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Nazis 'wanted to use mosquitoes as a weapon'

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Nazis 'wanted to use mosquitoes as a weapon'
Photo: DPA
11:25 CET+01:00
UPDATE: Nazi scientists worked on ways to use malaria-carrying mosquitoes as a weapon, according to researchers. Until now, experts have disputed whether Germany was working on biological warfare during World War II.

Dr Klaus Reinhardt, who led the study, told The Local that he came across documents at Dachau's Entomology Institute which suggested that “biological weapons [using mosquitoes] could have been developed as an offensive, not defensive, weapon”.

Until now, it had been generally thought by experts that the Nazis only intended ever to use biological weapons defensively.

By 1944 the institute had decided on a specific breed of mosquito most suited to a potential biological attack, said Reinhardt.

But tests with mosquitoes infected with malaria were never carried out and Hitler opposed biological warfare, according to Reinhardt.

He and his team published their findings in the Endeavor scientific journal in December. It states how in 1942 head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, set up the Dachau institute to study the physiology and control of insects that inflict harm to humans.

Institute leader Eduard May had, Reinhardt said, an interest in dragonflies before Himmler put him – for reasons unknown – in charge of the Dachau institute.

Reinhardt said: “I have a special interest in dragonflies so really came across the mosquito plan by accident.”

READ MORE: Jewish ghetto workers to get better pensions

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