Research on bodies of the executed in German anatomy: An accepted method that changed during the Third Reich. Study of anatomical journals from 1924 to 1951


  • Sabine Hildebrandt

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Anatomical Sciences, Department of Medical Education, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Division of Anatomical Sciences, Department of Medical Education, University of Michigan Medical School, 3767a Medical Science Building II, 1137 Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5608, USA
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While it is known that bodies of the executed were used for anatomical research in Germany during the Third Reich, it is unclear whether this type of work was unique to the time period or more common in Germany than elsewhere. The dissected persons and the anatomists involved have not been fully investigated. This study of anatomical journals from 1924 to 1951 shows that 166 out of 7,438 [2.2%] German language articles mentioned the use of “material” from the bodies of executed persons. In comparison, only 2 out of 4,702 English language articles explicitly mentioned bodies of the executed. From 1924 to1932, 33 of a total of 3,734 [1%] German articles listed the use of the executed. From 1933 to 1938 the number rose to 46 out of 2,265 [2%], and increased again from 1939 to 1945 to 73 out of 984 [7%]. After the war 15 out of 455 [3%] still dealt with “material” from the executed. German anatomists' familiarity with the use of the executed as a standard for healthy tissues even before 1933 may have contributed to the ease with which they accepted the “opportunities” (large-scale studies and research on women) presented to them by unlimited access to bodies of the executed provided by the abusive National Socialist (NS) legislation and continued using them for some years after the war. German postwar anatomy was built in part on the bodies of NS victims. Information given in some publications will help with further identification of these victims. Clin. Anat. 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

“The existence of the horrible in each particle of air; it deposits itself in you, becomes hard, takes on sharp geometric forms between your organs; for all the agony and terror that came to pass in places of execution, in torture chambers, madhouses and operating theatres, under the arches of bridges in late autumn: all this is of a tenacious and imperishable persistence, it insists on itself and clings, envious of everything that exists, to its own dreadful truth. People would like to be allowed to forget much of this […]”

Rainer Maria Rilke in “Malte Laurids Brigge”

(translation by author)


Since the beginning of scientific anatomy, the use of bodies of executed persons for anatomical dissection has been a legalized custom that is still ongoing in parts of the world (Hildebrandt,2008). In the 1980s, however, revelations concerning the use of “material” from bodies of the executed obtained directly in chambers of execution of the National Socialist (NS) regime for German anatomical research came as a shock to the general public (Aly,1987,1994). The report on these findings was part of a wider historical questioning focused on the history of anatomy in the Third Reich, which was pursued by medical students, publicists, and historians (Hildebrandt,2009a; Weindling, 2012; Seidelman, 2012). Research since then has shown that, as numbers of executions soared in Germany from 1933 to 1945 due to the abusive practices of the ruling NS regime, the bodies of executed persons were commonly used for anatomical purposes. Following pre-existing and reinforced legal practice, these bodies were distributed to all anatomical institutions, where they were used for educational and research purposes (Noack and Heyll,2006; Hildebrandt,2009a,b).

It is well known that bodies of the executed were not only used for medical education, e.g., in anatomical dissection and histology courses, but also for research performed in Germany and a few other countries between 1933 and 1945 (Aumüller and Grundmann,2002; Hildebrandt,2009b). However, it is unclear whether this type of research and its publication was unique to the time period or if it was more common in Germany than elsewhere. Neither is it known what the exact content of most of the investigations were or which anatomists, other than Hermann Stieve and Max Clara, were most prominently involved in this (Winkelmann and Schagen,2009; Winkelmann and Noack,2010).

The following study analyzes publications in German and Anglo-American anatomical journals from 1924 to 1951 in order to assess the number of articles citing the use of “material” from the bodies of the executed, their authors, the scientific problems studied, and the number of bodies involved. The question is addressed whether the articles give any indication of the identity of the persons who were executed and used for the research reported. Identification of the victims is necessary to restore their individuality and the realization of their humanity. The problem of the motivation of the anatomists for their work with these bodies will be discussed in view of the surprising historical evidence presented here that the use of “material” from the executed was perceived as a standard of qualified histological work by German and other European anatomists before 1933. The study will also provide insights into the changes in anatomists' use of the bodies of the executed that developed during the Third Reich. It will be argued that these findings are of relevance for the evaluation of the history of anatomy in the Third Reich.

This investigation is part of an ongoing series of studies of anatomy in the Third Reich that aims to provide a factual data base for its history as a means for an analysis of the ethical decisions of anatomists of the time period (see Hildebrandt2006,2009a,b,c,2012a,b).


Data Collection

Selection criteria for articles

Articles were studied for the explicit use of the words “Hingerichtete” or “executed” and “Decapitatus” or “Dekapitierter” or “Enthaupteter” or “decapitated.” The description “plötzlicher Tod” or “sudden death” was considered ambiguous, as it could also include persons who died due to an accident or a suicide. Articles with a mention of “sudden death” were only then included in the study, when their authors had clearly used bodies of the executed for similar work in previous studies and it was highly likely that authors were still working with this material. The term “sudden death” was used in postwar publications, when an admission of the use of bodies of the executed was no longer politically acceptable.

Selection criteria for journals

Articles from the following journals and years were analyzed for the explicit mention of use of the bodies of executed persons in the studies presented:

German language journals
  • Zeitschrift für Zellforschung und mikroskopische Anatomie (later: Cell and Tissue Research): 1924–1951

  • Zeitschrift für Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte (later: Anatomy and Embryology): 1924-1951

  • Zeitschrift für mikroskopisch-anatomische Forschung: 1924–1951

  • Anatomischer Anzeiger (later: Annals of Anatomy): 1924–1951/52

  • Verhandlungen der Anatomischen Gesellschaft: 1924–1951

  • Gegenbaurs morphologisches Jahrbuch: 1924–1951

  • Ergebnisse der Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte (later: Advances in Anatomy, Embryology and Cell Biology): 1924–1951

  • Zeitschrift fur Morphologie und Anthropologie: 1924–1951

Another German language journal called Anatomische Nachrichten was not included in the statistics due to the only short time period of its existence from 1949 to 1951.

English language journals
  • Journal of Anatomy (Great Britain): 1924–1951

  • American Journal of Anatomy: 1924–1951

  • Anatomical Record (US): 1924–1951

German and English language journals were selected that represented the majority of work produced by anatomists in their respective country of publication. The German language journals represented the results from members of the Anatomische Gesellschaft (anatomical society), an international organization based in Germany (Winkelmann, 2012). The Journal of Anatomy (founded in 1906) was the journal of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and was thus the representative organ of anatomists in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth. The Anatomical Record (founded 1906) was the journal of the American Association of Anatomists, the American Society of Zoology and the Wistar Institute of Anatomy. The older American Journal of Anatomy (founded in 1901) also represented American Association of Anatomists and the Wistar Institute of Anatomy.

The time period from 1924 to 1951 was chosen because it includes a representative number of years before the beginning of the NS regime in 1933 and after its end in 1945. The years before 1933 were marked by legislation of the Weimar Republic, and after 1945 by the legislation of the Allied Forces in the different occupied sectors of Germany and later on by that of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic.

Data Analysis

The articles explicitly mentioning the use of the executed were analyzed in terms of quantity, authorship, place and type of research, number of bodies studied, and information conducive to identification of the persons executed.

While the general topics of all articles were noted, it was not an aim of this study to provide a complete statistical analysis of the content of all German and English language anatomical journals published between 1924 and 1951.

Explanation of Terminology in This Study

“Material” for research

The term “material” for studies of tissues from animals and humans was and is common and exact phrasing in scientific anatomical literature and is generally used without the quotation marks. However, in the context of executions by a criminal regime like the National Socialists, addressing the tissues of the executed as “material” or “Werkstoff” (literally: stuff of which something is made) has been interpreted as acquiescence of the researcher with the demeaning purposes of the regime that aimed at the depersonalization of the victim (e.g., Klee,2004; p 95ff). Thus the term “material” is used in quotation marks throughout this article to mark a distancing to the possible depersonalization implied in the word and to demonstrate respect for the persons whose tissues were used for research without their voluntary consent.

Victim of the NS regime

In this study, all persons who were executed during the Third Reich following civilian and military court proceedings will be called victims of the NS regime, irrespective of the crimes they were convicted of. During the Weimar Republic capital punishment verdicts were handed down in 1,061 cases (1,141 according to Siebenpfeiffer,2005) and led to a total of 184 executions (Evans,1996; p 915–916). Executions were suspended from 1928 to 1929 due to an active public discussion about the abolition of the death penalty and became extremely rare in the last years of Weimar (Evans,1996; p 561). During the Third Reich the death penalty was given in 16,570 civilian and an estimated 16,000 military cases and led to executions in an estimated 90%, with most of the executions taking place during the war years (Evans,1996; Hildebrandt,2008). Although the crimes mandating capital punishment in the Weimar Republic were exclusively capital offenses like murder, the spectrum of crimes leading to the death penalty changed dramatically under NS legislation with its ever widening definition of treason, black marketeering, and special laws concerning Poles and other foreigners (Hildebrandt,2009b). Thus, only a very small minority of the executed during the Third Reich were so-called “real criminals,” that is murderers, who were far more likely to be executed under NS-legislation than in the atmosphere of clemency in the late Weimar Republic. Moreover, as this article is written from a modern point of view at a time when half of the world's countries have abolished capital punishment, the point can be made that any execution is inhumane and makes the person executed a “victim,” no matter what the crime that led to the person's conviction (Hildebrandt,2008).

