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Erich Traub

Dr. Erich Traub was a Nazi germ warfare scientist allegedly smuggled into the United States in 1949 from the former Soviet Union under the auspices of the top secret United States government program Operation Paperclip.[1]

Dr. Traub is known as the father of the Plum Island biological research lab, located 6 miles from Old Lyme, Connecticut. According to the book Lab 257, by author Michael Carroll, Dr. Traub was chief of Insel Riems, a virological research institute in the Baltic sea now known as the Friedrich Loeffler Institute.[2]

Traub worked directly for Adolf Hitler's second in charge, Heinrich Himmler.[3] At Insel Riems, Dr. Traub's interests included personally collecting Rinderpest virus from Anatolia, and packaging weaponized foot and mouth disease for dispersal onto cattle and reindeer in Russia.[3] Dr. Traub also experimented with the glanders bacteria and had a particular fascination for organisms that voraciously devour the brain.[3]

According to his National Defense Program FBI application form, he was born on June 27, 1906 in Asperglen, Germany and he died in Germany in 1988.[3]

Plum Island

In the book, The Belarus Secret, author John Loftus, the Justice Department employee who exposed Kurt Waldheim as a Nazi, states that Nazi germ warfare scientists had experimented with poison ticks dropped from planes to spread rare diseases. Loftus also states that he had received information that the United States had tested some of these poison ticks on the Plum Island artillery range off the coast of Connecticut during the early part of the 1950s. [4]

Michael Carroll quotes former Plum Island lab director Jerry Callis talking about tick research on Plum Island:
"Plum Island experimented with ticks, but never outside of containment. We had a tick colony where you take them and feed them on the virus and breed ticks to see how many generations it would last, on and on, until its diluted. Recently they reinstated the tick colony."
Carroll additionally cites a 1978 US Department of Agriculture (UDSA) document titled "African Swine Fever," which further confirms the study of vector competence in ticks on Plum Island, noting that the report stated:
"In 1975 and 1976 the adult and nyphal stages of Ablyomma americanum (the Lone Star tick) and Ablyomma cajunense (the Cayenne tick) were found to be incapable of harboring and transmitting African Swine fever virus."

Coincidentally, the Lyme disease outbreak was identified about the time of the Swine Fever tick study conducted on Plum Island. Despite rumors to the contrary, at the time of the Plum Island Swine Fever experiments, the Lone Star tick's documented range was not limited to Texas. As early as 1944, lone stars ticks had been reported as abundant in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisianna, Arkansas, and Missouri.[5] They were also reported to be present in lesser numbers in Minnesota and Ohio of the same year.[6] By 1977, these ticks were endemic throughout the American southeast. It's range has since continued to expand. Today it is endemic from New England west through much of the Great Plains and the upper Midwest. Carroll states in Lab 257, that no one can answer how the Lone Star tick migrated from Texas to New York and Connecticut. This is, however, clearly not the case.

Erich Traub's legacy of arthropod vector competancy experimentation continued during the 1980s at Plum Island under the jurisdiction of Entomologist Dr. Richard Endris, who is reported to have nurtured over 200,000 soft and hard ticks of varying species in tick nurseries on Plum Island, personally collected from locations as far away as Cameroon, Africa.[3] In a footnote in Lab 257, Carroll notes that Endris, while under contract with the US Army lab at Fort Detrick had also conducted experiments in 1987 on Plum Island, using sand flies as vectors of the rarely fatal illness Leishmaniasis.[3] The work is alleged by Carroll to have been done in secrecy, with few safety precautions.

Carroll cites Dr. Traub as having worked with the U.S. Army, the Navy, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the UDSA before he returned to Germany in 1953. Dr. Traub is known to have visited Plum Island on at least three different occasions, and was offered the directorship there several times.


  1. ^ Hunt, Linda. Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 1990. New York: St.Martin's Press, 1991. 340 pages
  2. ^ Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, History: Isle of Riems
  3. ^ a b c d e f Carroll, Michael (2004). Lab 257:The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Germ Laboratory. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-06-001141-6
  4. ^ Loftus, John (1982). The Belarus Secret. Knopf. ISBN 0394522923.
  5. ^ Cooley, R.A. and Kohls, G.M. 1944. The genus Amblyomma in the United States. Jour. Parasit. 30:77-111
  6. ^ Riley, W.A. 1944. The occurence of Amblyomma americanum in Minnesota and in Ohio. Jour. Parasit., 30:200-201
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Erich_Traub". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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