Fatebenefratelli Hospital & Syndrome K.

Initially Italy was an ally of Germany and the other axis powers. during World War 2.

By 1943, Italy’s military position had become untenable. Axis forces in North Africa were finally defeated in the Tunisia Campaign in early 1943. Italy suffered major setbacks on the Eastern Front as well. The Allied invasion of Sicily brought the war to the nation’s very doorstep. The Italian home front was also in bad shape as the Allied bombings were taking their toll. Factories all over Italy were brought to a virtual standstill because raw materials, such as coal and oil, were lacking. Additionally, there was a chronic shortage of food, and what food was available was being sold at nearly confiscatory prices. Mussolini’s once-ubiquitous propaganda machine lost its grip on the people; a large number of Italians turned to Vatican Radio or Radio London for more accurate news coverage.

In July 1943, Allied troops landed in Sicily. Mussolini was overthrown and imprisoned by his former colleagues in the Fascist government. The Italian king replaced Mussolini as prime minister with Marshal Pietro Badoglio.

On September 8, 1943, Badoglio announced Italy’s unconditional surrender to the Allies. The Germans, who had grown suspicious of Italian intentions, quickly occupied northern and central Italy.

The 450-year-old Fatebenefratelli Hospital which is situated on a tiny island in the middle of Rome’s Tiber River, just across from the Jewish Ghetto. When Nazis raided the area on Oct. 16, 1943, a handful of Jews fled to the Catholic hospital, where they were quickly given case files reading “Syndrome K.”

The name Syndrome K came from Dr. Adriano Ossicini, an anti-Fascist physician working at the hospital who knew they needed a way for the staff to differentiate which people were actually patients and which were Jews in hiding. Inventing a fake disease cut out all the confusion, when a doctor came in with a “Syndrome K” patient, everyone working there knew which steps to take. “Syndrome K was put on patient papers to indicate that the sick person wasn’t sick at all, but Jewish.

The name Syndrome K not only alerted hospital staff that the “patients” were actually Jewish refugees in good health but also served as a jab to their oppressors, specifically, Albert Kesselring and Herbert Kappler. Kesselring was a Nazi defensive strategist and the commander responsible for the Italian occupation, while Kappler was an SS colonel.

Hidden away in a separate ward of the facility, those “infected” with Syndrome K were instructed to cough and act sick in front of Nazi soldiers as they investigated Fatebenefratelli. The patients were said to be highly contagious, deterring Nazi officials from coming anywhere near the quarters they were being kept in. Nazi officials became terrified of contracting the mysterious illness, steering clear at all costs.

Credited mainly to doctors Sacerdoti, Borromeo, and Ossicini, the operation was only made possible with the help of the entire staff, who played along with the plan, knowing exactly what to do when confronted with an incoming patient diagnosed with Syndrome K..

“The Nazis thought it was cancer or tuberculosis, and they fled like rabbits,” Vittorio Sacerdoti, a Jewish doctor working at the hospital under a false name, told the BBC in 2004. Another doctor orchestrating the life-saving lie was surgeon Giovani Borromeo.

Initially, the hospital was used as a hospice on the premises of the San Giovanni Calibita Church. Later, it was expanded into a modern hospital by Dr. Giovanni Borromeo, who joined in 1934, with the help of Father Maurizio Bialek.

Besides Fr. Maurizio and Borromeo, other doctors on staff assisted the Jewish patients and helped to move them to safer hideouts outside the hospital. In May 1944, the hospital was raided and five Jews from Poland were detained. However, the ruse saved dozens of lives.

Fr. Maurizio and Borromeo also installed an illegal radio transmitter in the hospital basement and made contact with General Roberto Lordi of the Italian Royal Air Force. After World War II, Borromeo was lauded by Government of Italy for his work and was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. He died in the hospital on 24 August 1961.

If only one person in the Hospital, be it patient or staff, had reported it to the Nazis, then without a shadow of a doubt, all of them would have been killed.

The combined efforts of Sacerdoti, Borromeo, Ossicini, and the entire hospital staff were only revealed 60 years later, and Borromeo specifically was recognized by the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in October 2004, not only for his work with Syndrome K, but for transferring Jewish patients to the hospital from the ghetto long before the occupation of the Nazis.

