Dr. Hans Eppinger, Jr.
Designation Of Lunar Crater
Named For Suspected Nazi War Criminal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, 9 August 2002 LT
On 28 October 2002, the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN),
after verifying Dr. Hans Eppinger's connection with the Nazi prison camps,
unanimously voted to drop the designation of crater Eppinger from the Moon. The
group acknowledged the role that the Luna Society (previously known as the Lunar Republic Society) performed in
bringing this matter to their attention. The text of the original media release
is reprinted below:
An inquiry opened with the International
Astronomical Union (IAU) and the U.S. Geological Survey's Planetary Nomenclature
section regarding the suitability of having a crater on the Moon named to honor
Dr. Hans Eppinger, Jr., an accused Nazi war criminal, has resulted in the
removal of the designation.
The inquiry, entered on behalf of the Lunar
Republic Society, an international advocacy group based in New York, claimed
that evidence exists showing that Eppinger conducted experiments on Gypsy
prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany during World War II.
The experiments, which involved giving unaltered
sea water and sea water whose taste was camouflaged to the prisoners as their
sole source of fluid, caused severe physical difficulty or death within six to
According to witness reports, the prisoners became
so profoundly dehydrated that they were seen licking the floors after they were
mopped simply to get a drop of water.
Eppinger, who was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia,
in 1879, also served as personal physician to the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin,
and was a professor at the universities in Freiburg, Cologne and Vienna.
Eppinger killed himself in September 1946, one month before he was scheduled to
testify in the Nuremberg war crimes trial. He committed suicide by taking
poison, according to his obituary in The New York Times.
Crater Eppinger, which received its official
designation by the International Astronomical Union in 1976 on the thirtieth
anniversary of its namesake's death, is a six-kilometer wide formation located
at 9.4Âº South latitude, 25.7Âº West longitude in the western section of Mare
Cognitum, east of the Montes Riphaeus mountain chain. (Click
here for detail from The Full Moon Atlas, Sector E-3.)
Eppinger's experiments have been chronicled in the
PBS television series "Nova" in an episode entitled "Holocaust On Trial," which
originally aired in October 2000. An article by the noted attorney Baruch C.
Cohen, entitled "The Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi Experiments," also
detailed Eppinger's sea water experiments; it has been reprinted on the Jewish
Law web site at
The inquiry by the Lunar Republic Society was
entered with Dr. Vladislav Shevchenko, Chairman of the Lunar Task Group of the
International Astronomical Union's Working Group for Planetary System
Nomenclature, as well as with the United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Planetary Geology and Geophysics section in Flagstaff, Arizona, which maintains
planetary nomenclature databases.
The information regarding Eppinger came to light
during research for an interactive lunar atlas, gazetteer and crater catalog
which has been developed by the Lunar Republic Society (www.fullmoonatlas.com).
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