Hans Grebe

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Hans Werner Eduard Grebe (born August 25, 1913 in Frankfurt am Main ; † December 22, 1999 in Frankenberg (Eder) ) was a German internist , racial hygienist and sports doctor . It is possible that he was researching specimens that his former colleague Josef Mengele sent from Auschwitz . In 1944, Grebe was appointed as one of the youngest professors in Nazi Germany to a chair in genetic biology and racial hygiene at the University of Rostock . After the Second World War he became one of the most prominent German sports doctors.


Childhood and youth

The son of a teacher grew up with his grandparents in Immenhausen from 1914 to 1919 , graduated from the " Musterschule " high school in Frankfurt am Main and became a member of the Frankfurt gymnastics and sports community "Eintracht" while still a student . After graduating from high school in 1931, he studied sport and medicine in Berlin. In 1934 he acquired the license to teach sport and physical medicine. In 1936 he passed the medical state examination. His brother was the lung specialist and sanatorium manager Hermann Grebe, born in Immenhausen in 1909.

Career in National Socialism

Grebe had joined National Socialism early on . In 1931 he joined the NS student union , in April 1933 the NSDAP (membership number 1,808,677) and the SA (member of a medical storm ), in 1937 the NSDÄB and the German Sports Medical Association . Since 1933 he was military sports leader of the medical faculty of the University of Frankfurt . In 1934/35 he did voluntary military service.

Grebe made a steep career. After completing his doctorate with Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer with a dissertation on hereditary blindness, he became an assistant doctor at the Pathological Institute of the University of Frankfurt and in the II. Internal Department of the Berlin Horst Wessel Hospital under Heinrich Otto Kalk . In 1937 he became assistant to Verschuer at the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene at the University of Frankfurt am Main . Like his colleagues, he also prepared race and parentage reports within the framework of the Nazi race laws .

In September 1939 Grebe was drafted into the Wehrmacht . As a troop doctor with the infantry , he took part in the French campaign and received the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class. In 1942 he was dismissed as unfit for war after being seriously wounded in Russia . He became Verschuer's assistant again, meanwhile at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics (KWI-A) in Berlin-Dahlem and lecturer in racial hygiene.

Grebe completed his habilitation in 1942 on the hereditary nature of chondrodysplasia (short stature). He had already started his investigations in 1938 with a circular to the German health authorities . He personally visited the reported dwarfs and their relatives and carried out clinical and radiological examinations. Those affected sometimes fiercely resisted the examinations, which sometimes had to be enforced by a procedure under the law for the prevention of genetically ill offspring . If it was in line with his results, Grebe also spoke out against sterilization . He visited a total of 118 families and recorded a total of 9,350 people on clan boards. Due to the war, the manuscript could not be published until 1956, albeit largely unchanged.

At the KWI-A, Grebe played a key role in the field of genetic pathology. He created a new focus for the differential diagnosis of congenital malformations at the KWI-A. Grebe may have been working with preparations from concentration camps . When prisoners with deformed bones and abnormal limbs were murdered in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp , Grebe had been working in the reception center of the KWI-A "Haus am See" in Beetz , not far from Sachsenhausen, since September 1943 . In addition, another former assistant to Verschuer, Josef Mengele , sent specimens from dwarfs from the Auschwitz concentration camp to the KWI-A in Berlin.

Other research projects by Grebe dealt with "racial hygiene", the heredity of stillbirths and the hereditary disposition to the pneumonia . With Hans Nachtsheim he worked on a hereditary biological dictionary until it was ready for printing. After the war, the proofs were still with the Thieme publishing house , but the Soviet military government refused permission to print.

In October 1944 Grebe was appointed professor and director of the new "Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene" at the University of Rostock. In 1944/45 he was still the leader of the entertainment lecturers .