The Fatebenefratelli Hospital was recognized as a shelter for victims of Nazi persecution, and was named a “House of Life” in June, 2016. The ceremony was attended by Ossicini, 96-years-old at the time, along with some of the very people that his heroic efforts had helped save six decades before.

Fatebenefratelli survivors embrace during a reunion at the hospital on June 21, 2016

Sources

https://qz.com/724169/an-italian-doctor-explains-syndrome-k-the-fake-disease-he-invented-to-save-jews-from-the-nazis/

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/93650/syndrome-k-fake-disease-fooled-nazis-and-saved-lives

https://allthatsinteresting.com/syndrome-k

Donation

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The execution of 5 physicians.

Trial

June 2,1948 was one of those rare days where justice was actually carried out. So many who were instrumental in the murder of millions during the Holocaust, did either serve no time or very little, leave alone receiving death sentences. Even many of those who did receive a death sentence had their sentence reduced.

But on this day 72 years ago 5 Nazi physicians were hanged. I will not waste too much time on these 5 so called Doctors I will only go into the crimes they were charged with during the ‘United States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al. aka Doctor’s Trial’  and some of their final words.

Karl Brandt

kb

1.Conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity as described in counts 2 and 3;
2.War crimes: performing medical experiments, without the subjects’ consent, on prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, in the course of which experiments the defendants committed murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhuman acts. Also planning and performing the mass murder of prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, stigmatized as aged, insane, incurably ill, deformed, and so on, by gas, lethal injections, and diverse other means in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums during the Euthanasia Program and participating in the mass murder of concentration camp inmates;
3.Crimes against humanity: committing crimes described under count 2 also on German nationals;
4.Membership in a criminal organization, the SS. The charges against him included special responsibility for, and participation in, Freezing, Malaria, LOST Gas, Sulfanilamide, Bone, Muscle and Nerve Regeneration and Bone Transplantation, Sea-Water, Epidemic Jaundice, Sterilization, and Typhus Experiments.

His final words

“It is no shame to stand upon the scaffold. This is nothing but political revenge. I have served my Fatherland as others before me.” he went on with his speech but at that stage a hood was placed over his head.While he still was talking he was hanged.

Wolfram Sievers

WS

Wolfran Sievers was charged with being a member of an organization declared criminal by the International Military Tribunal (the SS), and was implicated in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In his defense, he alleged that as early as 1933, he had been a member of an anti-Nazi resistance movement which planned to assassinate Hitler and Himmler.

 

Waldemar Hoven

wh

Guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and membership in a criminal organization. Special responsibility of typhus and other vaccine experiments in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Viktor Brack

vb

During the Doctors’ trial, Brack was convicted of murder of victims in the T4 Euthanasia Program. The program was later applied under secret order “Action 14f13”; the extermination of those concentration camp inmates deemed unable to work.  Additionally to his crimes in the T4 program he also devised the plan of sterilizing young and strong Jews they were being  sterilized without being aware of the process. It was done by using X Ray radiation . These young man were used in forced labour.

Karl Gebhardt

kARL G

He was personal physician to Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler and President of the German Red Cross. He was responsible for medical and surgical experiments on prisoners in the concentration camps at Ravensbrück  and Auschwitz. In Ravensbrück he carried out a series of experiments on Ravensbrück concentration camp prisoners, breaking their legs and infecting them with various organisms in order to prove the worthlessness of the drugs in treating gas gangrene. basically to proof Himmler wrong.He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity

In total there were 23 defendants at the Doctor’s Trial but only these 5 men received the death sentence and were all hanged on June 2, 1948. They had an easier death then their vicctims.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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sources

https://web.archive.org/web/20071013160628/http://ushmm.org/research/doctors/persons.htm

http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu/documents/11-brief-prosecution-closing-brief?q=*#p.7

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/nazi-doctor-victor-brack-on-trial

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/defendant-karl-brandt-testifies-during-the-doctors-trial

Wikipedia

http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu/documents/4134-extract-from-testimony-of-karl?q=karl+brandt#p.3