Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 1 : Report of the Medical Commission to Examine Gustav Krupp
Previous Document Volume 1 Contents Next Document


7 November 1945

We, the undersigned, during the morning of 6 November 1945, examined the patient, identified as Gustav Krupp von Bohlen by the military authorities in charge, in the presence of his wife and nurse.

We unanimously agree that the patient was suffering from: Senile softening of the brain, selectively affecting the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex and the corpus striatum, due to vascular degeneration.

It is our unanimous, considered, professional opinion that the mental condition of the patient, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen, is such that he is incapable of understanding court procedure, and of understanding or cooperating in interrogation.

The physical state of the patient is such that he cannot be moved without endangering his life.

We are of the considered opinion that his condition is unlikely to improve, but rather to deteriorate even further.

Therefore, we unanimously believe that he will never be fit, mentally or physically, to appear before the International Military Tribunal.

Brigadier, O.B.E., M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.P.
Consulting Physician, British Army of the Rhine
M.D., Professor of the Paris Faculty of Medicine;
Expert of the Tribunal
Professor of Medicine, Medical Institute of.Moscow
Chief Internist, Commissariat of Public Health, U.S.S.R.
Emeritus Professor of Neurology, Medical Institute of Moscow
Member, Academy of Medical Sciences, U.S.S.R
M. D., Professor of Psychiatry, Medical Institute of Moscow
Major, Medical Corps
Neuropsychiatrist, Army of the United States

Report of the Medical Examination of Herr Gustav Krupp von Bohlen

1. History: The following information was obtained by questioning Frau Krupp von Bohlen, wife of the patient, Herr Krupp's valet, and Frl. Krone, private secretary of the patient.

The patient had been physically a very active man. He hunted, rode and played tennis. With the aid of guides, he was hunting deer as recently as 1943. He was abstemious in his personal habits, did not smoke or partake of alcohol. He retired to bed early, rarely remaining up after 2200 hours. He had eight children, six sons and two daughters. There is no family history of mental disorder or of drug addiction.

Previous Illness: There is no history of any major illness. Since 1930, he has taken spa treatment each year for arthritis of the spine and for hypotension. No radiographs were available to indicate the true pathology of the spinal condition. The valet stated that the patient, on the recommendation of his physicians, had been very careful with his diet during the past ten years.

Present Illness: For several years, the patient had been subject to giddy attacks. In consequence, his wife was always anxious when he went hunting, lest he should have an attack whilst on the edge of a cliff, and fall and kill himself. Two reliable guides always accompanied him on his hunting excursions, and in 1942 Frau Krupp also joined in expeditions in order to watch him.

Four years ago, the patient had a disturbance of Vision primarily due to dysfunction of the eye muscles. For a period he had double vision. From this illness, he made an apparent complete recovery.

Two years ago he had a stroke, with weakness of the left side of the face, and impaired function of the right side of the body. Following the latter incident, impairment of gait, general weakness, and impairment of mental functions became increasingly apparent. From the middle of 1944 onwards, the patient became more and more dependent upon his wife; she was the only person who seemed to understand fully his speech and his needs.

On November 25th, 1944, he was proceeding from the garden towards the house, and suddenly seemed to run (propulsion gait). Just before reaching the house, he fell and injured his arm. As a result of this accident, he attended the local hospital for treatment, traveling by motor-car.

On December 4th, whilst traveling to the hospital at Schwarzach-St. Veith, and asleep in the back of the car, the driver was compelled to swerve to avoid another vehicle, and to brake suddenly. Herr Krupp von Bohlen was thrown forward, and hit his forehead and the bridge of the nose against a metal rail behind the driver's seat. He did not lose consciousness, but his condition was such that he was detained in the hospital for approximately eight weeks. During his stay in the hospital, he recognized his wife, his relatives and the members of his staff, and spoke to them, albeit haltingly.

