Nazi victims′ remains used for medical research buried in Berlin | News | DW | 13.05.2019
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Nazi victims' remains used for medical research buried in Berlin

The remains of some 300 Nazi resistance fighters, executed for standing up to Adolf Hitler's dictatorship, have finally been buried in Berlin. Anatomy professor Hermann Stieve used the bodies for research during the war.

The remains of more than 300 female political prisoners who were executed by the Nazis and used for medical research were buried in a Berlin cemetery on Monday.

In the capital's Dorotheenstadt cemetery, where many Nazi victims are buried, descendants of the victims watched as a pallbearer lowered a box containing their microscopic remains into the ground.

Read more: Research organization to identify Nazi victims that ended up as brain slides 

Anatomy professor Hermann Stieve, an expert on the female reproductive system, dissected their bodies to conduct medical research into the effects of stress on the female body before and during World War II.

Stieve wasn't a member of the Nazi party but was complicit in their crimes, said Johannes Tuchel, director of the German Resistance Memorial Center, who was involved in the investigation into the remains and organizing their burial. Stieve arranged to receive some of the bodies only 30 minutes after their execution at Ploetzensee prison.

Stieve died of a stroke in 1952. His descendants found the prisoners' microscopic remains on glass plates and gave them to the Brandenburg Medical School in 2016.

A man throws ashes during the burial of the remains of victims executed during the Nazi-era in Germany and used for research at Berlin's Charite university hospital during the Holocaust at Dorotheenstaedt cemetery in Berlin, Germany, May 13, 2019. (Reuters/F. Bensch)

Relatives attended a multi-faith ceremony in Berlin's Dorotheenstaedt cemetery

'Giving the victims back their dignity'

"He [Stieve] helped the murderous justice system to deny these people a grave," said Andreas Winkelmann of the Brandenburg Medical School.

Family members have requested that their relatives not be identified on the grave's plaque.

Read more: Last survivors of Nazi women's camp tell their horror stories

"With the burial of the microscopic specimens ... we want to take a step toward giving the victims back their dignity," said Karl Max Einhaeupl, head of Berlin's university hospital Charite.

The Nazis executed more than 2,800 prisoners by hanging or guillotine at Ploetzensee prison from 1933 to 1945.

amp/cmk (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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