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Erich Traub :
The Life and Career of a Master Bioweaponeer

Erich Traub (Rockefeller Institute)_edited.jpg

1906 – On June 27, 1906, Erich Traub is born in Asperglen, a town in the county of Württemberg, Germany, to parents Lydia Rommel and Michael Traub.

1924 – Erich Traub graduates from high school in Stuttgart

1925-1927 – Traub completes 2 years at University of Tübingen for major languages, learns English and French.

1926 – Traub travels to England to act as an interpreter for a German judge in a dog show for a British Kennel club he was a member of. [potential time/place of interest relevant to espionage recruitment]


1926-1927 – Traub travels to Switzerland to act as secretary for an American family since Traub knew English and German.


1931 - Traub acts as interpreter for Richard E. Shope, while both were studying at the University of Giessen, and Shope notes his exceptional skill at virology and animal disease. Shope tells Traub to apply to Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.


1932 - Traub enters Giessen under the direction of Wilhelm Zwick and Oskar Seifried, famous for their work on neurotropic virus called Borna Disease Virus (BDV) that causes severe mental problems and later used as a model to study autistic spectrum diseases. Traub publishes a second thesis for veterinary problems and animal hygiene, in:


Hygienic examinations in animal houses with special consideration of the stable air (Traub 1932)


This paper was more mechanical and dealt with air-flow through ducts, air pressure and keeping stalls clean, with more than obvious implications for Biological Warfare experiments, as this would be preliminary expertise to conducting airborne tests of chemicals and Biological Warfare.


1932 - Traub applies to the Rockefeller Institute around March 1932, and is soon accepted, leaves for USA on September 9, 1932 aboard the SS Hamburg, a ship liner later known for smuggling Nazi spies in and out of America during the war.


1933 – Traub attempts and succeeds in cultivating swine herpesvirus in minced rabbit testicles, “without any preliminary training and without the fancy laboratory equipment that most feel necessary,” the results were published in:


Cultivation of Pseudorabies Virus (Traub 1933)


1934 – Traub goes to Iowa with Dr. Shope to study the transmission and spread of Pseudorabies virus after outbreak in rural farm. They established that the destructive disease is latent in most pigs, and somehow becomes reactivated to cause outbreaks and persistent viral infections. The results were published several years later by Shope in


Experiments on The Epidemiology Of Pseudorabies: I. Mode Of Transmission Of The Disease In Swine And Their Possible Role In Its Spread To Cattle. (Shope 1935)

Experiments on The Epidemiology Of Pseudorabies: II. Prevalence of The Disease Among Middle Western Swine And The Possible Role Of Rats In Herd-to-Herd Infections (Shope 1935)


1935 (March) – Traub experiments further with mice to assess potential latent viruses in white mice, by injecting the mice brains with a foreign protein suspended in sterile Bouillon, and causes the latent virus to reactivate and turn pathogenic and soon the virus spread to at least half of the stock, with additional human exposures and severe illness. Essentially, he produced a contagious epidemic from scratch, but waking up dormant viruses in the mice. The seminal paper was published in Science Magazine in 1935 as:

A Filterable Virus Recovered from White Mice (Traub 1935a)


1935 (April) - Traub discovers that pseudorabies antibodies are not effective at clearing virus once the virus penetrates into the immune cells, and even in the immunized, the virus continued to multiply and infect, albeit at a much slower rate. He published the results in:


Multiplication in Vitro of Pseudorabies Virus in the Testicle Tissue of Immunized guinea Pigs (Traub 1935b).


These were foundational settings for Traub to produce chronic, stealth infections that slowly destroy the body, and this would later contribute to the field of “slow-virus infections” and “immune tolerance.”


1935 (June) - Working with Dr. Carl TenBroeck and some other Rockefeller students, Traub discovers a more virulent strain of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus and they began running the virus through horses from infected pigeon and sheep brains, and eventually they find a new virus that is distinct from both WEE and EEE, which may have been West-Nile Virus. The results appeared in:


Protective Vaccination of Horses with Modified Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus (1935c).