Thus, the use of the term “victim of the NS regime” in this study is wider than implied by the definition employed by the Federal Republic of Germany in its Federal Law for the Recompensation for Victims of National Socialist Persecution (Bundesgesetz zur Entschädigung für Opfer der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung, BEG). This definition holds that a “victim of NS persecution” has to have been persecuted because of political dissent against National Socialism, race, religion or personal beliefs and must have suffered harm through this persecution to body, health, freedom, property, personal assets, or to the person's professional or economical career (BEG,2009). While this definition applies to most of the executed persons who were used for anatomical purposes, it does not apply for all.

German anatomical departments

The term “German anatomical departments” refers to all university-associated departments of anatomy that were located within the boundaries of Germany in 1943. Thus they include older and then newly created “German” universities in occupied territories in Strassburg (Alsace), Poznan (Posen, Poland), Prague (Czech Republic), Innsbruck, Vienna and Graz (Austria, Hildebrandt2009a).


General Numbers of Manuscripts and “Materials” Used

The majority of the German language articles originated in Germany/Austria, the majority of the English language articles in the United Kingdom and in the United States.

The eight German language anatomical journals studied published 7,469 articles in the time period from 1924 to 1951. The three English language anatomical journals presented 4,702 articles during the same time period. The articles included morphological and functional studies, reviews, and commentaries. The tissues used originated from humans, animals, and only rarely plants. Animal and human studies varied from experimental investigations on function and physiology to morphology, comparative anatomy, embryology and cell-biological research.

German and English language articles on human anatomy frequently omitted any explanation of the provenance of the human tissues used. “Materials” explicitly listed originated from: routine anatomical dissection in medical education, autopsies in pathological departments, surgical specimens, embryological specimens from gynecological departments and autopsies, historical collections, X-ray studies on living persons, anthropological studies on living and dead persons, volunteer living persons providing, e.g., biopsy material, and executed persons.

All journals published contributions not only from their home countries but also from other parts of the world including various European countries, the US, Japan, India, the Soviet Union, and South Africa. Very few manuscripts were written in languages other than German or English, notably Italian and French.

Number of Articles Reporting the Use of “Material” From the Executed

Table 1 lists the overall number of articles published in eight German language anatomical journals from 1924 to 1951 as 7,469 and the number of articles citing the use of “material” from bodies of the executed by German anatomical departments as 166 [2.2%] (see Appendix A), whereby 3 of the 166 were studies from departments of pathology. An additional 17 articles citing the use of tissues from the executed originated in other European countries, among them 7 from Switzerland, 4 from Austria before the “Anschluss” (annexation by NS Germany) in 1938, 2 from Estonia, 2 from Hungary, and 2 from Sweden (see Appendix B).

Table 1. Frequency of Articles Overall (Total) and Number and Percentage (%) of Articles Naming “Material” From Bodies of Executed Persons (Exec) Published by German Anatomical Departments in German Language Anatomical Journals 1924–1951
TotalExec. [%]TotalExec. [%]TotalExec. [%]TotalExec. [%]TotalExec. [%]
  1. Z Mikr Anat F = Zeitschrift für mikroskopisch-anatomische Forschung; Z Zellf Mikr Anat = Zeitschrift für Zellforschung und mikroskopische Anatomie; Z Anat Entw = Zeitschrift für Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte; Anat Anzeiger = Anatomischer Anzeiger; Verh Anat Ges = Verhandlungen der Anatomischen Gesellschaft; Gegenbaurs Mo J = Gegenbaurs Morphologisches Jahrbuch; Erg Anat Entw = Ergebnisse der Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte; Z Morph Anthr = Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Anthropologie.

Z Mikr Anat F53514 [3%]31822 [7%]23730 [13%]461,13666 [6%]
Z Zellf Mikr Anat5036 [1%]4514 [1%]15215 [10%]714 [5%]1,17729 [3%]
Z Anat Entw8265 [0.6%]3826 [2%]14010 [6%]787 [9%]1,42628 [2%]
Anat Anzeiger8742 [0.2%]4365 [1%]21911 [5%]1112 [2%]1,64020 [1%]
Verh Anat Ges5775 [1%]3174 [1.3%]510911 [1.3%]1,03610/2? [1%]
Gegenbaurs Mo J2731223211834116557 [1%]
Erg Anat Entw370130124 [33%] 624 [6%]
Z Morph Anthr10901252 [2%]5501703062 [1%]
Total3,73433 [1%]2,26545 [2%]98473 [7%]45515 [3%]7,438166 [2.2%]

During the Weimar Republic, here: from 1924 to 1932, 33 of a total of 3,734 articles [1%] listed the use of the executed. In the early NS period from 1933 to 1938 the number rose to 46 out of 2,265 [2%], and increased again during the war years from 1939 to 1945 to a frequency of 73 out of 984 articles [7%]. After the war, from 1946 to 1951, the number was 15 out of 486 articles [3%]. In comparison, the British publication Journal of Anatomy presented 1,154 articles from 1924 to 1951, none of which mentioned the use of the executed. Similarly, the US-American journals Anatomical Record and American Journal of Anatomy published a total of 2,711 and 837 articles, respectively, with only one article in each journal mentioning the use of material from executed persons. Gillman from South Africa reported the use of “material” from bodies of “Bantu males” (Gillman,1934) and Jones from Indiana studied the foot of a “young (22 years) executed criminal” (Jones,1941; p 7).

The journal with the highest output of studies using “material” from the executed was the Zeitschrift für mikroskopisch-anatomische Forschung that was founded in 1924 under the editorship of Hermann Stieve. From its initiation on this journal printed more articles using “material” from the executed than any of the other journals, with 14 out of 535 [3%] from 1924 to 1932, 22 out of 318 from 1933 to 1938 [7%], and 30 out of 237 [13%] in 1939 to 1945; that is, it published nearly as many such articles as the other seven German language journals combined, with the exception of the postwar years.

Anatomical Departments and Authors

Table 2 lists the number of published articles naming “material” from bodies of executed persons per anatomical department in 1933 to 1951 as well as the chairmen of these departments during the time period. Twenty-three of the 31 German anatomical departments existing in 1943 (Hildebrandt,2009a) published research on the executed. Six of them accounted for three quarters of all the articles. Max Clara's group in Leipzig took a clear lead with 38 publications, followed by Wilhelm Blotevogel's in Breslau with 14, Robert Heiss' in Königsberg with 13, Hermann Stieve's in Berlin with 12, Philipp Stöhr Jr.'s in Bonn with 9, and Hans Petersen's and Curt Elze's group in Würzburg with 9. The rest of the articles were divided between 17 other anatomical departments.

Table 2. Number of Articles Naming “Material” From Bodies of Executed Persons per German Anatomical Department, 1933–1951 (Chairmen in Brackets, see Hildebrandt,2009a)
Leipzig38[Clara 1935–42, Dabelow 1943–1945]
Breslau14[von Eggeling −35, Blotevogel 1935–1945]
Berlin12[Stieve 1935–1952]
Bonn9[Sobotta −35, Stöhr 1935–1945]
Würzburg9[Petersen −40, Elze 1940–1952]
Munich5[Mollier −35, Vogt 1935–1941, Clara 1942–1945]
Innsbruck4[Sieglbauer −46, Mathis Histology 38–45]
Tübingen3[Oertel −36, Wetzel 1936–1945]
Halle3[Stieve −35, Haller von Hallerstein −38, Nagel-45]
Heidelberg3[Kallius −35, Goerttler 35–45]
Cologne3[Veit −37, Boeker 38, Stadtmüller 39–45]
Frankfurt3[Pfuhl 35–38, Hirt 38–41, Schreiber 41–45]
Marburg2[Goeppert −34, Nauck 34–35, Zeiger 35–36, Becher, 36–40, Benninghoff 1941–1951]
Kiel2[Benninghoff −40, Freerksen 1940–1945]
Greifswald2[Peter −36, Hirt 36–38, Pfuhl 36–46]
Rostock2[Elze −36, Neubert 36–45]
Prague2[Grosser −45, Watzka Histology 37–45]
Erlangen1[Hasselwander, −45]
Vienna1[Pernkopf −45, Patzelt Histology-56]
Posen1[Voss −45]
Danzig1[Spanner −45]
Freiburg1[Möllendorff −35, Nauck 35–45]

Table 3 lists a selection of the most prolific and/or postwar prominent authors of articles using the bodies of the executed and the number of articles they published from 1924 to 1951. These numbers do not include all the publications of the individual authors, but only those within the journals surveyed in the current study. Among the most productive authors were Max Clara (Winkelmann and Noack,2010), Heinrich von Hayek, Wolfgang Bargmann, and Hermann Stieve.

