Fritz Karl Albert Bleich

Affidavit 27 November 1946

mentz - grafeneck bus246

Mentz on the bonnet of the bus used at Grafeneck to transport patients

On 1 June 1944 I was drafted again for service with a Medical Replacement Battalion. I was taken prisoner in Westerhausen on 21 March 1945. I was never a member of the NSDAP or the SS. I was merely an applicant for membership in the SA in 1933. On the basis of my position and activities in Professor Dr. Karl Brandt’s organisation, and on the basis of my familiarity with this organisation, I make the following statement:

The personnel of the office of the General Commissioner for Medical and Health matters, under Professor Dr. Karl Brandt, consisted of twelve persons in 1942, and was located in Berlin, in the building of the University Clinic. In 1941 I was drafted for service in this office, but could only start my work in 1942, as I was ill until this time. Since the office did not have sufficient space at its disposal in the University Clinic, several rooms in the Fuehrer Chancellery in Berlin, were placed at Professor Dr. Karl Brandt’s disposal. Reichsleiter Bouhler was Chief of the Fuehrer Chancellery at that time. The personnel working in these offices were as follows: 

Miss Beiersdorf – Secretary

Ludwig Weber – Personal Secretary to the General Commissioner 

Mrs Judith Bach – Personal Consultant 

Fritz Bleich – Registrar 

There was an additional secretary in the Zeigelstrasse, namely Miss Gerda Hanke. Professor Dr. Karl Brandt’s representative for medical matters was Professor Rostock. Rostock was already Brandt’s representative in 1942. He worked in the University Clinic in Berlin. 

My mission was to build up a registry office and to file the incoming mail and documents. Owing to this occupation I had the opportunity to see the greater part of the correspondence including secret and secret military mail. Concerning the secret mail, I should like to mention that I received it only after it had been worked on by Brandt and his private secretary, Captain Weber. 

Professor Dr. Karl Brandt’s position was, to the best of my knowledge, the following: 

He was the Fuehrer’s personal physician, and as an additional task, had the supervision of the Army doctors. As advisory doctor to the Fuehrer, he was the superior of the Army doctors. In 1943, when Hitler extended Brandt’s authority, the latter became the superior of Conti and Handloser, and also the SS. At that time he was the top medical doctor for the various services, that is, the highest authority in the German medical field. Dr. Grawitz, in his capacity as Reichsarzt SS, was also his subordinate. 

The correspondence, which I had to read since I had to classify it, was mainly of a business nature and concerned the distribution of medical materials. Proposed new laws were also submitted to Brandt for perusal. Professor Rostock was Brandt’s advisor on medical questions, that is on science and research; this was already the case when I entered Brandt’s organisation in 1942. I cannot say whether, among the correspondence referring to science and research, Rostock or Brandt received reports regarding various experiments, as this correspondence was handled by Rostock personally. Dr.von Leth and Dr. Zettel were Rostock’s co-workers. In 1944, when Brandt was already a Reich Commissioner, he was often visited by the Reichsarzt Grawitz in his office which, at that time, was in the Behlitz- Hellstaette. Brandt was directly subordinate to the Fuehrer. The following members of the Fuehrer’s Chancellery under Bouhler are known to me:

Oberbereichsleiter Viktor Brack 

Oberbereichsleiter Werner Blankenburg

Oberbereichsleiter Vorberg

The code name for Brack was ‘Jennerwein’  I can’t remember Blankenberg’s code name. Vorberg used the code name of ‘Hintertal’. Mr Hegemann and von Hegener also worked in Bouhler’s Chancellery. These people used different code names for their activities, such as ‘Reich Association,’ ‘Hospital and Nursing Establishments’, ‘Charitable Foundation for Institutional Care,’ ‘Patient Transport Corporation,’ ‘ Reich Committee for Research on Hereditary Diseases and Constitutional Susceptibility to Severe Diseases.’ In reality these organisations were engaged exclusively in the execution of the Fuehrer decree for extermination of the mentally ill. I read this decree when I found it in the registry. I know definitely that these people were active in this programme. I also know definitely that these people were given the mission to execute the Fuehrer decree. Brandt took part in this matter, in planning and organising. Through my visit to the Fuehrer Chancellery, I was able to learn the following from discussions with personnel employed in the Chancellery. There was a commission of medical doctors, who decided upon life or death for these ill persons. Questionnaires were sent in by the various institutions and, on the basis of these questionnaires, committees were sent to the particular institutions which decided which patients should be killed. The patients then were sent from their institution to another institution through the ‘Charitable Patient Transport Corporation’ and subsequently were killed with gas. The highest ranking doctors in this organisation were Professor Heyde and Professor Nitsche. For their correspondence in this programme, they used the name of ‘Reich Association, Hospital and Nursing Establishments.’ These different names, however, were used only to cover up the actual facts. As far as I can remember, the following are the institutions in which the ill persons were killed:



