In August 1944 Dr. Karl Brandt, Hitler's personal physician, was appointed Reich Commissioner for Sanitation and Health, ranked as the highest Reich authority. He was authorized to issue instructions to the medical organizations of the government, to the party, and the armed forces, in the field of health.

He participated in the euthanasia program, which involved the systematic execution of the aged, insane, incurably ill, or deformed children by gas or lethal injections in nursing homes, hospitals and asylums. They were regarded as 'useless eaters' and a burden to the German war machine.

Karl Brandt was one of the 15 defendants found guilty of war crimes at the Doctors Trial. He was executed June 2, 1948 at Landsberg prison in Bavaria.