Table 3. Selected Authors of Articles Using the Bodies of the Executed and Number of Papers in Surveyed Journals 1924–1951
Clara, Max10
Hayek, Heinrich v.9
Wallraff, Josef8
Stöhr, Philipp Jr.6
Bargmann, Wolfgang6
Schiller, Erich6
Stieve, Hermann5
Voss, Herrmann4
Meyer, Richard4
Ferner, Helmut3
Herrlinger, Robert2
Möllendorff, Wilhelm v.2

Motivations for Use of “Material” From the Executed

Standard for healthy tissues before 1933

Generally, bodies of the executed were preferred “material” for histological studies because the expected time of death was known, so the removal of tissues could be planned in advance and the “freshness” of the tissues could be ensured (Hildebrandt,2008). Several authors mentioned the importance of using “fresh” material as a method to exclude artificial variations in results due to time-related postmortem changes in tissues. Hoepke addressed this problem in a1928 study on sweat glands: “A great part of the differences of opinion [on the subject] surely originates in the fact that not always fresh material was available” (Hoepke,1928; p 341; translation by author). Wallraff later reiterated this argument by referring to a high variability in findings due to different postmortem tissue removal times and mandated that cytological studies of human hypophyses should only be carried out on “lebensfrischem Material” (literally: fresh as in life, Wallraff,1939; p 87). Other anatomists like Pfuhl, Stieve (1930), and Alverdes (1927) underlined the value of obtaining “lebenswarme Organe” (literally: organs warm as in life) which, Pfuhl stated, “could only be procured from executed persons” and under “often difficult conditions” (Pfuhl,1927; p 209). Stieve referred to “lebenswarm” processed testes of men executed by decapitation or shooting in one of the first articles of his new journal in1924 (Stieve,1924; p 495). Also, it was felt that the immediate processing of “fresh” organs was the one method that led to the highest quality anatomical preparations for further investigation (Möllendorff,1927; p 442; Spee,1928; p 308). Thus, anatomists considered tissues from the executed as the normal control, as “Normalfälle” (normal cases, Gagel and Bodechtel,1929; p 132) or “Vergleichsorgan” (organ for comparisons, Pfeiffer,1928; p 499), and as a standard for healthy tissues (Stieve,1931; p 214). Mall regretted not having had “fresh material from decapitated persons” available in an earlier study of the lymphatics, but was glad to have gained access to this “fresh material” later (Mall,1933; p 525 and 542). Other German, Austrian and Hungarian manuscripts published between 1924 and 1932 also referred explicitly to the use of “fresh” or “lebenswarm” tissues from the executed (Heidenhain und Werner,1924; p 558; Patzelt,1926; p 372; Hartmann and Bennett,1927; p 622; Röhlich,1932; p 21).

Obtaining tissues from the bodies of the executed was difficult during the Weimar Republic due to the scarcity of executions. Thus this “material,” which was thought of as an ideal standard, became very precious. Gagel and Bodechtel complained that procurement of “normal cases, for example executed persons, is very difficult, nearly impossible” (Gagel and Bodechtel,1929; p 132). Accordingly, this important but rare “material” was shared between colleagues, and authors acknowledged the generous help from other anatomists. In 1931, Bargmann reported the use of 14 kidneys, which were mostly organs obtained from executed persons and were “kindly made available” by his colleagues Heidenhain (Tübingen), Henneberg (Giessen), Peter (Greifswald), Petersen (Würzburg), Volhard (Frankfurt), and Fischer-Wasels (Frankfurt) (Bargmann,1931; p 85). In 1933, Volkmann, who worked at this time in Switzerland, thanked his Berlin colleague Kopsch for sharing “material” from the brain of a “decapitated person” with him (Volkmann,1933; p 219). By the time when executions had become more frequent in 1937, Bachmann still thanked his boss Max Clara for the “valuable gift” of “adrenal glands from three executed persons” (Bachmann,1937; p 436).

New “Opportunities” after 1933

As the numbers of executions rose after 1933, so did the use of the bodies of NS victims for anatomical purposes. Anatomists seized the “opportunities” given by access to this greater number of bodies and seemed to discover never before described advantages of the “material,” advantages that went beyond its value as a standard for healthy tissues. Meyer explained how the direct injection of heads of three decapitated victims allowed the extraction of epiphyses from brains that avoided these organs' frequent destruction that was deplored by authors who used conventional “material” (Meyer,1936; p 87). Stöhr recognized early on that the new “material” now allowed investigations that had been difficult if not impossible to perform until then. In a study on ganglia cells in 12 adrenal glands from executed persons, he explained that there were hardly any data available on the subject in the literature due to the previously existing lack of access to “fresh material” (Stöhr,1935). Clara also extolled the virtue of working with adrenal glands and other organs that were processed “as soon as possible postmortem” (Clara,1936; p 225; Clara,1937; p 656). In a study on arteries associated with joints and the influence of the contraction of musculature on these vessels, Hayek used his direct access to freshly executed NS victims in August 1934 and February 1935 to elicit contraction of the person's musculature by injection immediately postmortem (Hayek,1935; p 26). Weissberg described the advantage of using colon specimens from bodies that were processed immediately after execution compared to conventional material and called these specimens “quasi fixed intravitally” (Weissberg,1937; p 739). By 1940 Hayek saw it as a given that “of course the lungs of younger executed persons” were “most suitable” for his investigation of pulmonary tissues in situ (Hayek,1940; p 405).

Clara recognized the unique opportunity presented by the fact that his “material” hailed from imprisoned victims of the NS regime. He performed at least one published experiment on a living prisoner, to whom he administered Vitamin C for 5 days before the execution date in order to study postmortem the Vitamin C distribution in nervous tissue (Clara,1942; Winkelmann and Noack,2010). He shared the organs of this victim with his pupils Lothar Heckel, Rolf Müller, and Erich Schiller (Heckel,1942; Müller,1942; Schiller,1942).

By 1935 “material” from the executed had become plentiful in some departments of anatomy, e.g., in Königsberg (Sperling,1935; p 242), and by 1943 anatomical institutions in Jena and Innsbruck ran out of storage space and had to refuse acceptance of more bodies (Bussche,1989; p156ff). Up to 1933 authors reported only rarely on the use of “material” from more then one or two executed persons (exceptions: Stieve,1924,1931; Bargmann,1931). However, especially during the war years, anatomists regularly published studies on large series of “material” from the executed with as many as 24 (Wallraff and Bednara-Schöber,1943) or 38 bodies (Schiller,1942). The departments with the highest number of publications also appear to have had the largest collections of “material” from the executed, notably Leipzig, Breslau, Königsberg, Berlin, and Bonn (see Table 2 and Appendix A).

One of the most obvious changes that occurred after 1933 was the fact that bodies of executed women became available, as no women were executed during the Weimar Republic. Several investigators used “material” from the bodies of executed women together with those from male victims for larger study series, e.g., Erich Schiller in his research on the fat content of livers (Schiller,1943) and Sigfried Zitzlsperger in his study on the histology of the human heart (Zitzlsperger,1943). Hermann Stieve, who had been working on the influence of psychological stressors on reproductive organs in animals and men since the 1920s, realized the “opportunities” that the legal practices of the NS regime provided in giving him for the first time access to the bodies of executed women. He used them for investigations of the effect of psychological stress on the reproductive organs, whereby he defined imprisonment as a chronic stressor and the announcement of the execution date as an acute stressor (Stieve,1942a;1943;1952).

After 1945: Unpublished results and new data from old “material.”

This study identified 15 articles using “material” from the executed that were published after the war between 1945 and 1951 (see Appendix A). It is highly likely that most of this “material” stemmed from the NS period based on the identity of the authors and the sources listed. Erich Schiller published three articles on large series of “apparently healthy” individuals, who “died of a sudden death” (Schiller,1949a,b,1950). Schiller referred to his former employment in Leipzig, and the “material” from the 1949 articles seems to match the one from Schiller's1942 study mentioned above. Philipp Stöhr Jr. also authored three articles on “material” from the executed, whereby the study on the histology of ganglia cells expressly used the tissues from his1943 investigation, i.e., “material” from 19 executed persons (Stöhr,1943,1948). Similarly, Hayek published a study on lung tissue in1950 (Hayek,1950), in which he declared to have used “material” from 1941, which originated from executed young males (Hayek,1941). Robert Herrlinger's articles on the spleen (Herrlinger,1947,1949) definitely hailed from his time in Poznan, as his bibliographer listed the 1947 article as having been published first at the “Posen Akademie” (academy of Poznan) in 1944 (Feiner,1970). Herrlinger described having had bodies available 40 to 80 seconds after death and having procured blood from pulsating carotids that were close to an opened esophagus (Herrlinger,1947; p 228). The only investigation that may have used not only “material” from NS victims but also from persons who were executed after the war may have been the study on adrenal glands by Laeschke in 1947, who expressly referred to having used the same “material” as Stieve. In1946 Stieve described a study on adrenal glands and reproductive organs of 421 healthy men and women “who had died suddenly through external violent forces and were dissected in the first hours after death” (Stieve,1946). The body registry of the Berlin anatomical department showed entries of the acceptance of bodies of the executed until the year 1949 (Winkelmann,2008).

Information on Identity of Executed Persons

Many articles reporting the use of “material” from bodies of the executed stated the number of bodies used as well as the gender and age of the person. Up to 1937 the bodies of males exclusively were used, from then on female victims also became the object of anatomical research (see Appendix A, columns “Number of bodies” and “ID”). The age range until 1932 was 18 to 44 years, and from 1933 to 1951 the range was 17 to 75 years. There was rarely more information available with notable exceptions: investigations by Clara and his group, Stieve's studies on the influence of psychological stressors on human reproductive organs and a similar work by Karl Saller.