1935 (July) - Working with Dr. Carl TenBroeck and some other Rockefeller students, Traub and colleagues began to assess the factors surrounding the transmission and spread of EEE, published in


Epidemiology of Equine Encephalomyelitis in the Eastern United States (Traub 1935d).


Traub later establishes the pigeon can harbor the virus, but burns out quickly, but other avian hosts were also suspected.


1935 (December) – Traub reveals a high infection rate of the mouse colony with the LCM virus, where up to 50% became infected, and he began to modify the virus by repeatedly infecting guinea pigs with the LCM from mice, published in:

An Epidemic in a Mouse Colony Due to the Virus of Acute Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (Traub 1935e).


1936 (February) - Traub establishes the persistence and chronic nature of LCM infection, despite whether or not the virus is found circulating in the blood, because the virus would integrate into tissue and organs. Traub published the results in:


Persistence of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus in Immune Animals and its Relation to Immunity (Traub 1936a)


1937 (March) – Traub supervises researcher John B. Nelson in further looking into the unusual respiratory infections that resulted in the mouse colony after the LCM epidemic and the arrival of a new stock of Swiss mice from the same source, The respiratory infection was a complexity of Mycoplasma and other infections, due to immunocompromise. Nelson’s experiments under Traub were published as:


Infectious Catarrh of Mice. I. A Natural Outbreak of the Disease (Nelson 1937)

Infectious Catarrh of Mice. II. The Detection and Isolation of Coccobacilliform Bodies. (Nelson 1937)

Infectious Catarrh of Mice. III. The Etiological Significance of the Coccobacilliform Bodies. (Nelson 1937)


1937 (April) – Traub adapts the LCM virus to guinea-pigs, modifies the virus through repeated passages in guinea pig brains, then he would use infected brain extract to inject into the mouse brain and the newly modified virus would cause a silent immune tolerant state with high concentrations of virus being shed from those infected. This was published in:


Immunization of Guinea Pigs with a Modified Strain of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (Traub 1937a).


1937 (June) - Erich Traub is promoted from assistants to associates at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research noted in a New York Times article, Promoted at Institute: Rockefeller Medical Research Staff Members Are Shifted.


1938 (April) - Traub experiments with LCM vaccines in mice made from virulent strains of LCM passed through guinea-pig brains. The vaccines caused disease or death in many of the mice, as well as immune tolerance, which at the time he called it “incomplete immunity,” where the typical acute illness did not occur but rather became immune tolerant with inapparent chronic disease. Results were published in:


Immunization of Guinea Pigs Against Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis with Formolized Tissue Vaccines (Traub 1938).


1938 – Traub studies the factors involved in the persistence of virus through multiple generations. Mice reproduce often and new generations grow fast to the adult stage and more litters can be produced in a short period. He noted that an infected mother with persistent virus would always transmit the virus to the young, and the infected young could easily transmit the virus to other uninfected young mice by contact. The infected would remain carriers indefinitely if there was any noticeable period of illness, such as when they were first born. Significant is the fact that the virus could maintain itself congenitally through multiple generations. The results were published in:

Factors Influencing the Persistence of Choriomeningitis Virus in the Blood of Mice After Clinical Recovery (Traub 1938)


“Virus was detected in every case, and the litters were therefore assumed to become infected in utero. It was known from two previous experiments that in litters infected in this manner all the young are infected when born.”


1939 (February) - Traub’s prompt return to Germany and habilitation to private lecturer (Privatdozent) and assistant to Department head of veterinary research at the University of Giessen, Karl Beller, was preceded by a lengthy new thesis on animal virology and immunology. This was a comprehensive paper that carefully presented the nature of many animal viruses and forms of immunization, and it was in this paper that Traub acknowledged that blood-sucking insects could potentially reactivate vaccine viruses. He also noted the ability for live vaccines to spread and cause outbreaks of disease. The thesis was published as:


About Immunity and Active Immunization Against Viral Disease (Traub 1939)


1939 (March) – Traub receives the mouse stock from the 1935 epidemic, shipped to him by the Rockefeller Institute. He completes the round of studies he started in 1935, and new generations of mice throughout that time were infected in utero or as transovarial transmission through the ovaries. He notes that although the virus did not show visible illness in the stock, the infection rate was practically 100%, all mice being infected. Results were published in:


Epidemiology of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis in a Mouse Stock Observed for Four Years (Traub 1939)


“The most striking change that occurred gradually between 1935 and 1937 was a marked decrease in the severity of the disease. Since it is now subclinical, infected young mice can no longer be distinguished with certainty from uninfected ones in spite of the fact that their tissues contain about the same amounts of virus as before the change occurred.”


