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The SS Medical Academy was founded in 1937 in Berlin to train active duty medical officers for the armed units of the SS and Police.
It was first established in a rented house on the Friederichsstrasse. At the beginning it had 20 SS medical officer candidates who did most of their studying at the University of Berlin. The first commander of the Academy (from 1937 to 1939) was SS-Stubaf. Dr. Jencio.
Library of the SS Medical Academy at Graz
Ski training class from the academy
In the fall of 1940, the institute was relocated to Graz, Austria and took over the former state institution for the deaf and dumb at Rosenbergguertel 12. A number of candidates at the academy came from the regular army, the navy and the air force. Upon graduating they would be transferred into the SS-VT, the SS- TV and the German Police. Waffen-SS candidates first had to graduate from a SS Junkerschule with the rank of Untersturmführer before they could attend the SS Medical Academy. In the early years there weren’t too many of these since the Waffen- SS officer’s corps was still in its infancy and the newly formed field units needed every available officer.
All members of the academy (including staff) were issued the cuff-title "SS-Artzliche Akademie,” to be worn while they were at the institute. Guest medical lecturers (from the University of Graz), frequented the academy, though they appeared in civilian dress. After completing an initial physician’s training course, the students moved on to a second clinical training course. After this a state medical exam was administered the those who passed were promoted to Obersturmführer and permitted to go on to other universities to study the specialty of their choice.
Lectures and discussions at the academy were held on medical subjects as well as on politics, art and related topics. Freedom of speech was permitted and encouraged. Some of the wide-ranging evening discussion groups were personally led by the head of the Waffen-SS Medical Services, Dr. Genske or by the commander of the academy.
The outbreak of war drastically affected the SS Medical Academy, and changed part of its mission to one of transforming civilian doctors into military doctors. At different times in 1940 and 1941, the first academy graduates who were continuing their training at different universities were called up to serve as combat platoon leaders in frontline Waffen-SS units. As a result, fully 12% of the academy graduates were killed in action during the war.
The academy training courses were designed to run as follows:
5 semesters in preliminary training.
21/2 years in clinical training.
Once these classes were completed and the medical exam was passed, and various university studies were finished, the academy graduate was expected to practice for one year at a SS hospital. It was estimated that it would take 8 to 81/2 years to turn out a properly trained Waffen-SS military physician. Of course, the academy itself never lasted that long!
During pre-clinical training there was time set aside for ambulance/truck driving instruction and sports practice. Horsemanship was also taught. For the first two semesters a fencing master was on hand to teach the rudiments of that sport. Since medical officers would be required to treat enemy and "allied” wounded, courses in the French, English, Italian and Russian languages were taught by military interpreters.
In the clinical training period, courses were held in medical techniques, troop hygiene, new medical developments and medical officer duties. During this phase the majority of trainees remained active in sports and military proficiency programs.
The academy contained the following personnel positions:
1) Commander and adjutant.
2) Two administrative officers (paymasters).
3) Two training class leaders/instructors.
4) Thirty staff employees who served as clerks, drivers, ordnance personnel and horse handlers.
5) One hundred medical officer candidates, although in general there were only about 80 on hand at any given time.
Since the number of Waffen-SS medical officers was never sufficient during the war, civilian doctors had to be called up. They received special military-medical training through a SS Medical Reserve Officer course that was held at the academy. This was perhaps the most valuable mission that the academy performed, since once finishing their course the civilian doctors were quickly placed into the Waffen-SS medical services.
The SS Medical Academy remained in Graz until almost the end of the war. It was dissolved shortly before the "Allied” occupation of the city. In recent years, half of the old academy building has once again been used as a treatment center for the deaf and dumb, while the other half has serviced the III. Surgical Detachment of the State Hospital in Graz.
Commanding Officers of the SS Medical Academy:
Dr. H. Jencio, 1937-1939 in Berlin
Dr. K.P. Mueller, 1939 to April 1942.
Dr. Kaether (medical lecturer)
Dr. Edmund Schlink to the end of the war.
Temporary Commander Between the Tenures of the Regular Commanders: Dr. Mittelberger, missing in Budapest, 1945.
Dr. Siegfried Libau in Berlin
Dr. von Lycken
Dr. Werner Kleinknecht
Dr. Egon Skalka, himself a member of a training course at the school. Later chief medical officer of the 10th SS Panzer Div. "Hohenstaufen.”
Dr. Gottlieb Zrubecki
Training Course Instructors:
Dr. Hans Himmler
Dr. Hans Foerster
Dr. Gottlieb (lecturer)
Dr. Walter Poeschel
Dr. Philipp Reich
Administrative Officers: (All at Graz)