Karl Saller's1930 investigation on testes from a “white European” murderer quoted extensively from the court files: data from the psychopathological evaluation, details of the murder, birth and execution dates as well as length of imprisonment. Saller probably included this information as a possible explanation for the altered histology of the person's testicular tissue (Saller,1930). Similarly, Stieve had access to court files and other sources (Winkelmann and Schagen,2009) when he reported information on the personal background of the executed persons whose organs he was investigating (Stieve,1924; p 500ff; Stieve,1942a,b,1943,1944,1946). Based on this personal information he had to have noticed early on that he was dealing with a new type of prisoner who ended up being executed in NS Germany. Even though he knew that these victims were rarely murderers he still maintained even in his postwar publications that they had committed “serious, common crimes” (Stieve,1952; pIII).

In 1937 Clara and his pupils started the use of the first two to three letters of a victim's last name as identifiers for their “material” (Clara,1937,1942; Michaelis,1938; Schulze,1938; Kretschmar,1940; Schiller,1942; Heckel,1942; Müller,1942; see Appendix A). Some of these labels were listed in several articles, illustrating the fact that the group shared tissues procured from the same victim.


Use of Bodies of the Executed in German Anatomy

A systematic study of German language anatomical journals from the years 1924 to 1951 shows that published research using “material” of the bodies of the executed was not very common with 2.2% (166 out of 7,438) of overall publications. However, this research was not only performed, as previously reported, during the Third Reich and for some years thereafter (Aly,1987,1994; Aumüller and Grundmann,2002; Hildebrandt,2009b), but also before 1933. In fact, the use of tissues “freshly” procured immediately after execution was seen as an ideal standard, a guarantee for qualified histological investigations recognized by German and other European anatomists. This standard was fully established before the new developments under the NS legislation. After 1933, German anatomists discovered a whole new array of “opportunities” for their research given the increased supply of bodies of the executed. They now had easy access to large numbers of bodies, including women, which provided them with rare and delicate “materials” like hypophyses, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs. In addition, there is evidence that three anatomists used living victims of the NS regime for experiments and after their execution performed postmortem investigations: Max Clara in Leipzig (Clara,1942), Johann Paul Kremer in Auschwitz and August Hirt in Natzweiler (Hildebrandt,2009a,b,c). After the war, German anatomists clearly continued using their collections of specimens acquired during the NS regime for new scientific questions. They also published data that had been gathered during the war years and had not yet been printed due to the confusion of the time. The current study only explored publications until the year 1951, but it is known from other medical disciplines, e.g., the neuroanatomical studies by Heinrich Gross, that “material” hailing from NS victims was used as late as 1978 (Neugebauer,1997; Spann,1999; Czech,2002). Thus further studies of the postwar literature still need to be done. The problem of the existence of “material” from the NS period in anatomical collections after the war is one of the many questions that have been discussed controversially in the German public since the 1980s (Weindling, 2012).

Future Work: Identification of Victims

The current study has shown that some publications contain personal information on the victims whose bodies were used for dissection. This can be compared with data available on the persons who perished in specific execution chambers that were known to deliver bodies to the anatomical institute in question (Waltenbacher,2008). At this point biographic information is available for some of the persons executed in Berlin Plötzensee and used by Hermann Stieve, and for persons who had been executed in Dresden and used for research by the Leipzig group of Max Clara. After the war Stieve handed a list with names, birth, and execution dates of persons whose bodies he had used for research during the Third Reich to the Soviet occupying forces (Federal archives Berlin, file number: BA Berlin, Ministerium der Justiz, DP1/6490, f6). In Dresden, Dr. Birgit Sack, director of the Gedenkstätte Münchner Platz Dresden, the memorial for the place of execution in Dresden (Haase and Sack,2001), has compiled a list of information on the victims of execution. This Dresden list contains names, nationality, dates of birth and execution, place of birth, profession, reason for verdict and more (Sack,2011). Other authors have previously pointed out the possibility of matching Stieve's information with the names of prominent victims (Winkelmann and Schagen,2009; Zimmermann,2007; Klee,2004). However, while Klee claims to have definitely identified Cato Bontjes van Beek, member of the dissident group “Red Orchestra,” as a victim mentioned in Stieve's1946 article (Stieve,1946; Klee,2004; p108), there are several other 22-year-old women on Stieve's list who might also fit Stieve's description and who were not mentioned by Klee. It will be necessary to collect all available information on each victim before they can be identified conclusively.

Comparison With Other Countries

It is hard to explain why anatomists who published in English language journals never mentioned the use of “material” from bodies of the executed. The two exceptions among a total of 4,702 articles were a study by J. Gillman from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, who reported on thyroid glands from “executed Bantu males” in The Anatomical Record (Gillman,1934; p 211, 212). The other article was an investigation into the mechanics of the human foot by Russell J. Jones from Indiana, who procured “material” from “the body of a young (22 years) executed criminal” (Jones,1941; p 7). Two questions have to be asked: first, did Anglo-American anatomists truly not use “material” from the executed or did they simply see no need to mention this fact explicitly? And second, how did they fare without the standard and other “opportunities” so valued by their German colleagues?

As to the first question: while none of the English language authors explicitly mentioned the use of bodies of the executed, it seems doubtful that the many studies on large numbers of unclaimed bodies from the anatomical dissection laboratories of medical schools in the US did not include one or the other executed person. Many US states at the time had legislation for capital punishment and performed executions. Also, while the use of the bodies of the executed for anatomical purposes was expressly forbidden in the UK since the Warburton Act in 1832, countries of the British Commonwealth had not all passed similar legislation by the 1930s (Hildebrandt,2008). Thus it is quite possible that executed persons were among the number of unclaimed bodies used for anatomical dissection. At the same time, this apparent lack of the importance of mentioning bodies of the executed as a special source of tissue gives an answer to the second question: anatomists who published in English language journals (and there was little overlap as to who published in English language journals and who published in German language journals) apparently did not miss the standard and other “opportunities” provided by “material” from the bodies of the executed. They investigated similar questions as their German colleagues, but often did so with routine postmortem and surgical material or in animal models. For example, William M. Shanklin from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, performed a series of studies on hypophyses from autopsy material (Shanklin,1951) and Rasmussen from Minnesota investigated 111 normal male adult hypophyses from cases of “sudden and usually accidental death” (Rasmussen,1928). Thus it is at least debatable whether there was a true scientific need for this standard.

Just as US and UK authors did not mention the use of “material” from the executed, neither did anatomists who worked in the Soviet Union. Until 1933 German language journals frequently published articles by Soviet authors, many of them studies of large numbers of bodies. A typical example was the research by A. Chanamirjan from the North-Ukranian State University in Rostow/Don, who investigated 260 bodies of fetuses, neonates, and adults (Chanamirjan,1929). It has to be assumed that the bodies in these large-scale studies were unclaimed and, given Soviet politics at the time (Snyder,2010), may have included bodies of executed persons. Again, Soviet anatomical research thrived without the standard valued by German anatomists. E. Stankiewitsch from the Belarus State University in Minsk addressed this problem in a scientific manner: he stated the great difficulty of obtaining fresh human material as “cases of dissection immediately after death occur rarely” (Stankiewitsch,1934; p 82). Thus he investigated the question of time dependence of postmortem cell deterioration in neuronal cells from dogs. He found that the cells remained structurally intact until 24 hours after death and thus saw the use of “older” postmortem tissues justified.

It should be noted that in terms of the ethical provenance of anatomical “material,” the tissues from the executed were not the only problematic source of human tissues found in the current study. William Montagna and James B. Hamilton from Brown University in Rhode Island and State University of New York published an investigation of the distribution of lipids in human testes in1951. They reported: “The materials used were obtained from 11 total orchidectomies of men from 18 to 38 years of age. All of these men were mentally deficient and sex misdemeanants” (Montagna and Hamilton,1951; p 636). These “mentally deficient” men had most likely undergone involuntary but at the time legal surgical castration. Similarly, Warren Andrew and Nancy V. Andrew from universities in Missouri and Washington D.C. were grateful for sharing V. Cowdry's “excellent human biopsy material” and explained: “The specimens were excised from volunteers, most of them feeble-minded but otherwise normal [...]” (Andrew and Andrew,1949). The concept of a “feebleminded volunteer” is an oxymoron to modern thinking.

Difference in Attitude

What can be the possible explanations for the difference in attitude toward working with “material” from the executed between German and Anglo-American anatomy? Anatomists from both backgrounds had certainly been used to working with bodies from the executed throughout several centuries of scientific anatomy (Hildebrandt,2008). Historical anatomical collections in the UK, the US, and Germany held specimens and models from the bodies of executed persons (Worden, 2003; Chaplin,2005; Grundmann and Aumüller,2012). Maybe it was simply a tradition of German language articles to expressly mention “Hingerichtete” (executed persons). However, this would not account for German anatomists' view of these tissues as a gold standard, an attitude that was not shared in other parts of the world. At this point there is not enough information to explain why anatomists trained in the German tradition felt the need to refer to this standard before 1933 and were not content with available alternatives from surgical and autopsy specimens or animals. However, German anatomists' familiarity with the use of the executed for published research before 1933 may explain why they so easily and often gladly accepted the “opportunities” opening up to them through the execution practices of the NS regime. In fact, they felt entitled to the use of these bodies, as common complaints from anatomists to authorities in the 1930s and even after the war show (GDR Ministry of the Interior,1950; Noack and Heyll,2006). In 1938 Stieve had called it “his duty” to make use of this “Werkstoff” in every way (Zimmermann,2007). Hans Elias, who had fled Germany in 1933, received a letter from his colleague and friend Stieve after the war, in which Stieve reported on the NS period as having been hard, but a productive period for anatomists as they were able to receive a plentiful supply of completely fresh bodies of healthy persons that made for a good dissection material (Hildebrandt,2012a). In the first years after the war German anatomists' attitude only changed insofar as they did not explicitly mention “material” of executed persons any more but referred to tissues from persons who “died a sudden death” (e.g., Schiller,1949a,b).

