Accused Nazi Euthanasia Doctor Dies
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 4, 2006
VIENNA, AUSTRIA--A noted Austrian psychiatrist who had been accused of heading up a Nazi euthanasia program and of performing cruel experiments on children, has died.
The Associated Press reported that Dr. Heinrich Gross died on December 15 at age 90. His family did not list a cause of death in a statement they released the following week.
Gross was alleged to have been instrumental in the deaths of nine children and of subjecting thousands of others-- most of whom had physical and developmental disabilities -- to tortuous medical experiments while he was an official at Vienna's Am Spiegelgrund children's clinic in 1944.
Austrian prosecutors claimed that Gross catalogued and preserved the brains of hundreds of the children in jars of formaldehyde in the facility's cellar. Analyses of the brains indicated that the children had traces of sleeping tablets in their systems at the time of death. The officials accused Gross of killing the children by various means, including administering drugs and exposing them to cold, hunger, and neglect.
Gross denied the allegations, saying that he only performed psychological tests while working at the facility and that he was not even employed there when the children died. He avoided prosecution several times for his wartime activities, and was acquitted on a manslaughter charge 45 ago.
In 2000, Gross was scheduled to face charges of abusing and murdering nine of the children at the clinic. The trial was suspended, however, when the judge declared him unfit to stand trial because of advanced dementia and Parkinson disease.
Immediately after the suspension, Gross gave lively interviews in a local coffeehouse, the AP noted last month.
An estimated 275,000 Europeans with disabilities -- many of them children -- were killed during the Nazi era in Adolf Hitler's secret "Operation T4". Considered "useless eaters" by the Third Reich, many were actually "Aryan" but did not fit Hitler's ideal of perfection.
After the war, hundreds of brains and other remains of children were preserved in jars of formaldehyde in the facility's cellar. They were used for research up into the 1970s.
"Doctor Implicated in Nazi Atrocities Dies" (Associated Press)
"Handicapped" (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)