Since the accident mentioned above, the general condition of the patient has deteriorated rapidly. The members of his staff had increasing difficulty in understanding him. At first, with the aid of two people, he was able to walk a few steps; until two months ago he sat for short periods in a chair. The assistance of men-servants was necessary for this task. He has been incontinent of feces and urine since returning from the hospital in February 1945. Since this date he has only spoken an occasional single word, the words being simple ones and without any rational association, apart from sporadic expletives, such as "Ach, Gott" and "Donner Wetter", when disturbed. At times he has been exceedingly irritable and on occasions has had inexplicable bouts of weeping. During the past two months, he has become increasingly apathetic, and no longer recognized relatives or friends. Frau Von Bohlen thinks he may still recognize her as a familiar face, but he exhibits no emotional reaction to her presence. She thinks he realizes occasionally that strangers are in the room; e. g., members of the Allied services, and responds by being very tense.

Frl. Krone, secretary to the patient, stated that on returning to Bluhbach in September 1944, after an absence since May 1944, she could no longer take down letters as dictated by Krupp von Bohlen. Normally he was a very punctilious man, and his diction and writing were correct and very precise. She stated that after September 1944 there were frequent interruptions in his flow of ideas, his syntax was faulty, and he occasionally did not appear to appreciate the . meaning of certain words. She would get an idea of what he wanted to say, and then wrote the letter herself in accordance with what she understood to be his wishes. His hand-writing also became increasingly illegible, and he had difficulty in signing his name when giving power of attorney to his relatives in January 1945.

The valet had been personal valet to Krupp for 20 years, and traveled all over the world with him. He described his master as a very active man, physically and mentally, extremely punctilious in all personal details. He took a great interest in his clothes, and was very observant of any slight defect. In his personal habits he was abstemious, never taking alcohol, and was also a non-smoker. Although a very excellent sportsman and physically capable of considerable feats of endurance when hunting, playing tennis or climbing, he never overdid things and took care of himself without in any way being overanxious about his health. The valet first began to notice serious changes in the patient's personal habits two years ago, although in the valet's opinion, he had been failing slightly for about four to five years. The degree of change, however, prior to two years ago, was so slight and his master was in his opinion such a "superman", that the changes would not have been apparent to the casual observer. Two years ago he began to lose interest in the details of his personal clothing and to become careless with his table manners. For instance, when soup was served to him one day, he took his soup-spoon and used it to take water from his wine-glass. Latterly, he would sit at table and ask who was present, although the only people in the room were intimate members of his family. He would complain that the telephone bell was ringing, and of people speaking to him; these hallucinations became more frequent during the latter part of 1944. The valet was employed as caretaker of the main house by the American Military Government after the cessation of hostilities in Europe, and did not see his employer regularly after June 1945. On August 7, 1945, the occasion of Gustav Krupp von Bohlen's birthday, he called to pay his respects, and for the first time he was not recognized, and his master showed no appreciation of his presence or his conversation.

2. General Appearance: The patient was lying rigidly in bed in a Parkinsonian position with fine tremors of the jaw and hands. The skin was atrophic and dry, and there was pigmentation of the dorsum of the hands. The temporal arteries were prominent and tortuous. The face was masklike, with dilated venules over the cheeks. There was evidence of considerable wasting of the body tissues, especially in the extremities, which also showed evidence of trophic and acrocyanotic changes.

3. Neuropsychiatric Examination: The patient lay in bed with a masklike face and in a fixed position on his back. The legs were partially flexed, and similarly the elbows, the latter being pressed firmly against the trunk. There was generalized muscular rigidity, due to hypertenus of an extra-pyramidal tract lesion.

On the physicians' entering the room, the patient fixed his gaze on them, and replied to their greeting with "Guten Tag," and gave his hand when they offered theirs to him. He shook hands normally, but he could not relax his hold or remove his hand, and continued to squeeze the physician's hand. This was due to the presence of a forced grasp-reflex, which was more marked in the left than in the right hand. When asked how he felt, he replied "Gut," but to all further questions he gave no reply at all. He was silent and showed no reaction to, or comprehension of, other questions, and simple commands, such as "Open your mouth," "Put out your tongue," "Look this way." Only painful and disagreeable stimuli produced any reaction, and then it was merely a facial expression of discontent, sometimes accompanied by grunts of disapproval.

The disturbance of verbal response was not due to dysarthria, because the patient was able to pronounce such words as he did use, quite distinctly. Neither was it due to motor aphasia, because the few words he used were used correctly, and he never exhibited the jargon responses of the true aphasic when attempting to answer questions.

