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Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Healthy horses were reared to produce virus which was used as bioweapon during the Second World War

Memorandum considers onset of Infectious Anemia of Horses epidemic as feasible

In the middle of a peaceful February in 1925, the Berlin Reich ministry of defense issued a 'Memorandum on the use of pathogens as a weapon in times of war.' In fact, the possibility of experimentally producing safe epidemic outbreaks which would have a sustained detrimental effect on the enemy's power of resistance was met with skepticism.

It would be more promising to infect animals. Transmission could be through spraying feed or by direct injection. Suitable epidemics could be glanders equina and Infectious Anemia as far as horses are concerned, and anthrax for cattle.

The military-political venture of 1925, described in this secret 'Memorandum provides an explanation as to what was already practiced at the end of the war and subsequently continued in secret. 

The infection of horses, which in reality were reared as virus-producers to then be slaughtered, was mostly treated as the consequence of infections using contaminated syringes.

According to J. Fortner, who had been head of the veterinary department of the Reich ministry of health for many years, the slaughter was carried out in the serum-producing centers without a problem. 

Generally speaking, other events (Infectious Anemia of Horses-outbreaks) did not really reach the public because those involved as well as the authorities suppressed all the information in this respect.

He stated after the World War II regarding the practice of secrecy. In 1943, he had made the following statement about the mass slaughter, "There is hardly a serum-institute which during the course of the years, has not had to sacrifice more than once its entire stock because of anemia."

The largest and most important of EIAV producers in the German Reich was the Berlin-Werke in Marburg. In Hersfeld, roughly 70 kilometers away, horses anemia was registered for the first time in 1900, which at that time was completely unknown.

The Infectious Anemia (and further equine disease) was given among others, the names 'Hersfeld Disease and Schweinsberg Disease,' after the town of Sweinsberg, which is very near to Marburg. 

In early 1917, when the first EIAV-infections were registered from Tilsit, the virus was supposed to 'have already spread among the serum horses of the Behring Werke.' 

Even horses which were not used for military purposes and therefore, not subjected to the controls of the victor states were obviously used for experimental purposes during the twenties. 

A police-veterinary statistic refers to 3,321 or 6,661 horses in Germany, not used for military purposes, which suffered from Infectious Anema during the years 1924-1925. In 1926, only 625 horses were affected.

In Modling, near Vienna, Austria, healthy horses were admitted to the local Ansalt zur Tierimpfstoffgewinnung (Institute for the obtainment of animal vaccine) at the beginning of 1918. All new admissions shortly became diseased for some unknown reason from EIA, and some died.

Of the 26 EIAV-infected horses from the institute, 13 liters immune serum were obtained from each horse once a month for a total period of more than one year. At that time, several serum horses even in the Wiener Impfstoffwerk (Vienna vaccines plant) became ill.

The closer of the onset of the World War II, the greater was the need for serum containing Virus of Infectious Anemia of Horses ad the greater number of 'Vaccine Horses' were slaughtered in the serum-institutes. 

In 1937, 3000 horses infected with Virus of Infectious Anemia of Horses were slaughtered in Schleitheim (Bavaria).

In Landsberg/Warthe, during the same year, 200 EIAV-infected horses were killed in 'Bakterriologisches und Serum-Instut Dr. Schreiber. Before 1943, all 300 horses were killed in serum-institute. 

In 1942, the Veterinary Department of the Reichs ministry of health examined horses intentionally infected with horsefly bites, or with Virus of Infectious Anemia of Horses in their feed.

In the Serum-Institut of Dessau, the victors discovered more than 300 EIAV-infected horses in 1945. All were killed. In the Serum-Institut of Jena, 41 EIAV serum horses were slaughtered in the months following the end of the war. 

250 horses which supplied serum containing EIAV were also slaughtered in the Spring of 1947, at the Marburg Behring-Werke.

The Institute of O. Waldmann, on the island of Riems/Greifswald, the center of German Infectious Anemia of Horses research, during the war, was given electron microscopes during the last few months of the war because of their decisive contribution to the war outcome.

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