1939 – Traub made additional experiments back in Germany with EEE, continuing work he had going with Dr. TenBroeck at the Rockefeller Institute, and either brought strains back with him on his trip home, or had them shipped from the Institute to Germany. The strains were American strains which were used in earlier experiments in the United States. He adapts the virus to different animals and then runs the virus back through the original animals to assess how certain animal passages mutate the virus and give it new characteristics. He used guinea pigs, rabbits, and pigeons in this experiment. For instance, the strain used in his earlier experiments on pigeons, lost virulence after the 3rd passage, but another strain he used was modified and maintained full virulence in the pigeon. Results of these experiments were published in:


Experimental Studies on a Pigeon Passage-Modified Strain of American Equine Encephalomyelitis (Traub 1939)


1939 – While at the University of Giessen, Professor Dr. Karl Beller and Erich Traub contributed an entire chapter on avian virus diseases to the Handbook of Virus Diseases. This chapter revealed the differential diagnoses to fowl pest, as fowl typhoid, fowl tuberculosis, and spirochetosis. The chapter was published as:


Fowl Pest and Related Virus Diseases of Birds (Traub & Beller 1939)


1939 – Traub contributes another chapter to the Handbook of Virus Diseases. In this chapter, he summarized the entire breadth of knowledge on Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCM) which he had learned after studying for 4 years in the United States at Rockefeller Institute. The chapter was published as:


Choriomeningitis in Mice (Traub 1939)


1939 – Traub’s associate assistant and protégé at the University of Giessen, Werner Schäfer, published a paper with Traub on the stealth mechanisms of LCM in mouse sera, which tends to lack antibodies, paving the way for the later weapons that would also evade antibodies and test results. The paper was published as:


Serological Studies on the Immunity of Mice to Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (Traub & Schäfer 1939)


1939 – Werner Schäfer experiments with avian spirochetes, Spirochaeta gallinarum (later changed to Borrelia anserina), coordinating with the University of Giessen, to find cheap and inexpensive ways to maintain the spirochetes, instead of using live chickens to keep the spirochetes viable. He uses eggs instead and is able to keep them fully virulent.


He notes that he received the strain from Dr. Franz Jahnel, head of the psychology department at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute, whose work was funded by the Rockefeller Institute. He also mentions that a fully virulent strain of Spirochaeta gallinarum was needed by his superiors at the University of Giessen for teaching and research purposes. His superiors were Dr. Traub and Dr. Beller.


It is here where we find Traub in possession of the avian spirochetes that were later weaponized to become Borrelia burgdorferi. The 1939 work was published as:


The Maintenance of Spirochaeta gallinarum by Passages in Fowl Embryos (Schäfer 1939)

1939 – Karl Beller teaches Traub all about the tickborne diseases like Rickettsia, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, and the different ticks for spreading them. It was published in a chapter Heartwater and Other Animal Rickettsioses for the Handbook of Virus Diseases while Traub was his assistant. He teaches Traub how a complex disease results when many infections are rolled into one, citing a case where a dog was simultaneously infected with Rickettsia, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, and Leishmaniasis, while also showing that it is possible to get hard-bodied ticks to spread spirochetes. All of these agents would later be used in Traub's weaponized ticks unleashed on the West.


1940 – Traub, Beller, and another colleague carry out experiments on bovine papular stomatitis virus, a virus that closely resembles Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) and Vesicular Stomatitis, but is a poxvirus and a very close relative to vaccinia virus and smallpox. He conducted transmission and vaccine studies for this research and it was published in:


Studies on Bovine Papular Stomatitis (Traub, Beller, Schaaf 1940)

It was in this paper that we can see that he used the virus to weaponize the simulant bacteria Serratia marcescens (then called Bacillus prodigiosus) that would later be used in his American simulant testing activities.


