Alfons Klein

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Alfons Klein
Klein-Alfons.jpg
Full Name: Alfons Klein
Occupation: Hospital administrator
Goals: Exterminate the mentally ill (failed)
Crimes: Crimes against humanity


The accused Alfons Klein was the chief administrative officer of the institution in charge of records, food, housing and reports, and he knew of the deaths of the Poles and Russians, and in fact received the original orders from Bernotat and Springer requiring them to be received and to be put to death, and transmitted such orders to other institution personnel. One accused stated that Klein "gave all the orders". Klein attended a conference with Bernotat and Springer (in July or August, 1944) in which he was informed that a number of incurable tubercular labourers would arrive at Hadamar. At a later conference he was instructed that these workers were to be killed under the same law and in the same way as the German insane persons had been killed.
~ Part of the War Crime Trial Report from U.S. v. Alfons Klein.

Alfons Klein (died March 14, 1946) was a German physician who was convicted of killing hundreds of Russian and Polish labourers with tuberculosis during the T-4 Euthanasia Program.

Biography

After the euthanasia program was set up by Viktor Brack in 1939, the staff of the Hadamar clinic began sterilising children deemed unfit to reproduce. Klein was the head administrator of the clinic and was responsible for organising it. The program was later altered so that both the children and "unfit" adults were exterminated, as well as people deemed to be incurably ill with various diseases. On behalf of the clinic, Klein ordered a large amount of gas from the chemical company IG Farben. The gas was used to murder the "patients" who were shipped in on black buses. Most of them were children.

Up to 100 victims arrived in post-buses every day. They were told to disrobe for a "medical examination". Sent before a physician, each was recorded as having one of 60 fatal diseases, as "incurables" were to be given a "mercy death." Klein was guilty of the deaths of all the patients; at his trial another staff member said he gave the orders. All of the people at the clinic were put into distinct categories at Klein's orders: one for "kill", one for "kill and remove brain" and one for "kill and remove gold teeth". People deemed to be half-Jewish were also killed via lethal injection.

In 1944, Klein attended a conference at which he was informed that 476 Polish and Soviet labourers with incurable tuberculosis would be arriving at the clinic. He was also informed that all of them were to be killed. Klein later claimed that he knew this was wrong.

Even after the war ended, the Hadamar clinic continued to murder mentally ill children via starvation. This ended with the murder of a four-year-old mentally handicapped boy, as by this time the Americans had occupied the town.

Soon after, Klein and other clinic staff were arrested for crimes against humanity. While the Americans initially intended to charge them with the murders of the children, they soon discovered that they had no jurisdiction over the killings of German citizens. However, the Soviet and Polish labourers from 1944 were allies of the USA and so could be used to try Klein and the others.

The Hadamar trial, officially called U.S. v. Alfons Klein, concluded on October 15 1945 with all seven defendants being found guilty. Klein, Karl Willig and Nurse Heinrich Rouff were sentenced to death by hanging, while chief doctor Adolf Wahlmann was sentenced to life. Klein and the other two were executed on March 14, 1946.