|Born||21 Mar 1893|
|Died||5 Sep 1970|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseWalter Paul Emil Schreiber was born in 1893 to postal inspector Paul Schreiber and Gertrud Kettlitz in Berlin, Germany. After completing gymnasium in Berlin, he studied medicine at the university level in Berlin, Tübingen, and Greifswald. In 1914, he enlisted for military service, and was deployed to France during WW1 with the 42nd Infantry Regiment. He was injured at the First Battle of the Marne. Upon recovery, he served as a provisional doctor until the end of the war in 1918. In 1920, he received a medical degree from the University of Griefswald and began his field studies in epidemiology in Africa. He was later made a professor of Bacteriology and Hygiene at the University of Berlin. He was then invited to the Walter Reed General Hospital in the United States to jointly further the two countries' biological warfare capabilities. Returning to the German Army, he conducted research in disease prevention and defenses against biological warfare. In 1942, he wrote a memorandum expressing his objections against the German efforts to develop new biological weapons. In Oct 1942, he attended a conference where the results of human experimentation conducted at Dachau Concentration Camp were presented. In May 1943, he headed the third session of the advisory specialists of the German military, which led to a confrontation in which he uselessly spoke out against human experimentation, for that decisions to further such research had already been made by Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring, and thus could not be challenged. In Sep 1943, he was made the commanding officer of Training Division C of the Military Medical Academy; in his role he denied head of Posen Research Institute Kurt Blome from conducting plague research in Sachsenburg, although this decision was later reversed by Heinrich Himmler. Starting in 1944, he consulted with attorney Karl Brandt, who specialized in medical matters, regarding the increasing opposition against his decision from top Nazi German leadership.
ww2dbaseSchreiber was captured by the Red Army in a makeshift military hospital in Berlin, Germany on 30 Apr 1945, and was taken to the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, Russia, where he was held as a common German officer without the Soviets really knowing his position. He was seriously ill while at Lubyanka, but received life-saving medical attention after his identity was discovered. In Aug 1946, he was a witness at the Nuremberg Trials, providing evidence in support of the Soviet Chief Prosecutor Roman Rudenko against Göring and Blome on the matter of biological weapons research. Until the autumn of 1948, he was the chief doctor providing medical care to high ranking German prisoners in the Soviet Union. In late 1948, he was transferred to East Germany and was told to hold the position of the Chief Medical Officer of the East German Police (Volkspolizei); he rejected this order. He was then offered professorship at the University of Leipzig, which he also turned down, requesting a similar position at the University of Berlin instead, in the hopes that he would locate his family, whom he had not seen since Apr 1945. In response, the Soviets told him that his family had been kept captive in the Soviet Union, and he would be able to see them if he agreed to conduct research for the Soviets in Russia. This was a lie, for that his wife Olga Conrad Schreiber, his son, and his daughters had been free and had been actively looking for him. One of his daughter made contact with him in Oct 1948, which led to him evading his handlers, escaping from captivity, and with his family making the way to the American occupation zone in Berlin. He was then hired by the Americans, serving initially with the Counter Intelligence Corps in Germany, and then the camp physician at Camp King, a secret prisoner of war interrogation camp, in Oberursel, Germany.
ww2dbaseIn 1951, Schreiber boarded the ship USNS General Maurice Rose for the United States. Together with him were his wife, his son Paul-Gerhard Schreiber, one of his daughters, and his mother-in-law Marie Schulz Conrad. All of them traveled anonymously as "Paper Clips" as a part of the secret Operation Paperclip which saw the transfer of German scientific and engineering mind to the United States. He worked with the US Air Force and served as an expert consultant at the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial. In 1952, with the assistance of the US Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, he obtained a Argentinian visa. It was said that his departure from the US was due to the fact that journalists had linked him to unethical practices, including forced sterilizations. He joined a daughter of his who had already been living there, and worked as a physician and conducted epidemiological research. He passed away from a heart attack in 1970.
Last Major Revision: May 2019
Walter Schreiber Timeline
|21 Mar 1893||Walter Schreiber was born in Berlin, Germany.|
|30 Apr 1945||Walter Schreiber was captured by Soviet forces in Berlin, Germany.|
|26 Aug 1946||Walter Schreiber appeared as a witness at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany.|
|17 Oct 1948||Walter Schreiber escaped from Soviet captivity in Dresden, Germany.|
|17 Sep 1951||Walter Schreiber arrived in New York, New York, United States.|
|7 Oct 1951||The newspaper New York Times reported that Walter Schreiber was working at the Air Force School of Medicine at the Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, United States. The article linked him to unethical practices during the war in Germany.|
|22 May 1952||Walter Schreiber departed the United States for Argentina via a US military aircraft.|
|5 Sep 1970||Walter Schreiber passed away from a heart attack in San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina.|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943