1941 – Traub writes a paper to clarify for researchers in Europe the differences between pseudorabies (swine herpesvirus) and contagious porcine encephalomyelitis (swine polio), with additional distinction to classical swine fever. Traub mentions in this paper that Shope had sent him strains of pseudorabies from the Rockefeller Institute. Results were published in:


The Infectious Porcine Encephalomyelitis Compared with Pseudorabies and Swine Fever (Traub 1941)


1941 – Traub starts a series of experiments on a vaccine for contagious porcine encephalomyelitis (swine polio), also called Teschen Disease. Many of the immunizations caused severe disease when Traub injected them intracerebrally. He mentions here that he was also conducting experiments with Borna Disease Virus. Results were published in:


Active Immunization Against the Contagious Porcine Encephalomyelitis with Adsorbate Vaccines (Traub 1941)


1941 – Traub continues studies of American strains of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), adapting the virus to guinea pigs, for the production of serum, in: 


Serotherapeutic Experiments with the Artificial Infection of the Guinea Pig with the Virus of American Equine Encephalomyelitis (Traub 1941a)


1941 – Traub continues his studies of LCM virus, paying attention to its ability to cause leukemia (cancer of the blood) and lymphomatosis (cancer of the lymphnodes). Particularly noteworthy was the fact that the cancers would occur in mice born several generations later from the start of infection in the mouse colony. Making this more problematic was the fact it was extremely difficult to distinguish between an infected mouse and an uninfected one. These experiments were interrupted by the war and were completed by Traub’s student, Werner Schäfer and published as:


On the Influence of Latent Choriomeningitis Infection on the Development of Lymphomatosis in White Mice (Traub 1941).


1941 – An outbreak of unknown origin occurs in Army horses owned by a veterinary company, with horses showing signs of broncho-pneumonia. They set up a handful of experiments to assess the cause of disease. They set up experiments on blood parasites, equine infectious anemia, and infectious respiratory catarrh (mixed infections). They conclude the disease was due to infectious respiratory catarrh, after finding Streptococcus equi, Streptococcus pyogenes, and other bacterium that are usually considered “harmless” to the horse.


Infectious Respiratory Catarrh in the Horses of a Veterinary Company (Traub 1941)


1941 – Traub and Beller publish a comprehensive study of infectious respiratory catarrh, following Traub’s studies in veterinary horses used for the army. They concluded that a viral disease was the original cause of sudden and swift outbreaks, with an immunosuppressive effect on the horses, which then caused the secondary infections like Streptococcus and Mycoplasma.


The pneumonia-like outcome after a sudden and highly contagious viral infection was almost an exact model of the mechanisms seen in the Spanish Influenza of 1918, where meningococcus vaccine and serum were administered to soldiers before heading overseas, and an epidemic of influenza began spreading like wildfire in the soldiers, already immunosuppressed from the meningococcus, the virus was able to mutate, and ended in perhaps the biggest pandemics in history, with millions of deaths worldwide. Traub & Beller published their assessment in:


The Position and Outlook in Research on Infectious Respiratory Catarrh of the Horse (Traub & Beller 1941)


1941 – Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is perhaps the closest relative to the HIV virus. Both are in the retrovirus class, and both are in the same virus family of the lentivirus. The outcome is basically the same, with leukemia and immunosuppression that ends up in secondary infections and pneumonia (infectious respiratory catarrh). Traub, Schäfer, and another colleague conduct studies for a diagnostic test (complement-fixation) for EIA. They concluded that the tests are next to useless and the virus does not produce enough of an immune response to detect the infection. Results were published in:


Complement-Binding Experiments with Equine Infectious Anemia (Traub et al. 1941)


1942 – Next, Traub and Beller initiate a series of studies on Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), the AIDS of horses. First, they set up experiments on the course of infection and its effects on the immune system, noting the highly immunosuppressive effect of the virus and parasite. They attempt experiments with serum and immunization, with minimal results, yet a comprehensive outlook on the process of infection and its effects on the immune system.


