Dr. August Hirt was an ambitious medical practitioner (one of his discoveries, a type of fluoroscopy, is still in use today) who hitched his star to the Nazi war machine by cultivating a connection with Ahnenherbe ( the society known as "Ancestral Heritage") and its chief executive, SS-Standartenführer Wolfram Sievers, a man who was brought up for his racial crimes and sentenced to death at Nuremburg, along with SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Brandt, of the personal staff of SS Reichsführer Himmler.
According to Jean-Claude Pressac, he "unceasingly gave his entire support to Professor Hirt's proposal, quoted in document NO-085 of the 9 February 1942 (Brandt to Sievers, 27 February 1942, No-090; Himmler directive to the Ahnenherbe, 7 July 1942, No-089). Sievers and Brandt were found guilty of this charge of murdering Jews, for the constitution of a skeleton collection at Strasbourg, by the Allied Military Tribunal at Nueremberg and were hanged.
Hirt, who had originated the idea for this project, instigated its approval, and overseen the construction of the gas chamber and the gassings at Natzweiler from his position as Professor of Anatomy at the University of Strasbourg, (which had been overtaken and made into a Reichsuniversität) disappeared and was never found. Some say he committed suicide; others that he escaped to the Americas; others that he is buried in a cemetery in a southern state in the US.
Caution: the next image is graphic:
Some of the bodies were left whole, others were not. As the prisoners had been brought from Auschwitz to be gassed, the Auschwitx number tattoos are visible in some of the photographs.
Besides the murders of Jews in the gas chambers at Natzweiler, there occurred lethal experiments involving the gassing of Gypsies in experiments by Drs. Haagen and Bickenbach to explore the efficacy of "antidotes" to exposure to mustard gas.
This man, photographed outside the gas chamber during a return visit to Natzweiler after the war, said he was a survivor of one of those experiments.
His experience is described in a statement published in Le Camp de Concentration du Struthof: Konzentrationslager Natzweiler: Témoignages, edited by Jean Simon, published by Essor, Schirmeck, 1998.