06.10.

1945: Dr. Leonardo Conti – Nazi “Reich Health Leader”

1945: Dr. Leonardo Conti – Nazi “Reich Health Leader”
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ "Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1989-0309-501, Leonardo Conti" by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1989-0309-501 / CC-BY-SA 3.0. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 6 October 1945
  • After the Nazis took power in Germany, Leonardo Conti became head of the Reich Physician's Chamber (Reichsärztekammer). In 1939 he even received the pompous title of “Reich Health Leader”.

Nazi physician Leonardo Conti died on this day in 1945.

He is most known for holding the high-ranking title of “Reich Health Leader” during Hitler’s time in power. Conti was of mixed Italian-German descent. His father was a Swiss Italian, so that Leonardo inherited an Italian surname. He was born in Lugano, a Swiss city located near the Italian border, on the banks of a lake that bears the same name (Lago di Lugano). It is interesting that Lugano is the largest city in which Italian is spoken which isn’t located in Italy.

Conti’s mother was German, and even served as the head of midwifery in the Reich. Leonardo studied medicine and became a physician. Among other things, he practiced plastic surgery. He was an early member of the Nazi Party, and later became a member of the SS.

After the Nazis came to power in Germany, Leonardo Conti became head of the Reich Physician’s Chamber (Reichsärztekammer). In 1939 he even received the aforementioned pompous title of “Reich Health Leader”. In the SS, he attained the high rank of Obergruppenführer, which was equivalent to a general in the Wehrmacht.

After the war, Conti stood trial at the so-called Doctors’ Trial, which was held after the much more famous Nuremberg Trial. Conti was sentenced primarily for his involvement in the notorious euthanasia project (the so-called Aktion T4), which affected the terminally ill and the mentally handicapped, whom the Nazis considered to be an unnecessary expenditure for the state.

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