Relevance for Evaluation of History of Anatomy in the Third Reich

While the fact of the use of bodies of the executed as a quality standard in German anatomical research before 1933 may explain the anatomists eager acceptance of research on NS victims, it can not serve as an exculpation for their doing so. They certainly knew or could have known about the identity of these victims and either did not care about them or tried to suppress their knowledge or developed an abnormal clinical detachment rationalized by their own sense of duty (for an introductory debate of the ethics of anatomy in the Third Reich, see Hildebrandt,2009c). They have to be held responsible for their actions, or, as the German Jewish emigrant and anatomist Hans Elias put it: “Every German, whether Jew or Christian, has to account for his actions between 1933 and 1945” (Hildebrandt,2012a).

Knowing about this familiarity of German anatomists with the bodies of the executed even before 1933 puts a different perspective on previous judgments about individual anatomists whose involvement in such research led to the first public discussions on the subject. In 1987 Götz Aly alerted a wider audience to Robert Herrlinger's research on the executed that was published after the war (Aly,1987,1994). Herrlinger and his boss Hermann Voss were well known by generations of medical students as authors of a popular manual of anatomy. Robert Herrlinger published several reports on the histology of the spleen based on work that he had performed on blood and spleens extracted from eight victims “three minutes postmortem” in the execution chambers of Poznan in 1943 (Herrlinger,1947,1949; p 342). The public reaction (e.g., this author's) to these details and Aly's report on Voss' hate-revealing diary was one of deep consternation and a feeling of betrayal by these admired teachers. While the facts of Voss' and Herrlinger's actions in Poznan still remain the same, at least Herrlinger's work has to be viewed within the continuum of the development of German anatomists' attitude toward the bodies of the executed. From his point of view, he was following “best practices” for the procurement of human spleen tissue of the highest quality. The spleen was among the many organs that were considered to mandate investigation in the freshest state possible due to their tendency to fast postmortem deterioration. Several authors before Herrlinger explicitly reported the use of “fresh material” from the spleen of the executed, among them Wolfgang Bargmann from Leipzig and Karl Röhlich from Hungary (Hartmann and Bennett,1927; Jäger,1929; Röhlich,1934; Herrath,1935; Bargmann,1941; Harting,1944). However, none of these other authors' articles were ever criticized in the same manner. Again, this shift of perspective can and should not be used as an exculpation, but shows the need for a closer look at the background of a phenomenon like the use of the executed to understand its meaning in terms of the ethics of individual anatomists.

Herrlinger is at this point the only anatomist who is said to have regretted his work after the war. He is also the only one who was involved in a controversy because of his publications on the executed (Aly,1987,1994). However, all other anatomists listed in Table 3 and who performed research on the executed had thriving postwar careers in Germany and Austria, with the exception of the active National Socialist Max Clara (Winkelmann and Noack,2010). Heinrich von Hayek became chairman of anatomy in Vienna, Philipp Stöhr Jr. continued as chair in Bonn, Stieve remained chair in Berlin, Voss had a chair in Jena, Helmut Ferner in Homburg, Heidelberg and Vienna, Josef Wallraff was an anatomist in Munich and Erich Schiller continued to work on anatomical topics (Staubesand,1998; Hildebrandt2009a, c; Winkelmann and Noack,2010). Wolfgang Bargmann became possibly the most prominent German anatomist after the war and was highly respected internationally for his work on neurosecretion as well as for his efforts to bring German anatomy back in contact with its colleagues worldwide (Fleischhauer,1979; Hildebrandt,2012). The history of their science in the first half of the twentieth century was not openly discussed by German anatomists until the beginning of the twenty-first century (for a historiographic background see Hildebrandt,2009a). More research into the lives of these anatomists is necessary to understand their actions during and after the war.


What happened in German execution chambers during the Third Reich was horrific and the exploitation of the newly dead by anatomists was shameful and without excuse from a modern ethical point of view. The new insights presented here show that German anatomists' familiarity with the use of the executed even before 1933 may have contributed to the ease with which they accepted the “opportunities” presented to them by the nearly unlimited access to bodies of the executed between 1933 and 1945. German postwar anatomy was built in part on the bodies of NS victims. All anatomists who represented German anatomy after the war, independent of their political convictions, had been complicit in this appalling work in teaching on bodies of the executed and many of the most active ones also in their research. Personal involvement may have contributed to German anatomy's long resistance against a public evaluation of its history during National Socialism (Hildebrandt,2006; Seidelmann, 2012). This attitude has finally changed with the first German symposium on the subject held by the Anatomical Society in 2010 and a special issue of the Annals of Anatomy on the history of anatomy in National Socialism (Hildebrandt,2011, Hildebrandt and Redies, 2012). In addition, the Anatomical Society has placed a chapter on this history in the celebratory issue for its 125-year anniversary, which includes a memorial to the victims, i.e., the persons whose bodies were used for anatomical purposes and the anatomists whose careers were disrupted through NS policies (“Jubiläumsausgabe,” Hildebrandt and Aumüller,2012; Hildebrandt, 2012). Further work is necessary to identify the victims whose bodies were used for anatomical research. If, according to Timothy Snyder, the National Socialists turned people into numbers, the German anatomists of the time turned them into tissues and cells. To paraphrase Snyder: “It is for us scholars, to seek these numbers [tissues and cells] and put them into perspective. It is for us humanists to turn the numbers [tissues and cells] back into people” (Snyder,2010; p 408).


The author thanks Frau Dr. Birgit Sack, director of the Gedenkstätte Münchner Platz Dresden, for sharing results of her research.