Dr Schumann



Dr Eberl



Dr Schmalenbach



Dr Renno


Pirna, Burg Sonnestein

Not Recalled


Hadamar a/Lahn

Not Recalled

The letters, under which the correspondence with the institutions was carried on, were a code used to hide the real names. The execution of the whole programme, as well as the programme itself, was kept very secret from the German people. For that reason also this explains the false names and letters chosen.

To my knowledge, Professor Nitsche and Professor Heyde visited the various institutions where people were killed. Professor Dr. Karl Brandt was in constant touch with both of the Professors, whom he visited in the Fuehrer Chancellery. For this reason I am convinced that Brandt was accurately informed about all that happened in the institutions. From the correspondence of the ‘Charitable Foundation’ and from statements of co-worker I must draw the conclusion that at least several thousand people, who were transported to these institutions during the years 1939 to 1944 were gassed. I know that these various institutions handed in a monthly report to the ‘Reich Association Hospital and Nursing Establishments’. This report was then submitted to Viktor Brack, Werner Blankenburg and Reinhold Vorberg.

Technical Procedure for the Selection of People Destined for Killing

The institutions sent a questionnaire to the ‘Reich Association’ on each person. On the basis of this questionnaire, the ‘Charitable Foundation’ sent a medical committee to the institutions concerned in order to check whether the person in question should be killed. The committee then submitted the questionnaire, along with its opinions, to Professor Heyde and Professor Nitsche of the ‘Reich Association’. Professor Nitsche and Professor Heyde then signed and confirmed these questionnaires. Since Professor Brandt was in constant touch with both professors, I certainly believe that he was oriented on this procedure. The questionnaire then were sent to the ‘Branch Institutions,’ and at that time Vorberg organised the transportation of the people in order to have them transferred from the original institution to the extermination centres. These transports always went by roundabout ways so that nothing about them or their final destination would become public knowledge. In the extermination centres, the people were photographed, their clothes were taken away, and they were gassed. According to statements of my co-workers, the gas used in the Branch Institutions was acquired from Berlin- Friedrichsfelde, namely from a depot of the Economic and Administrative Main Office of the SS. (WVHA). Dr Becker who was the business manager of the ‘Foundation’, took care of the acquisition of the gas.

Each Branch Institute had a registration bureau and a police department. There the so-called ‘Letters of Consolation’ were composed, in which the cause of death was stated to be heart weakness and pneumonia. According to statements of co-workers, patients who caused any difficulties were mistreated in the Branch Institutions. Prominent in this mistreatment was a Major Christian Wirth at the Institution Hartheim. Also a Lt. Meyerhuber is said to have acted very roughly with the patients. This was generally known to the people who worked in the office of the ‘Stiftung’.

Generally, the personal possessions of the people who were killed were seized by the business manager of the Branch Institute. In case the next of kin did not know that their relatives, who had been killed in the Branch Institutions, had bank accounts, this money would also be seized and transferred from the Branch institutions to chief business managers of the ‘Stiftung’, Lorenz and Fritz Schmiedel in Berlin. The Foundation, in turn, transferred the amounts to the Reich Treasurer of the NSDAP, Schwarz in Munich.

New Field of Activity of the ‘Stiftung’

I remember that about the middle of 1943 a letter came from the Reichsführer- SS Himmler to the ‘Office of the Reich Commissioner for Medical and Health Matters.’ It seems to me that the letter was addressed to Professor Dr. Karl Brandt. I read this letter and I remember its contents, namely that it was an order to discontinue further killing of patients in the institutions temporarily. In place of the mentally ill, politically undesirable persons and Jews should be gassed.

In accordance with this order, inmates of concentration camps like Auschwitz were then transported by the ‘ Gemeinnuetzige Transportgesellschaft’ to Hartheim by Linz, where they were gassed. For these people, no administration was conducted in the Branch institutions. They were not photographed, but the Chief of the Criminal Police, Werner, of the Reich Office for Criminal Police in Berlin, was informed. I estimate that the killing of politically undesirable persons and Jews by gas went on for about half a year. 

