Berlin to bury prisoners’ tissue kept by Nazi-era doctor

More than 300 tiny pieces of human tissue from prisoners executed during the Nazi-era in Berlin will be buried on Monday, the media reported.

The samples were found in microscopic slides at a property that belonged to Hermann Stieve – an anatomy professor at the Charite – Berlin University of Medicine, reports the BBC.

The pieces will be buried at a ceremony at Berlin’s Dorotheenstadt Cemetery.

Heirs of the doctor, who died in 1952, discovered the collection in 2016.

The tissue pieces – most less than a millimetre long – were discovered at Stieve’s estate, stored in small black boxes, including some labelled with names.

Once found, they were handed to the Charite, who tasked staff at the German Resistance Memorial Centre to research their history.

Research under the memorial’s director, Professor Johannes Tuchel, showed that the bodies of 184 people, mostly women, were picked up by a driver and taken to Stieve, sometimes just minutes after they were killed at the Berlin-Plotzensee prison.

He then dissected them for research, before discreetly cremating and interring their bodies anonymously.

Almost 3,000 people were executed at Plotzensee by beheading or hanging while Hitler was in power.

Stieve served as the director of the Berlin Institute of Anatomy from 1935 until he died following a stroke in 1952.

His work was some of the first research to suggest that stress could disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Because he was not a member of the Nazi party, Stieve was not prosecuted after the Second World War.

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