JournalYearAuthorDepartmentTitle/topicNo. bodiesID
ZAE 72(3-6)556-608 1924 Heidenhain,MTübingenÜber die Epithelien des Corpus epididymis beim Menschen2m
ZMAF 1:149–152 1924 Stieve, HHalleUntersuchungen über die Wechselbeziehungen zwischen Gesamtkörper und KeimdrüsenPart of 34m
AA 60:309–3131925Lubosch, WWürzburgDer Gefässnervenkanal in der Kniekehle1?m
ZAE 75(3–4):319–3601925Neuffer, ETübingenDer Bau der Papillae filiformes der menschlichen Zunge?19–30y,?
ZAE 76(1–3):142–1581925Kopsch, FrBerlinDas Binnengerüst, Endopegma, in den Zellen der Tränendrüse des Menschen und der Epidermis der Cyclostomen122y/m
ZAE 76(4–5):421–4621925Schulze, WWürzburgUntersuchungen über die Capillaren und postcapillären Venen lymphatischer Organe1?
Z Zellf 2(2):203–2411925Marcus, H.MunichÜber den feineren Bau des menschlichen Herzmuskels1m
Z Zellf 2(5):783–8621925BenninghoffKielForm und Bau der Gelenkknorpel in ihren Beziehungen zur Funktion1m
ZMAF 5:221–2841926Kopsch, Fr.BerlinDas Binnengerüst in den Zellen einiger Organe des Menschen222y/m, 44y/m
ZMAF 6:191–2401926Kasche, FJena PathologieDie Histologie der Pars intermedia der Hypophyse beim erwachsenen Manne1m in his 30s
ZMAF 10:207–2241927Pfuhl, WGreifswaldForm und Lage der Sternzellen in der Leber eines 22 jährigen gesunden Mannes1m
Z Zellf 5(5):620–628 1927 Hartmann, AMunichÜber das Balkengerüstwerk in der menschlichen Milz136y/m
Z Zellf 6(3):441–450 1927 MöllendorffKielEinige Beobachtungen über den Aufbau des Nierenglomerulus1m
ZMAF 11:172–180 1927 Alverdes, KKönigsbergDer Zentralgeisselapparat der Epithelzellen im Rete testis des Menschen141y/m
GMJ 60: 1–461928Kuhn, JKMarburgDie Topographie und Funktion der Halsfaszien, des Tractus omoclaviluaris und das Spatium interfasciale suprasternale124y/m
VAG 37:65–701928Quast, PBonnZur Histologie der Zirbeldrüse des Menschen(Material as VAG38:209–211, 1929) 
VAG 37:124–1311928Neubert,K?Zur Morphologie der Talgdrüsen1m
VAG 37:302–306 1928 Spee, FKielZur Vorweisung von Präparaten menschlicher Lungen, die in natürlicher Spannung konserviert wurden??
ZAE 87(3–4):319–353 1928 Hoepke, HHeidelbergDer epidermale Teil des Ausführungsganges der ekkrinen Schweissdrüsen1m
ZMAF 15:472–598 1928 Pfeiffer, EHalleDie Entwicklung der keimleitenden Wege des Mannes123y/m
VAG 38:209–2111929Quast,PBonnMikroskopische Präparate zur Histologie der Zirbeldrüse des Menschen?20.5y/m;?
VAG 38:2111929Petersen, HWürzburgPräparate vom Anus eines Hingerichteten1m
Z Zellf 8(3):578–601 1929 Jäger, ELeipzig PathologieDie Gefässversorgung der Malphigischen Körperchen in der Milz138y/m
AA 69:239–243 1930 Saller, KGöttingenDas Vorkommen von Steinchen im menschlichen Hoden135y/m
ZMAF 19:557–601 1930 Stieve, HHalleDie Harnröhrenschleimhaut des MannesPart of 1118–35y/m
ZMAF F 22:73–791930Alverdes, KKönigsbergDie Beziehungen der Blutgefässe zum Epithel im Vestibulum nasi des Menschen141y/m
ZMAF 23: 335–4331930Quast, PBonnBeiträge zur Histologie und Cytologie der normalen Zirbeldrüse des Menschen I. Das Parenchympigment der Zirbeldrüse425–40y/m
ZMAF 24:38–1001931Quast, P.BonnBeiträge zur Histologie und Cytologie der normalen Zirbeldrüse des Menschen. II Zellen und Pigment des interstitiellen Gewebes der Zirbeldrüse(Same as 1930) 
ZMAF 24:213–234 1931 Stieve, HHalleVerhornungserscheinungen im Epithel der menschlichen Speiseröhren-und Scheidenschleimhaut11m
Z Zellf 14(1/2):73–137 1931 Bargmann,WFrankfurtÜber Struktur und Speicherungsvermögen des Nierenglomerulus1422y/m
ZMAF 28:158–1821932Voss, HLeipzigDie Beobachtungen eines drüsenartigen Lumens mit Sekret in der Nebennierenrinde des Menschen1m
ZMAF 28:565–5771932Berg, WKönigsbergÜber den Übertritt von Kernstoffen in das Cytoplasma143y/m
ZMAF 28:609–6431932Alverdes, KKönigsbergDie apokrinen Drüsen im Vestibulum nasi des Menschen141y/m
ZAE 100(4):521–558 1933 Mall,GDTübingenÜber den Wandbau der mittleren und kleineren Lymphgefässe des Menschen1?
ZAM 34:436–4581934Wagenseil,FSchanghaiBemerkungen über den innersekretorischen Apparat der Chinesen? 
VAG 42:197–2091934Lanz,TMunichDer Samenspeicher des Menschen131y/m
AA 78:321–3311934Fujita, TBreslauDie motorische Innervation der genuinen Aurikularmuskeln beim Menschen, nebst Bemerkungen zu ihrer phylogenetischen Herkunft125y/m
AA 79:288–2921934Palme, FPragueÜber ein verlagertes Epithelkörperchen des Menschen am Paraganglion supracardiale130y/m
ZMAF 35:146–1801934Berg, WKönigsbergÜber den mikroskopisch nachweisbaren Übertritt von Stoffen aus dem Cytoplasma in den Kern der Leberzelle218y/m;43y/m
ZMAF 34:517–5281934Meyer, RKönigsbergÜber den histologischen Nachweis von Eisen in normalen Leberzellkernen224y/m;43y/m
ZAE 104(5):475–490 1935 Stöhr, Ph.BonnZur Innervation der menschlichen Nebenniere1220–26y/?
ZAE 105(1):25–36 1935 Hayek, HRostockDas Verhalten der Arterien bei Beugung der Gelenke2?1m,?
ZMAF 37:257–3241935Lanz, WallraffMunichDer Nebenhodenschweif des Menschen als Samenspeicherr131y/m
ZMAF 37:389–406 1935 Herrath,ECologneVergleichend-quantitative Untersuchungen an acht verschiedenen Säugermilzen??
ZMAF 38:241–252 1935 Sperling, GKönigsbergDie Form der apokrinen Haardrüsen des Menschen?42y/m
ZMAF 38:241–2521935Körner, FLeipzigÜber die direkte Teilung der Herzmuskelkerne223y/m;42y/m
ZMAF 38:644–6591935Berg, WKönigsbergÜber Fett- und Pigmenteinschlüsse in den Leberzellkernen des Menschen134y/m
GMJ 78:237–2851936Niessing, KKielÜber systemartige Zusammenhänge der Neuroglia im Grosshirn und über ihre funktionelle Bedeutung3?
VAG 44:134–1371936Becher, HMarburgÜber die Wirkung und Bedeutung regulatorischer Einrichtungen an der arteriola afferens der menschlichen Niere?m
AA 82:1–201936Froriep,ETübingenZur Frage der SERTOLI'schen Zellen127y/m
ZMAF 39:105–1151936Boenig, HBerlinBeiträge zur Kenntnis der Vasa efferentia in der menschlichen Niere134y/m
ZMAF 39:231–242 1936 Clara, MLeipzigÜber das argyrophile Gewebe (“Gitterfasern”) in der menschlichen Bauchspeicheldrüse430–45y/m; 42y/m
ZMAF 40:29–561936Körner, FLeipzigÜber die Verknüpfung der Muskelfasern des Herzens durch gewisse Bindegewebsfasern des Perimysium internum123y/m
ZMAF 40:147–280 1936 Clara, MLeipzigVergleichende Histobiologie des Nierenglomerulus und der Lungenalveole?30y,42y,39y, all m
ZMAF 40:381–4011936Speer, MLeipzigÜber die Verteilung der albuminösen und mukösen Anteile in der Glandula submandibularis und in der Glandula sublingualis des Menschen339y,30y,30y all m
ZMAF 40:455–4731936Schmidt, MKönigsbergDie mechanische Bedeutung des adventiellen Bindegewebes an den mittelgrossen Gefässen??
Z Zellf 25(1):83–981936aMeyer, RKönigsbergÜber den morphologisch fassbaren Kernstoffwechsel der Parenchymzellen der Epiphysis cerebri des Menschen323y,24y,31y/m
Z Zellf 25(1):173–1801936bMeyer, RKönigsbergDas Verhalten mehrer nucleolärer Blasen im Kernstoffwechsel der Pinealzellen desMenschen und die Entstehung der Kernfalten3(same as 1936a)
Z Zellf 25(2):221–2351936 Clara, MLeipzigÜber die physiologische Regeneration der Nebennierenzellen beim Menschen4m
Z Zellf 25(4):605–6131936cMeyer, RKönigsbergDie Entstehung des Parenchympigmentes in der menschlichen Epiphysis cerebri3(same as 1936a)
ZAM 36:39–1501937Wagenseil, FSchanghai/BonnUntersuchungen über die Muskulatur der Chinesen6m
ZAE 107(4):427–4601937Winterstein,JHalleÜber die Abscheidung von Hypophysenwirkstoffen auf dem Arterienwege im Rahmen einer periodischen Tätigkeit der Hypophyse332y,35y,38y;1f,2m
ZAE 107(6):738–781 1937 Weissberg, HCologneBeitrag zur Morphologie des menschlichen Dickdarms?21y/m
ZMAF 41:131–1501937Körner, FLeipzigÜber Drosselvenen im Schwellgewebe der Nasenschleimhaut130y/m
ZMAF 41:321–347 1937 Clara, MLeipzigZur Histobiologie des Bronchialepithels??
ZMAF 41: 433–446 1937 Bachmann, RLeipzigÜber die Bedeutung des argyrophilen Bindegewebes (Gitterfasern) in der Nebennierenrinde und im Corpus luteum3?
ZMAF 41:453–4681937Krüger, OGreifswald PathologieVersuche zur Fixierung des Funktionszustandes der Hauptstücke der menschlichen Niere und zur Bedeutung der Kuppenbläschen der Epithelien124y/m
ZMAF 42:418–4321937aVoss, HLeipzigVergleichende Untersuchungen über den Aufteilungsgrad der kontraktilen Masse in den Skelettmuskeln??
ZMAF 42:509–5241937bVoss, HLeipzigUntersuchungen über Zahl, Anordnung und Lange der Muskelspindeln in den Lumbricalmuskeln des Menschen und einiger Tiere430–50y, ?
Z Zellf 25(5):655–693 1937 Clara, MLeipzigÜber das Vorkommen von Atraktosomen in den Schleimzellen der menschlichen Drüsen8+30yKo, 40yFa
GMJ 81:158–1861938Schreiber, HFrankfurtZur Entstehung der Längsgewölbe des menschlichen Fusses220y/m;22y/m
VAG 46:360–3651938Winterstein, JHalleÜber hassalähnliche Körperchen an den Arterien der Hypophyse??
VAG 46:394–4011938Gehlen, HHeidelbergNeuere Auffassungen über die Retraktionskraft der Lunge und ihre anatomischen Grundlagen??
ZAE 108(3):337–3551938Hass, EMunichÜber die elastischen Netze der Pleura222y/m;33y/m
ZMAF 43:567–580 1938 Michaelis,WLeipzigVariationsstatistische Untersuchungen über die Kerngrössen und das Verhältnis von ein- und zweikernigen Zellen in der menschlichen Leber439yNI,29ySchmi; 21yGru,30yKo; m?
ZMAF 44: 451–4881938Ferner, HLeipzigÜber die Entwicklung der Langerhansschen Inseln nach der Geburt und die Bedeutung der versilberbaren Zellen im Pankreas des Menschen3?
ZMAF 44:489–497 1938 Schulze, HLeipzigÜber den Fettgehalt in dem Epithel des Gallengangssystems bei verschiedenen Säugetieren330yKo,39yNi, 21yGru, all m
AA 87:257–2751939Schreiber, HFrankfurtZum Bau und Entleerungsmechanismus der Gallenblase 522–36y
AA 87:275–2921939Winterstein,JHalleZur Kenntnis der Hypophysenarterien?35y/f;32–38y/m
Z Zellf 30(4):1939Schneider, HJLeipzigÜber die Speicherung von Vitalfarbstoffen im Thymusretikulum?m
ZMAF 45:179–1991939Appelt, HLeipzigUntersuchungen über die Arteriolae afferentes und über die Gefässkörperchen (Goormaghtigh-Bechersche Zellgruppen) in der Niere des Menschen und der Maus823–31y, ?
ZMAF 45:266–2901939TischendorfLeipzigHistologische Beiträge zur Kenntnis der venösen Lebersperre?m/f
ZMAF 45:631–667 1939 Wallraff, JBreslauBeitrag zur Morphologie und Morphogenese der Hypophysenzellen des erwachsenen Menschen324y/m,27y/m,27y/f
AA 90:161–1721940Clara, MLeipzigÜber die Beziehungen zwischen dem Epithel und den Blutkapillaren241/m;52/f
AA 90:273–2961940Hewel, JBerlinÜber die Beweglichkeit der menschlichen Leber1m
ZAE 110 (3):391–4041940Ferner, HLeipzigÜber den Bau des Ganglion semilunare (Gasseri) und der Trigeminuswurzel des Menschen328y/f;30y/m;41y/m
ZAE 110(3):405–411 1940 Hayek, HWürzburgDie Läppchen und Septa interlobaria der menschlichen Lunge??
ZAE 110 (4):587–596 1940 Hayek,HWürzburgÜber die Präkapillaren, die Arteriolen und die Teilungsstellen der kleinen Arterien in der menschlichen Lunge??
ZAE 110(5–6):755–7661940Fleischer, HGreifwaldÜber ein regelmässig vorhandenes Ganglion accessorium trigemini und seine Lage im Cavum trigemini1?
Z Zellf 30(5):689–7011940Teichmann, WLeipzigÜber die Gitterfasern des Thymus?18y, 25y, 40y18y, all m
ZMAF 47:137–150 1940 KretschmarLeipzigÜber das regelmäßige Vorkommen einer Flimmerepitheltasche im Bereich der Tonsilla palatina beim Menschen947yFa,41yNi,42yRi
ZMAF 47:183–2461940Clara, MLeipzigUntersuchungen über den färberischen Nachweis des Schleimes in den Drüsenzellen beim Menschen10?
ZMAF 48:450–4601940Sussmann,ELeipzigÜber das Verhalten der Gitterfasern im Hodenzwischengewebe des Menschen in verschiedenen Lebensaltern3?
ZMAF 48:592–6061940Ferner,HLeipzigUntersuchungen über die “zelligen Knötchen” (“Epithelgranulationen”) und die Kalkkugeln in den Hirnhäuten des Menschen??
Z Zellf 30(5) :751–7681940Bauer, KMunichÜber das Grundnetz der menschlichen Grosshirnrinde?36y, 39y, 75y m?
Z Zellf 31(1):43–531940Voss, HLeipzigVergleichende histotopochemische Untersuchungen über das Verhalten der Nebenniere zur Plasmalreaktion??
EAE 33:31–1341941Bachmann, RLeipzigNebennierenstudien518y/m; 22y/m
ZMAF 49:626–3431941Hruby, JBreslauUntersuchungen an der Schilddrüse mit der Tannin-Eisenmethode1222–34y, ?
ZMAF 50:339–3541941Vester,GBerlinÜber die Beziehungen der Drüsenzellen zu den Sinuskapillaren im Vorderlappen der Hypophyse??
ZMAF 50:392–4431941Märk, WInnsbruckÜber arterio-venöse Anastomosen. Gefässsperren und Gefässe mit epitheloiden Zellen beim Menschen??
ZMAF 50:522–5571941Wallraff, JBreslauHistochemische Untersuchungen an der12m
Z Zellf 31(4):502–5121941Leopold, PGLeipzigÜber den histotopochemischen Nachweis von Vitamin C im Zentralnervensystem>627y, 27y, 33y,38y, 49y, 57y; all m
Z Zellf 31(4):630–647 1941 Bargmann, WLeipzigZur Kenntnis der Hülsenkapillaren der Milz130y/m
GMJ 87:193–2151942Spanner, RDanzigBesonderheiten an der Gefässwand der grossen Mundspeicheldrüsen, sowie der Bauchspeicheldrüse?m
AA 93:149–1551942Hayek, HWürzburgÜber Bau und Funktion der Alveolarepithelzellen??
AA 93:155–1591942Hayek, HWürzburgÜber Kurzschlüsse und Nebenschlüsse des Lungenkreislaufes(same as ZAE 1940) 
AA 93:264–2671942Schultze-JenaInnsbruckElastischer Knorpel in der Gaumentonsille139y/m
ZAE 111:91–1501942SchreiberFrankfurtDas Muskellager der menschlichen Gallenblasenwand im Vergleich zu der vierfüssiger Säuger819–36y,?
ZAE 111(1):533–5441942Hayek,HWurzburgÜber arterio-venöse Anastomosen und die postcapillaren Venen der menschlichen Tonsille5?
ZMAF 51:40–721942Wallraff,JBreslauSystematische Untersuchungen an den Nebennieren des erwachsenen Menschen mit der Plasmalreaktion14m
ZMAF 51:206–2291942WallraffBreslauHistochemische Untersuchungen am Nervensystem des erwachsenen Menschen mit der Plasmalreaktion4?
ZMAF 51:309–321 1942 Schiller, ELeipzigÜber den Fettgehalt der Leber beim gesunden Menschen3834m,4f; Table with abbreviated names
ZMAF 51:498–5011942Schinkele, OViennaÜber das Vorkommen von Geschmacksknospen im kranialen Drittel des Oesophagus1f
ZMAF 51:581–6091942Wallraff, J; Bednara-Schöber, MBreslauVitamin-C- und Plasmaluntersuchungen an den Geschlechtsorganen des Mannes1420–40y,m
ZMAF 51:87–1071942Hertwig, GBerlinDer volumetrische Nachweis von Verdoppelungs- und Zwischenklassen an den Zellkernen des Zentralnervensystems des Menschen??
ZMAF 52:359–392 1942 Clara, MLeipzigBeiträge zur Histotopochemie des Vitamin C im Nervensystem des Menschen15?;Svo 33 3/4y,m
ZMAF 52:393–417 1942 Heckel, LLeipzigUntersuchungen über das Vorkommen von Vitamin C in der Nebenniere des Menschen2625m,1f names abbr.
ZMAF 52:440–454 1942 Müller, RLeipzigUntersuchungen über das Vorkommen von Vitamin C im Hoden des Menschen23[nearly Heckel identical ZMAF 52: 393–417, 1942]
ZMAF 52:480–5011942Weber, WLeipzigÜber den Bau der muscularis mucosae im Verdauungssschlauch des Menschen?20–57y, ?
ZMAF 52:572–5891942Skutta, LBreslauUntersuchungen über die Färbung des Schleimes mit Tannineisen6?
ZMAF 52:590–6161942Stosiek, KBreslauUntersuchungen an Magen und Bauchspeicheldrüse des Menschen mit dem Tannineisenverfahren nach Salazar und der Tannineisen-Azocarmin-Toluidin-blau-Färbung nach Wallraff14m
Z Zellf 32:335–3381942Hett, JErlangenBecherzellpolster in den Speicheldrüsenausführungsgängen120y/f
Z Zellf 32(3):341–3651942Bauer, KFMunichPrinzipien der Histologie229/my, 35y/m
Z Zellf 32(3):394–4001942Bargmann, WKönigsbergÜber Kernsekretion in der Neurohypophyse des Menschen1017–44y,?
AA 94:88–911943Märk, WInnsbruckGaumenzäpfchen mit Lymphbalg139y/m
AA 94: 97–1001943Bargmann, W; Scheffler,AKönigsbergZur Frage der parthogenetischen Furchung menschlicher Ovarialeizellen128y/f
AA 94:108–115 1943 Schiller, ELeipzigÜber die Beziehungen zwischen Grundhäutchen und Basalmembran in der Leber und in endokrinen Organen des Menschen217.5y/m; 36y/m
AA 94:416–4241943Märk, WInnsbruckDie mechanische Bedeutung der argyrophilen Fasern128y/m
ZAE 112(1):221–2281943Hayek,HWürzburgKurz- und Nebenschlüsse des menschlichen Lungenkreislaufes in der Pleura??
ZMAF 53:1–40 1943 ZitzlspergerBerlin/KielInterstitielle Zellen (Cajal) im Papillarmuskel des menschlichen Herzens919–52y,m/f
ZMAF 53:41–451943Watzka,MPragÜber freie, chromierbare Paraganglien beim erwachsenen Menschen134y/m
ZMAF 53:102–121 1943 Wallraff, J; Bednara- SchöberBreslauVergleichende Untersuchungen über die Darstellbarkeit des Leberglykogens nach Best und Bauer24?
ZMAF 53:467–582 1943 Stieve,HBerlinÜber Follikelsprung, Gelbkörperbildung und den Zeitpunkt der Befruchtung beim Menschen?f patient histories
Z Zellf 32(5):587–635 1943 Stöhr, Ph.BonnStudien zur normalen und pathologischen Histologie vegetativer Ganglien. I1917–70y,?
GMJ 89:249–2791944Horstmann, EHeidelbergÜber die Mesenterialgefässe und ihren Einbau in die Darmwand?17–35y,?
EAE 34:3–59 1944 Harting,KBonnVergleichende Untersuchungen über die mikroskopische Innervation der Milz des Menschen und einiger Säugetiere??
EAE 34:151–2431944Hayek, HWürzburgDie menschliche Lunge und ihre Gefässe, ihr Bau unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Funktion??
EAE 34:244–3681944Stöhr,PhBonnZusammenfassende Ergebnisse über die mikroskopische Innervation des Magen-Darmkanals[same as Z Zellf 32(5):587–635] 
AA 95:161–1911944SchaffenrothBreslauVitamin-C-Untersuchungen an Magen, Darm Leber und Bauchspeicheldrüse des Menschen,12?
AA 95:310–3261944Kick, UBreslauBeitrag zur Frage des bestmöglichen geweblichen Glykogennachweis6?
ZAE 113(1):187–2031944Schneider, HInnsbruckZur Anatomie des Bewegungsapparates des Auges234y/m;39y/m
ZAE 113(1):164–1731944ZitzelspergerKielNeue Methoden zur Untersuchung der Reaktionskinetik histologischer Färbungen1?
ZAE 113(1):233–2461944Schwarz,WKönigsbergDie Kinematik des Bandapparates am Kniegelenk121y/m
Z Zellf 33(1–2), 5–131944Bargmann,WKönigsbergÜber den Saum des menschlichen Darmepithels1817–51y,?
ZMAF 54:131–1441944Matzke, HBreslauHistologische Vitamin-C-, Fett-, Plasmal- und Glykogenuntersuchungen an den Schilddrüsen erwachsener Menschen2120–40y,?
ZMAF 54:358–3951944Clara, MMunichHistotopochemische Untersuchungen über das Vitamin C in der Schleimhaut desMagen-Darm-Kanales beim Menschen30
ZMAF 54:598–6031944Schiller, ELeipzigÜber Kernsekretion in der Nebennierenrinde1517.5–72y,m
Z Zellf 33(1–2):109–1421945Stöhr, Ph.BonnStudien zur normalen und pathologischen Histologie vegetativer Ganglien.II1917–70y,?
Z Zellf 33(1–2):143–150 1945Ziesche, KTKonigsbergZur Histologie des Tuber cinereum des Menschen819–40y,?
Z Zellf 33(3):412–4231945Steege, HKönigsbergÜber den histotopochemischen Nachweis von Vitamin C in der menschlichen und tierischen Schilddrüse1118–49y/m
  1. ID: identifying information on victims who were dissected; m = male, f = female, ? = gender not mentioned. ZAM: Zeitschrift fur Anthropologie und Morphologie. GMJ: Gegenbaurs Morphologisches Jahrbuch. EAE: Ergebnisse der Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte (Advances in Anatomy, Embryology and Cell Biology). VAG: Verhandlungen der Anatomischen Gesellschaft. AA: Anatomischer Anzeiger. ZAE: Zeitschrift für Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte (Today: Brain structure and function; formerly: Anatomy and embryology; formerly: Anatomische Hefte). ZMAF: Zeitschrift fur mikroskopische und anatomische Forschung. Z: Zellf: Zeitschrift für Zellforschung und mikroskopische Anatomie.