Internist and sports doctor

In the summer of 1945 Grebe established himself as a general practitioner in Frankenberg. In the denazification process , he was classified as exonerated by the local court in 1948. It is true that between 1952 and 1972 he was teaching human genetics at the University of Marburg . But he distinguished himself primarily as a sports doctor. In 1949 he was one of the founders of the Sports Medical Association of Hesse, was initially its secretary and from 1954 to 1974 first chairman. In 1955 he became a member of the “World Council for Sport and Physical Education” of UNESCO . In 1957 he was elected President of the German Sports Medical Association , an office he held until 1960. From 1958 he was Vice President of the Medical Commission of the International Amateur Boxing Association and from 1958 to 1976 President of the Medical Commission of the German Amateur Boxing Association . During this time he was the highest-ranking German boxing doctor. From 1970 Grebe was a member of the supervisory board of the Cardiovascular Center Rotenburg an der Fulda .

1983 Grebe handed over his practice to his son Wolfgang. From then on he worked primarily as a writer and became a member of the Federal Association of German Doctors of Writers. He published around 75 fiction books, which were mainly published in small publishers. In 1990 he received the District Administrator Heinrich Kohl Prize of the FDP Waldeck-Frankenberg.

Publications (selection)

  • The frequency of hereditary and non-hereditary causes of blindness. Berlin 1938.
  • On the question of field suitability for night blindness. In: Der Deutsche Militärarzt 5 (1940), p. 456 f.
  • The Sports Doctors Congress, Frankfurt / Main 1953. Lectures and presentations . Frankfurt / Main 1954.
  • Sports in twins . In: Acta geneticae medicae et gemellologiae 4 (1955), pp. 275-285.
  • Chondrodysplasia. In: Acta geneticae medicae et gemellologiae Volume 5 (1956).
  • The biological basis of athletic performance. Frankfurt am Main 1956
  • The health value of sport . Kiel: State Sports Association Schleswig-Holstein (lecture on the occasion of the ceremony for the State Sports Association Day, 1961).
  • Experiences in Frankenberg. Frankenberg (Eder) 1983.
  • Perfect world. Verses for the protection of our nature. Self-published, Frankenberg 1983.
  • The bad boxers. Doctor Boxing thoughts. Frankenberg 1985.
  • Our time. Reflections and experiences in our century. Frankenberg 1987
  • Belgian impressions. Frankenberg 1990
  • Youth in Frankfurt. Archive for Frankfurt's History and Art, Frankfurt 1993
  • As a sports doctor. Experiences and experiences. Frankenberg 1993
  • with Hermann Grebe: childhood and youth in Immenhausen. Memories. Immenhausen 1995
  • What shapes us humans. A life aid. Frankfurt (Main) 1996.

See also


  • Michael Buddrus , Sigrid Fritzlar: The professors of the University of Rostock in the Third Reich. A biographical lexicon. Munich 2007.
  • A. Hartmann: Prof. Dr. med. Hans Grebe - 85 years. In: German magazine for sports medicine 49 (1998), p. 322f.
  • Ernst Klee : German Medicine in the Third Reich. Careers before and after 1945. Frankfurt a. M. 2001.
  • Ernst Klee : The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich . Who was what before and after 1945 . 2nd Edition. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8 .
  • Benno Müller-Hill : Deadly Science. The singling out of Jews, Gypsies and the mentally ill 1933–1945. Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1984, pp. 157-162
  • Hans-Walter Schmuhl : Crossing borders. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics 1927-1945 , Wallstein Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-89244-799-3 (History of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society under National Socialism, Volume 9)
  • Alexander von Schwerin: Experimentalization of Man. The geneticist Hans Nachtsheim and the comparative hereditary pathology 1920–1945. Göttingen 2004.
  • Matthias Thoma: "We were the Juddebube": Eintracht Frankfurt in the Nazi era . Frankfurt 2007.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andreas Mettenleiter : Personal reports, memories, diaries and letters from German-speaking doctors. Supplements and supplements II (A – H). In: Würzburg medical history reports. 21, 2002, pp. 490-518; P. 509
  2. ^ Hermann and Hans Grebe: Childhood and youth in Immenhausen. Memories. , Working Group for History and Homeland Care, Immenhausen 1995
  3. Schmuhl, Border Crossing , p. 464
  4. Schmuhl, Grenzüberreitungen , pp. 374–383.