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Statement On The Trial



The following is reprinted from the original document discovered at the National Archives. It is entitled:
Statement for the Press on the Trial of Dr. Hans Korbel & Others, Medical Officer In Charge and Staff at the Ruhen Baby Farm.

A final appeal for clemency on behalf of Dr. Hans KORBEL, who was sentenced to death by a British Military War Crimes Court in June 1946, has been dismissed by C-in-C Germany, after careful consideration, and the sentence will be carried out at 9 o'clock this morning.

Dr. KORBEL was, between April 1943 and April 1945, in authoritative medical charge of a Children's Home established by the Volkswagenwerk Directorate to accommodate the infant children of foreign workers in the factory and on farms in the neighbouring Kreis.

During the time Dr. KORBEL was in charge of the Home between 350 and 400 babies died there, and during the last year, with very few exceptions, all new born infants admitted to the Home died.

The charge of which Dr. KORBEL was convicted alleged that he was concerned, together with the matron, and other members of the staff, in killing those children by wilful neglect.

The senior member of the court was an experienced medical officer. The court, therefore, throughout the trial had expert medical advice on all the medical aspects of the case.

The conditions in the Home were truly appalling. Bugs came out of the walls at night and literally covered the children's faces and bodies. The Home was described by one witness as a living ant hill. Some children had as many as 30 boils or carbuncles, running with pus, on their bodies. They died like flies.

Despite this death rate, Dr. KORBEL's visits to the Home consisted of a casual weekly inspection; he failed to take any steps to obtain the assistance of a children's specialist though four such were immediately available; he never made any detailed examination or study of a sick infant; no post-mortem was ever conducted upon the body of a dead child; and the death certificates were signed by him with the unscientific and contemptuously casual diagnosis "feebleness of life".

The only explanation of such gross neglect was is that it was wilful and deliberate, and such an explanation is further strengthened by the callous attitude adopted in the disposal of the dead bodies. These were dumped unceremoniously in a small room in the Home to await removal packed in batches of cardboard boxes, which were then buried in the local cemetery lightly covered with soil.

It was clearly proved at the trial that Dr. KORBEL, together with Matron SCHMIDT and Sister BACHOR, were wilfully neglectful in their duties, and that their wilful neglect was the direct cause of the death of between 350 and 400 Polish and Russian children.

Matron SCHMIDT was also sentenced to death by the court, but this sentence was commuted by the confirming officer to one of imprisonment for life.

Sister BACHOR was sentenced to five years imrisonment.

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