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Fritz Klein
The British army liberaters of Bergen-Belsen forced German camp personnel to bury the corpses of prisoners. This is an image of Klein in a pit surrounded by dead bodies.

Fritz Klein (24 November 1888 – 13 December 1945) was a German physician hanged for his role in atrocities at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during The Holocaust.

Klein was born in Feketehalom, Austria-Hungary (now Codlea in central Romania). He studied medicine and completed his military service in Romania, finishing his studies in Budapest after World War I. He lived as a doctor in Siebenbürgen (Transylvania), becoming a member of the Nazi Party very early. In May 1943 he joined the Waffen-SS and was posted to Yugoslavia.

On 15 December 1943, he arrived in Auschwitz concentration camp, where he at first served as a camp doctor in the women’s camp in Birkenau. Subsequently he worked as a camp doctor in the Gypsy camp. He also participated in numerous selections on the ramp. In December 1944 he was transferred to Neuengamme concentration camp, from where he was sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in January 1945.

When asked how he reconciled his actions with his ethical obligations as a physician, Klein famously stated:

"My Hippocratic oath tells me to cut a gangrenous appendix out of the human body. The Jews are the gangrenous appendix of mankind. That's why I cut them out."

He was a defendant during the Belsen Trial and was found guilty and sentenced to death.


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