Letter to Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark

Barbaric ‘Experiments’ by Nazi Dr. Værnet, War Criminal

The Prime Minister,
Prins Jorgens Gaard 11,
Copenhagen 1218,

16th March, 1998

Dear Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen,

We are writing to request the help of your government to discover the fate of the Nazi doctor, Carl Værnet, who fled to Argentina after the war and was last known to be working in the Buenos Aires public health department in late 1947.

Dr. Værnet was a pro-Nazi Danish citizen who served in the SS, conducting barbaric medical experiments –including castration and forced hormonal implants– on gay concentration camp prisoners at Buchenwald and Neuengamme.

Unlike other Nazi doctors, he was never put on trial at Nuremberg (Nürnberg), and was allowed to flee to Argentina soon after the war was over.

Dr. Værnet’s role in the medical abuse of gay prisoners is documented in the archives at the International Tracing Service at Arolsen (example: ITS Arolsen, book 36, folder 405). It is also cited in the books The Pink Triangle by Richard Plant (Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh 1987) and Hidden Holocaust? by Dr. Günter Grau (Cassell, London 1995).

Dr. Værnet’s gruesome experiments on gay internees are also cited in the German documentary film Wir hatten ein grosses ‘A’ am Bein (We Were Marked With A Big ‘A’), directed by Elke Jeonrond and Joseph Weishaupt, and made for NDR. in 1991 by Mediengruppe Schwabing Filmproduktion.

According to our information, which remains incomplete, at the end of the war Dr. Værnet was interned in the British-run Alsgade Skole prisoner-of-war camp in Copenhagen.

On 29th May 1945, the chairman of the Danish Medical Association sent the Ministry of Justice an affidavit signed by a Danish police officer who had been incarcerated in Buchenwald. This affidavit identified Værnet as having been a serving SS officer. The report from the chairman of the Danish Medical Association was, apparently, ignored by the Justice Ministry in Copenhagen.

In the autumn of 1945, the British handed over Dr. Værnet to the Danish authorities. What these authorities did with him at this stage remains unknown. Was he placed in a Danish prison? Or was he moved to hospital for the treatment of his alleged heart problem? This, too, demands an investigation and an answer.

On 2nd January 1946, the Danish Medical Association received a letter from Dr. Værnet’s lawyer, informing them that he had resigned — apparently in a bid to preempt the Association’s plan to have him struck off for his wartime activities,

It is known that Dr. Værnet was eventually transferred to hospital, on the grounds that he was allegedly suffering from a heart complaint, (which may well have been fictional in order to facilitate his release from detention). When did this transfer take place? Who authorised it? What independent medical report, if any, confirmed his heart condition?

Dr. Værnet is said to have told fellow doctors that his heart trouble could only be treated in Sweden. Astonishingly, despite being accused of perpetrating war crimes, Dr. Værnet was allowed by the Danish authorities to travel to Sweden.

In Sweden, he made contact with the Nazi escape network, which spirited him away to Argentina, probably in late 1946 or early 1947.

On 19th November 1947, the Copenhagen newspaper, Berlingske Tidende, carried a letter from a Danish exile living in Argentina which reported that Dr. Værnet was working in the Buenos Aires health department.

It is our formal request that the Danish government explain:

  • Why was Dr. Værnet never put on trial on charges of war crimes, alongside other Nazi doctors?
  • What explanation is there for the way the Ministry of Justice ignored the serious allegations made by the Danish Medical Association concerning Dr. Værnet’s wartime activities?
  • Who authorised him to leave prison unguarded and attend hospital for treatment without supervision?
  • How did Dr. Værnet –a former Nazi SS officer accused of war crimes– get official permission to travel to Sweden for medical treatment?
  • Was there any disciplinary action taken against those who allowed him to leave prison and go to hospital and, later, to leave Denmark for Sweden?
  • What action has been taken by the Danish government over the last 50 years to track down Dr. Værnet and bring him to trial on charges of crimes against humanity?
  • Is he now dead or alive? If he is still living, what action does the Danish government propose to take to put him on trial?

OutRage! is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of lesbian, gay and bisexual human rights in Britain and worldwide.

Dr. Værnet committed acts which are, according to our understanding of international law, crimes against humanity.

We would greatly appreciate your government’s assistance in discovering Dr. Værnet’s fate. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell