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Erich Traub file photo [29101]

Erich Traub

Given NameErich
Born27 Jun 1906
Died18 May 1985
CountryGermany, United States


ww2dbaseErich Traub was born in Asperglen in southern Germany in 1906. In the 1930s, he studied on a fellowship at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, working on vaccines and viruses; during this time, he and his wife were listed as members of the German American Bund, an American Nazi organization. Between 1938 and 1942, he worked at the University of Giessen in western Germany. In 1942, he joined the Reich Research Institute for Virus Diseases of Animals (German: Reichsforschungsanstalt für Viruskrankheiten der Tiere) at Riems Island on the shore of the Baltic Sea as its deputy, overseeing virus research and biological warfare research under the overall leadership of Otto Waldmann. In 1943, Heinrich Himmler took over command of Riem Island, and ordered Deputy Reich Health Leader Kurt Blome to weaponize foot-and-mouth disease, and Traub managed this project. It was rumored that foot-and-mouth virus was deployed as a weapon in Russia at least once during the war, dispersed by aircraft. In 1944, Blome sent Traub to pick up a strain of Rinderpest virus in Turkey, but the strain proved nonvirulent, and the project was dropped. After the war, he continued his work at Riems Island, with Soviet supervision. In Jul 1948, he was evacuated by the British and brought to the United States. In 1949, under Operation Paperclip, he was brought to the United States and was given US citizenship. Between 1949 and 1953, he worked at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, United States. During this time, he met with US Army biological warfare scientists at Fort Detrick, Maryland a number of times. The knowledge he shared, particularly with foot-and-mouth disease as well as operational procedures at Riems Island, helped with Fort Detrick's soon-to-be-established offshore biological warfare research laboratory at Plum Island in New York, United States. Between 1951 and 1952, he served as a foot-and-mouth disease expert for the United Nations in Bogota, Colombia. In 1953, he returned to Germany and founded the Loeffler Institut in Tübingen, and would remain its leader until 1960. During the 1950s, he had visited Plum Island at least three times, offering his advice to the American biological warfare research program. In 1958, he was offered a leadership position at Plum Island, but he rejected the offer. In 1963, his research projects at the Loeffler Institut ended. Between 1963 and 1967, he served as a foot-and-mouth disease expert for the United Nations in Tehran, Iran. Between 1969 and 1971, he served as a foot-and-mouth disease expert for the United Nations in Ankara, Turkey. He retired from West German civil service in 1971. In 1972, he received an honorary doctorate degree in Veterinary Medicine from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich in München, Germany. He passed away in his sleep in 1985.

Michael Carroll, Lab 257

Last Major Revision: Jul 2019

Erich Traub Timeline

27 Jun 1906 Erich Traub was born in Asperglen, Germany.
18 May 1985 Erich Traub passed away in his sleep in Rosenheim, West Germany.

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