The patient was indifferent, apathetic, and was not in good rapport with the external world, lacked initiative, exhibited paucity of emotion. He uttered no spontaneous speech, and his reaction to painful stimuli was primitive.

Neurological examination showed the following additional abnormal findings: There was a right facial weakness of a supranuclear origin. The pupils reacted promptly to light, and appeared normal, save that the left was slightly larger than the right. Ophthalmoscopic examination of the funda, limited by lack of cooperation from the patient, showed clear media and normal retina and retinal vessels. The right disc, the only one visualized, appeared normal. Extra-ocular movements could not be tested; there was no obvious strabismus. All deep reflexes in the arms and legs were present and very brisk. Clonus was not elicited. The planter reflexes were flexor. Abdominal reflexes were absent, except for the right upper. There was incontinence of urine and feces, of the type associated with senile dementia. There was an associated minimal degree of intertrigo. Owing to lack of cooperation of the patient a full sensory examination could not be made, but the patient responded to pin-Frick, deep pressure and muscular movement throughout the body.

4. Cardio-vascular Examination: Pulse: Rate 100, rhythm irregular. The irregularity was due to extra-systoles. The radial arteries were just palpable, without evidence of pathological thickening or tortuosity. Blood pressure: systolic 130 mm. of mercury, diastolic 80 mm. Of mercury.

Heart: The heart was clinically not enlarged. The cardiac sounds were feeble, there was no accentuation of the second sound in the aortic area, nor were any cardiac murmurs audible. There were no vascular changes observable in the vessels of the funda. There was no evidence of cedema or of congestive heart failure.

5. Respiratory Examination: Chest movement satisfactory. There was no impairment of percussion noted. Auscultation revealed no impairment of air entry, no alteration in the breath sounds, and the absence of any adventitious sounds.

6. Alimentary-renal Examination: There was slight distention of the abdomen, due to increase in the gaseous content of the intestines. There was no evidence of ascites. The spleen was not palpable, nor was there any evidence of glandular enlargement. The liver was just palpable, one finger's breadth below the right costar margin, but there was no evidence of enlargement upwards. Urinalysis: no sugar or albumen present.

7. Skeletal Examination: The patient's rigidity limited the examination of joints. There was limitation of movement of the neck due to muscular hypertonus. The hypertonus was so marked in the lower dorsal and lumbar region as to produce rigidity of the spine. Attempts to move the joints passively stimulated involuntary contractures of the muscles. There was evidence of crepitus in both knee-joints.


The clinical record presented by this patient is that of an organic cerebral disorder, with predominant involvement of the frontal lobes and basal ganglia. The mental disintegration of the patient renders him incapable of comprehending his environment, and of reacting normally to it. He remains uniformly apathetic and disinterested, intellectually retarded to a very marked degree, and shows no evidence of spontaneous activity.

The above findings are such as are found in the degenerative changes associated with senility. The findings in the visceral organs are likewise compatible with the diagnosis of senile degeneration.

The clinical course, from the evidence obtained, has been that of a gradual decline over a period of years, with more rapid deterioration during the past year. Such deterioration will continue, and would be rapidly accelerated, with immediate danger to the patient's life, were he to be moved from his present location.


Senile degeneration of the brain tissues, selectively affecting the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex and the basal ganglia, with associated senile degeneration of the visceral organs.

Brigadier, O.B.E., M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.P., Con
sulting Physician, British Army of the Rhine
M.D., Professor of the Paris Faculty of Medi
cine, Expert of the Tribunal
M.D., Professor of Medicine, Medical Institute of Moscow, Chief Internist, Commissariat of Public Health U.S.S.R.
M.D., Emeritus Professor of Neurology, Medical Inst. of Moscow; Member, Academy of Medical Sciences, U.S.S.R.
M.D., Professor of Psychiatry. Medical Institute of Moscow.
Major, Medical Corps, Neuropsychiatrist,
Army of the United States


(*) At Meeting of the International Military Tribunal on 30 October 1945 "It was agreed that a committee of four medical officers, one appointed by each member of the Tribunal, be sent, if the Committee of Prosecutors made no objection, to examine Krupp and that they be empowered to employ specialists if necessary." The report of the Medical Commission was presented 7 November 1945. Return to the Text

Previous Document Volume 1 Contents Next Document

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.