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Ernst-Günther Schenck (October 3, 1904 – December 21, 1998) was a German Standartenführer (Colonel) and doctor who joined the SS in 1933. Because of a chance encounter with Adolf Hitler during the closing days of World War II, his memoirs proved historically valuable.[1] His accounts of this period influenced the accounts of Joachim Fest and James P. O'Donnell regarding the end of Hitler's life.

Schenck was born in Marburg. He trained as a doctor and joined the SS. During the war, Schenck was actively involved in the creation of a large herbal plantation in Dachau concentration camp, which contained over 200,000 medicinal plants, from which, among other things, vitamin supplements for the Waffen SS were manufactured. In 1940 he was appointed as inspector of nutrition for the SS. In 1943 Schenck developed a protein sausage, which was meant for the SS frontline troops. Prior to its adoption, it was tested on 370 prisoners, some of whom died. He was also associated with Erwin Like's attempts to develop holistic methods to prevent cancer.[2]

According to Waffen SS-Oberscharführer Hans Bottger (with the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler), Schenck left his government duty post to go to the Eastern Front (World War II) for his so-called "Iron Cross apprenticeship." However, instead of just manipulating his way into getting the award like many others, Schenck found himself taking command of a gun battery after the commander had been killed. Schenck performed "well" in combat and earned the Iron Cross, Second Class.[3]

Towards the end of the war Schenck volunteered to work in an emergency casualty station located in the Reich Chancellery in April 1945, near the Führerbunker. Although he was not trained as a surgeon and lacked the experience, as well as the supplies and instruments necessary to operate on battle victims, he nonetheless assisted approximately 100 major surgeries.

During these surgeries, Schenck was aided by Dr. Werner Haase, who also served as one of Hitler's private physicians. Although Haase had much more surgical experience than Schenck, he was weakened by tuberculosis, and often had to lie down while trying in vain to give verbal advice to Schenck. Due to the combination of terrible conditions and his own inexperience, after the war, Schenck told O'Donnell that he was unable to track down a single German soldier he had operated on who had survived (he kept records of the operations).

During the end time in Berlin, Schenck saw Hitler in person twice, for only a brief time: once when Hitler wanted to thank him for his emergency medical services, and once during the "reception" after Hitler's marriage to Eva Braun.

Prior to writing his memoirs, Schenck was interviewed by O'Donnell for his book, The Bunker, who recorded his memories of Hitler's last days. In his own memoirs, Schenck stated that his only concern was to improve nutrition and fight hunger. However, a report in 1963 condemned Schenck for "treating humans like objects, guinea pigs". In the Federal Republic of Germany, Schenck was later not allowed to continue his medical career.[4] Schenck died on December 21, 1998 in Aachen.

Portrayal in the media

Ernst-Gunther Schenck has been portrayed by the following actors in film and television productions.

References

  1. ^ Schenck, HG, Sterben ohne Warde: das Ende von Benito Mussolini, Heinrich Himmler und Adolf Hitler, Ars Una, 1995.
  2. ^ The Nazi War on Cancer, Robert N. Proctor
  3. ^ Fischer, Thomas. Soldiers of the Leibstandarte, J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Inc. 2008, p 58.
  4. ^ The massaging of history | Guardian daily comment | Guardian Unlimited
  5. ^ "The Bunker (1981) (TV)". IMDb.com. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082114/. Retrieved May 8, 2008.  
  6. ^ "Untergang, Der (2004)". IMDb.com. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363163/. Retrieved May 8, 2008.  
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