Z Zellf 33(3):424–4381945Hagen, EBonnÜber das Vorkommen und die Bedeutung mehrkerniger Ganglienzellen im vegetativen Nervensystem232y/m; 36y/m
AA 96:1–151947Laeschke,RBerlinDie Nebennierenrinde des Menschen bei Störungen der Keimdrüsentatigkeit und bei Fettansatz trotz Mangelernährungsame material as Stieve, 1946 (see text) 
AA 96:226–235 1947 Herrlinger, R?Das Blut in der Milzvene des Menschen8m
ZAE 114(1–2): 14–52 1948 Stöhr, PhBonnStudien zur normalen und pathologischen Histologie vegetativer Ganglien.II19(same as Z Zellf 32(5):587–635, 1943)
Z Zellf 34(1):1–54 1948 Stöhr, PhBonnMikroskopische Studien zur Innervation des Magen-Darm-Kanales1m
ZAE 114(3):185–2151949Stöhr, PhBonnBeobachtungen zur Histopathologie des Muskel-und Nervengewebes im menschlichen Ösophagus144y/m
ZAE 114(4):341–365 1949 Herrlinger, RHeidelbergNeue funktionell-histologische Untersuchungen an der menschlichen Milz8?
ZAE 114(4):400–4191949Graf, PTübingenEigenartige Strukturverhältnisse in der Muskulatur der menschlichen Uvula??
Z Zellf 34(4):362–4271949Wallraff, JCologneHistochemische Untersuchungen an den Nebennieren des erwachsenen Menschen12?
Z Zellf 34(4):337–3551949Schiller, ELeipzigVariationsstatistische Untersuchungen über Kerneinschlusse und –Kristalle der menschlichen Leber2517–73y,m,f
Z Zellf 34(4):356–3611949Schiller, ELeipzigKerneinschlüsse und Amitosepart of 5016–73y, ?
VAG 97: 239–240 1950 Schiller,EHombergDie morphologische Manifestation von Kernstoffwechselstörungen134y/f
ZAE 114(5):511–5241950Hermann, HBonnMikroskopische Studien an menschlichen Herzganglien. Ein Beitrag zur Individualanatomie??
ZAE 114(5):539–5881950Neubert, KRostockDie Basilarmembran des Menschen und ihr Verankerungssystem127y/m
ZAE 115(1):88–94 1950 Hayek, HWürzburgDie Muskulatur im Lungenparenchym des Menschen4Young m
GMJ 91:447–4821951Kügelgen,AFreiburgÜber den Wandbau der grossen Venen219y/m;21y/m
JournalYearAuthorDepartment ChairTitle/topicNo. of bodiesID
  1. ID: identifying information on victims who were dissected; m = male, f = female. ZAM: Zeitschrift fur Anthropologie und Morphologie. GMJ: Gegenbaurs Morphologisches Jahrbuch. EAE: Ergebnisse der Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte (Advances in Anatomy, Embryology and Cell Biology). VAG: Verhandlungen der Anatomischen Gesellschaft. AA: Anatomischer Anzeiger. ZAE: Zeitschrift für Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte (Today: Brain structure and function; formerly: Anatomy and embryology; formerly: Anatomische Hefte). ZMAF: Zeitschrift fur mikroskopische und anatomische Forschung. Z: Zellf: Zeitschrift für Zellforschung und mikroskopische Anatomie.

