on my thigh and told me that she had to do it. Four days after this operation a doctor from Hohenlychen arrived, again gave me an injection to put me to sleep, and as I protested he told me that he would change the dressing, I felt a higher temperature and stronger pain in my legs.
Now turn around once, please. Just turn around slowly. Thank you. Sit down now.
Were you ever asked to consent to any of these operations which you underwent at Ravensbrueck?
(The witness complied and pointed to the Defendant Gebhardt)
Thank you. Sit down.
I will ask that the record show that the witness properly identified the defendant Gebhardt.