The Reich Health Office under National Socialism - an Exhibition

The exhibition "The Reich Health Office under National Socialism" was originally put together by the members of the Public Service and Transport Union (ÖTV) group in the Federal Health Office (BGA) to provide information to staff members. After the dissolution of the BGA in 1994 the exhibition was integrated into the Historical Collection of the Federal Institute for Consumer Health Protection and Veterinary Medicine (BgVV) in order to make it accessible to the general public on a permanent basis.

The exhibition (in German) can be lent out. It has already been shown on a number of public occasions. It is also suitable as illustrative material for schools that are studying National Socialism as part of their curricula.

The Exhibition
The focus of the exhibition is on "Gypsy research". In 1935 the “Racial hygiene and human biology department” was set up within the Reich Health Office. Under its director Robert Ritter it officially paved the way for the killing and sterilisation of thousands of Sinti and Roma.

Two exhibition boards are devoted to another dark chapter in the Institution’s history: human experiments in Buchenwald concentration camp. 158 people fell victim to “scientific experiments” when a typhus vaccine was tested on concentration camp inmates.

Accompanying material

  • “The Reich Health Office under National Socialism - Human Experiments and ‘Gypsy Research’ between 1933 and 1945”
    The free-of-charge brochure (in German) describes the exhibition.
  • A free-of-charge accompanying brochure provides information on the intentions behind the exhibition and how it came into being.
  • Bundesgesundheitsblatt: “The Reich Health Office 1933-1945 - an Exhibition”.
    The special brochure (in German) published in 1989 contains extensive background material and interviews with witnesses of the times. It is free of charge.
  • In 1993 the pupils Robert Schröder and Piere Veenhuis submitted an extensive contribution “About the work of the ‘Racial hygiene and human biology research department’ in the Reich Health Office Berlin/Dahlem” as an entry in the school competition “German History” on the subject of “Memorials - Remembrance, Warnings, Nuisances”. A copy can be consulted at BfR.

    The sixteen-year-old pupils wanted to throw light on this subject and to have a plaque mounted on the wall of the Federal Health Office “to commemorate the victims of the genocide on the Sinti and Roma”.

Memorial plaque
In December 1995 a commemorative plaque was officially mounted for the Sinti and Roma at the Institute’s Dahlem location. The ceremony was attended by the Chairman of the Berlin Sinti Union, Otto Rosenberg, who died on 4 July 2001.

Hire of the Exhibition

The exhibition is lent out by the BfR Press Office.

Insurance cover is required. Transport has to be organised by the person hiring the exhibition.

Please send inquiries to:
BfR Press Office
Thielallee 88-92
14195 Berlin
Tel.: +(49)-(0)30-8412-4877
Fax: +(49)-(0)30-8412-4970

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