ZMAF 5:371–462 1926 Patzelt, VVienna, AustriaZum Bau der menschlichen Epidermis??
ZMAF 13:343–3721928Mathis, JInnsbruck, AustriaÜber Sekretionserscheinungen in Drüsenausführungsgängen1?m
ZMAF 18:520–5521929ZimmermannBern, SwitzerlandÜber den Bau des Glomerulus der menschlichen Niere419y,22y,24y,43y/m
ZMAF 20:608–6181930Aunap, EEstland/TartuÜber die intraepithelialen Drüsen der Nasenschleimhaut des Menschen2?
AA 74:21–25 1932 Röhlich, KPécz/HungaryEndoepitheliale Drüsen der Prostata131y/m
ZMAF 34:313– 3291933Baecker, RVienna, AustriaÜber die Muscularis mucosae des menschlichen Darmes1f
ZAE 102(2–3):211–231 1933 Volkmann, RBasel, SwitzerlandMorphologie, Enstehung und Vorkommen des Abnutzungspigmentes im Epithel des menschlichen Plexus chorioideus122y/m
VAG 43:240–2461935Röhlich, KPécz, HungaryBeitrag zur Kenntnis der Kapillarhülsen der Milz231y/?; 34y/?
Z Zellf 24(2/3):320–351936Poska-Teiss, LEstland/TartuEin Beitrag zur Frage des Mesothels. Epikardialmesothel des Menschen125y/m
ZMAF 43:451–4651938Röhlich, KPécs/HungaryÜber die Prostatasekretion231y/m; 35y/m
ZMAF 44:45–551938BergstrandStockholm, SwedenZur Morphologie der quergestreiften Ringbinden135y/m
Z Zellf 28(1):99–1021938BargmannZurich, SwitzerlandÜber die Gitterfasern des Nierenglomerulus des Ductus Epididymis des Menschen1m
ZMAF 50:190–2061941Gentele, H; Swensson, ÅStockholm, SwedenÜber die Kaliberverhältnisse der hinteren Rückenmarkswurzeln beim Menschen130y/m
ZAE 111: 224–2451942MöllendorffZurich, SwitzerlandBeiträge zum Verständnis der Lungenkonstruktion128y/m
AA 95:395–4241944Bucher, OZurich, SwitzerlandÜber den Bau der Blutgefässe des menschlichen Herzens31m, other 2?
ZAE 113(1):180–1861944Faller, AZurich, SwitzerlandDie Oberflächengestaltung des Epithels in den ductuli efferentes des menschlichen Nebenhodenkopfes232y/m;?/m
Z Zellf 33(1–2):289–2981945Faller, AZurich, SwitzerlandÜber den miskroskopisch nachweisbaren Austritt von Kernstoffen in das Zellplasma der Epithelzellen232y/m; ?