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    For many, Robert Rössle is one of the most important pathologists of the first half of the 20th century. His research in the fields of inflammation, constitution, growth and age, and immunity gave him the status of a pioneer. Because he was not a nominal member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), Rössle did not have to undergo denazification proceedings and was able to continue his academic career seamlessly after 1945. Only recently, the question of Rössle's actual role in the Third Reich has been raised - in connection with a possible renaming of the Robert-Rössle-Straße in Berlin. Our paper takes this issue as an opportunity to critically examine Rössle's involvement in National Socialism. For this study, all available literature and extensive primary material on Rössle from various archives was reviewed and evaluated with regard to the question posed. The investigations show that Rössle held a number of offices in the administrative apparatus of the Nazi state even though not being a party member. They gave him access to high-ranking representatives and most likely also knowledge about medical crimes. Rössle researched and published on hereditary biology and racial hygiene issues, thus supporting the ideology of the Nazi State. Robert Rössle must be regarded as an early proponent of racial hygiene, political collaborator and profiteer of the Third Reich. However, it remains unclear whether he was directly involved in human experiments. There is no evidence that he critically distanced himself from his role in the Third Reich after 1945. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

    Citation

    Stephanie Kaiser, Dominik Groß, Ute Linz. Nazi, collaborator or opponent? The role of the pathologist Robert Rössle in the Third Reich. Pathology, research and practice. 2022 May;233:153842

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    PMID: 35366461

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