Insights into the Freiburg Anatomical Institute during National Socialism, 1933-1945.Ann Anat. 2016 May; 205:90-102.AA
The Anatomical Institute at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg is among the anatomical departments for which a comprehensive account of its history during National Socialism (NS) is still missing. Previous investigations (such as in: Grün et al., 2002) have revealed the political activities of some anatomists, but, in the absence of relevant body-registers, a more comprehensive examination of the anatomical body procurement has not been attempted. The inspection of records in university and municipal archives allows insight into the activities in the institute within the historical context. The Freiburg Institute shared the experience of the impact of NS politics with other German anatomies. Four anatomists were dismissed because of NS racial discrimination, and chairman von Möllendorf left for political reasons. His successor Nauck's appointment was politically motivated, as he was a staunch Nazi. His colleagues were also members of NS political organizations. Body procurement was controversial between the public and the anatomists in Freiburg prior to and following the Third Reich, and much of the anatomists' efforts focused on the improvement of the body supply. In 1935, and, again during the war, the number of bodies was sufficient for anatomical education. Among the traditional sources of body procurement were increasing numbers of NS victims. Forty-four of them can be identified, among them 21 forced laborers and their children who died of so-called natural causes, and 22 men who had been executed at Stuttgart prison on April 6, 1943. While the victims' names have been ascertained, their biographies still need restoration to ensure an appropriate commemoration.