Mückter was recruited by Grünenthal shortly after the company was founded. In the 1950s he was part of the scientific team that created Thalidomide. But he wasn’t the only Nazi the company hired over the years.
There were others too. Grünenthal hired former SS doctors Heinz Baumkötter and Ernst-Günther Schenck. Martin Staemmler,
a leading advocate of the Nazi “racial hygiene” program who worked with the SS during the war, headed Grünenthal pathology department from 1960 until 1974.
In the 1970s Otto Ambros, a convicted Nazi war criminal, was appointed chair of Grünenthal’s supervisory board. During the war the German chemist was in charge of the establishment and running of a rubber plant in Auschwitz. Thousands of slave workers died under his watch. In 1948 Ambros was convicted of mass murder and slavery in Nuremberg.
“So in the 1970s, Grünenthal had as the chair of its board a man convicted of mass murder and slavery at Auschwitz. It sounds crazy when you say it out loud. I mean, a mass murderer as the chair of their board.”
~ Michael Magazanik, Lawyer for Thalidomide Victims & Journalist
Watch Michael Magazanik
“One German historian has looked at a short list of Grünenthal staff from the early sixties, and he said it’s absolutely astonishing that a small company should have such a concentration of convicted war criminals on its staff, unusual even
by the standards of post-war Germany.”
~ Martin Johnson, Thalidomide researcher and Former Director of UK Thalidomide Trust
Listen to Martin Johnson