These events were two years apart; however all were deranged activities under the Nazi Program.

On May 21, 1940, a “special unit” carries out its mission-and murders more than 1,500 hospital patients in East Prussia.  Mentally ill patients from throughout East Prussia had been transferred to the district of Soldau, also in East Prussia.


A special military unit, basically a hit squad, carried out its agenda and killed the patients over an 18-day period, one small part of the larger Nazi program to exterminate everyone deemed “unfit” by its ideology. After the murders, the unit reported back to headquarters in Berlin that the patients had been “successfully evacuated.”


On May 21, 1942, 4,300 Jews are deported from the Polish town of Chelm to the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor, where all are gassed to death. On the same day, the German firm IG Farben sets up a factory just outside Auschwitz, in order to take advantage of Jewish slave laborers from the Auschwitz concentration camps.

anp - plattegrond sobibor

Sobibor had five gas chambers, where about 250,000 Jews were killed between 1942 and 1943. A camp revolt occurred in October 1943; 300 Jewish slave laborers rose up and killed several members of the SS as well as Ukrainian guards. The rebels were killed as they battled their captors or tried to escape. The remaining prisoners were executed the very next day.

1941, IG Farben's plant of Buna + Montan, near Auschwitz"

1941, IG Farben’s plant of Buna + Montan, near Auschwitz”

IG Farben, as well as exploiting Jewish slave labor for its oil and rubber production, also performed drug experiments on inmates. Tens of thousands of prisoners would ultimately die because of brutal work conditions and the savagery of the guards. Several of the firm’s officials would be convicted of “plunder,” “spoliation of property,” “imposing slave labor,” and “inhumane treatment” of civilians and POWs after the war. The company itself came under Allied control. The original goal was to dismantle its industries, which also included the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, so as to prevent it from ever posing a threat “to Germany’s neighbors or to world peace.” But as time passed, the resolve weakened, and the Western powers broke the company up into three separate divisions.  You are likely familiar with these today: Hoechst (now Aventis Deutschland), Bayer, and BASF.


Related post – Aspirin patented by Bayer


3 responses

  1. Birgit says:

    A very powerful post today. Some people know of the more famous dates like June 6th and Dec 7th and far, far fewer know about this. I knew that the nazis exterminated people whom they deemed unfit like people in mental institutions but I was not aware of this specific date and what occurred in East Prussia. It is sad how Bayer was part of all this horror but most companies were back then. Excellent to read about this and all your posts


    • Thanks. I think it was hard to not follow the government if you were a business trying to survive and to me how much Shindlers good deeds were because of how much danger he could get into for helping the Jews escape.