Medical Experiments

According to statements by co-workers, I know that in the Fall of 1943 several doctors of the ‘Stiftung’, among others, Dr Eberl of Bernburg, and Dr Schumann, were sent to the Concentration Camp Auschwitz, where they were said to have performed vivisections and other experiments. As a result of these experiments, a number of inmates in concentration camps died.

Connection Between the Euthanasia Programme and the Extermination of Jews.

I remember a second order from Himmler which went to the ‘Stiftung’ at the end of 1943 or beginning of 1944*, in which Himmler gave instructions that certain people of the ‘Stiftung’ should be sent to Poland for the purpose of gassing at the extermination camp Treblinka. The people concerned were Poles and Jews.

*This date is incorrect, Treblinka had already been closed down, and could well be at the beginning of 1942.

According to statements of co-workers, this letter from Himmler was addressed to Brandt. Among others, Christian Wirth, as chief, several doctors and other personnel went to the extermination camp Treblinka. I estimate that their number totalled 30 persons. They were all dressed in the SS uniforms. Specially constructed gas vans were taken along. I believe that these vans came from the firm of Faulhaber in Berlin, which also constructed the crematoria for the concentration camps.

Cossacks, among others, were used as guards for this action. I personally saw these Cossacks at the office of the ‘Stiftung’ in Berlin. I know that, as a reward for their so-called successful action in Treblinka, a number of Cossacks were offered a sight-seeing trip to Berlin and I saw these people on that occasion.

Mission of the ‘Stiftung’ in Italy

About the middle of 1944 some of the ‘Stiftung’ people were sent from Berlin to Florence, where a camp for Jews existed. According to statements of co-workers, a large number of persons were killed here in the same way as in Treblinka in Poland.

Photographs of Brutalities of the ‘Stiftung’.

I remember definitely that, about the middle of 1944, I saw a collection of photographs in the office of the ‘Stiftung’ in Berlin. These photographs were in the possession of people who had worked for the ‘Stiftung’ in Poland. A number of photographs showed these people with heavy whips in their hands. I could not personally inspect closely other photographs which showed mistreatments, as they were kept away from me. Later, a collection of these brutalities was made and handed over to the chief of personnel.

Killing of Foreigners

Co-workers, who were occupied in the administration and who controlled the lists of persons to be killed, told me that many foreigners – such as Poles, Czechs and others- were among the transports to the extermination centres. 

Length of Time of Professor Dr Karl Brandt’s Activity in the ‘Stiftung’

In June 1944, when I was transferred to the Army from the Bureau of the Reich Commissioner for Medical and Health Matters, Professor Dr. Karl Brandt was still in charge of all medical matters and was also responsible for the ‘Stiftung.’ At that time the ‘Stiftung’ was still functioning, though in a limited capacity. I know for certain that Hartheim was still receiving transports for extermination.

Brandt’s Connection with Higher Government Authorities

I know from statements made by Professor Dr. Karl Brandt’s driver or secretary that he went regularly, usually once a week, to the Fuehrer’s Headquarters, where, among other things, he conferred with Reichsführer- SS Himmler. I am convinced that Professor Dr. Karl Brandt was the highest authority in the Euthanasia programme, and as such, managed the entire organization of the ‘Stiftung’ , not only because he was the highest authority in all medical matters, but also because he was in constant touch with people like Professor Nitsche, who, according to my estimate, attended a conference in Brandt’s office in the Reich Chancellery once a week or every other week.


I, Fritz Karl Albert BLEICH, being duly sworn, depose and state that, in accordance with my best recollections, Dr. Becker, the business manager of the ‘Stiftung’ which provided the institutions with gas, went to the extermination institution Treblinka with other people from the ‘Stiftung’ toward the end of 1943 or the beginning of 1944, for gassing purposes. This was in connection with Himmler’s second order to the ‘Stiftung’ to assist in the extermination of Poles and Jews.

With reference to Christian Wirth, who also took part in the extermination action in Treblinka, Poland. I state this man was a Major in the Schutzpolizei. He worked constantly for the ‘Stiftung’ as Chief of the Institution Police.

s. Fritz Karl Albert Bleich

Nuernberg, the 27th of November, 1946


Photograph – Mentz Album

IMT Nuremberg – NO -860

© Holocaust Historical Society 2014