03.10.

1904: Nazi Physician Ernst-Gunther Schenck

1904: Nazi Physician Ernst-Gunther Schenck
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 3 October 1904
  • Dr. Schenck participated in military actions on the Eastern Front. Namely, when the commander of his unit was killed, Dr. Schenck took command over the artillery battery and allegedly proved to be a capable commander.

Nazi physician Ernst-Günther Schenck, known for having spent the last days of World War II in Hitler’s command bunker in Berlin, was born on this day in 1904.

His accounts of the events that transpired there are of great importance for understanding what went on in Germany near the end of the war. Indeed, they were used in the making of the famous move Downfall (2004), where he is played by German actor Christian Berkel.

Ernst-Günther Schenck was born in the picturesque town of Marburg in central Germany. He studied medicine and then joined the SS, where he worked as a doctor. He rose to the high rank of Standartenführer (roughly equivalent to a colonel).

It is interesting that Dr. Schenck organized the planting of a garden with some 200,000 medicinal herbs in the Dachau concentration camp, in order to produce vitamins for the SS. He was appointed a nutrition inspector for the SS. He even allegedly invented a special protein sausage intended for the troops on the battlefield.

Dr. Schenck also participated in military actions on the Eastern Front. Namely, when the commander of his unit was killed, Dr. Schenck took command over the artillery battery and allegedly proved to be a capable commander.

Near the end of the war, he was sent to Berlin, where he worked as a surgeon in an emergency casualty station near Hitler’s bunker. These events are depicted in the aforementioned movie, Downfall.

Although he wasn’t a trained surgeon, he participated in some 100 operations. Hitler personally came to commend him for his efforts.

After the Soviets conquered Berlin, Dr. Schenck was captured. He was released only eight years later, after which he returned home to West Germany.

Due to his Nazi past, he was forbidden from practicing medicine. He died in Aachen at the high age of 94.

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