Following these experiments, they set up a second line of research to assess the transmission and spread of EIA. They mention beetles, mosquitoes, and horse flies. They reference studies by their Japanese counterparts, who worked in coordination with the Germans. These studies attempted transmission of EIA by infected urine. They succeeded in spreading the virus through infected urine to the mucous membrane. The two studies were published in:


Investigations on Equine Infectious Anemia. I. Immunity Experiments (Traub and Beller 1942)


Investigations on Equine Infectious Anemia. II. Transmission Experiments (Traub and Beller 1942)


1942 – Traub concludes his lengthy studies of infectious respiratory catarrh with a focus on hemolytic Streptococci, A form of Streptococcus that destroys red blood cells, in:


The Presence of Hemolytic Streptococci in the Infectious Respiratory Catarrh Disease of the Horse’s Respiratory System (Traub and Gratzl 1942)


1942 – Traub conducts an investigation into a disease of rabbits in Angora for the Luftwaffe, after rabbits in the area started dying of an unknown disease. The disease caused the rabbits’ ears to become droopy, their heads and neck would become twisted and disfigured, in some ways resembling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and paralytic polio. He finds an invasive bacterium in the brains of the rabbits, known as Listeria monocytogenes, which is a cause of food poisoning (listeriosis) in humans.


He also notes a destructive effect in the spinal cord caused by a common and otherwise benign blood parasite, Encephlitizoon caniculi, which is sometimes seen in AIDS patients.


However, in light of a later research paper on Borna Disease Virus in rabbits resulting in the same condition and dedicated to Erich Traub on his 50th birthday, the original cause of this condition may have been due to the Borna Disease virus and the Listeria monocytogenes may have been a secondary infection. Traub’s studies on the condition and the isolated Listeria monocytogenes were published in:


About a Meningo-Encephalomyelitis of Rabbits Associated with Listerella-like Bacteria (Traub 1942)


1942 – A sudden outbreak of fowl plague (avian influenza) in several areas of Germany and Italy, brought Traub in for further investigations. What he originally thought was fowl plague (avian influenza), was a closely related but separate virus, an atypical form of fowl plague known as Newcastle Disease (atypische geflügelpest). He mentions that another German authority considered it a weaponized disease.


Traub mentions that it had not occurred on the European continent, and until that point was only known to occur in Britain. He also reveals for the first time, the connection between biological warfare attacks and migratory birds. The paper was published as:


An Atypical Form of Avian Influenza in Hessen-Nassau (Traub 1942a)


“Germany has been free of avian influenza for a long time according to the official animal health statistics. Recently, however, Wagener reported on a pest outbreak near Hanover and acknowledged the significance of this disease as a weaponized disease.” “Up to this point, such has been found in our continent only in England (Newcastle disease). It is therefore a case in which one could suspect an endogenous development of the virus in the chicken, if one would not have to reckon with completely uncontrollable and difficult to detect factors, (i.e. with an introduction of the virus by migratory birds or even with hostile action.)


1942 – Traub sets up further studies of the viruses to compare and differentiate the atypical avian influenza viruses (Newcastle Disease Virus, Virus N) isolated in Germany and Italy, as well as their comparison to the classical avian influenza. Results published as:


Immunobiological comparison of avian influenza virus strains from Silesia and Hesse-Nassau (Traub 1942b)

1943 – The results of his testing of Newcastle Disease vaccine in chickens and more studies on the virus spreading through Germany at the time, published in:


Active immunization with Chicken Embryo Vaccines Against the Atypical Avian Influenza Currently Occurring in Germany (Traub 1943)

1942-1943 – Erich Traub becomes vice president of Insel Riems, the leading cutting-edge facility for virus research in the entire world run by the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute and the University of Greifswald. He oversees the entire phase of research and development at Riems with particular concentration on stealth biological weapons and turning animal diseases to human pathogens.

1943 – A follow-up research program is initiated on vaccine experiments for Newcastle Disease grown in chicken eggs, with aluminum hydroxide to coat the surface of the virus and inactivate it, published in:


On the Adsorbate Vaccine for Active Immunization Against Atypical Avian Influenza (Traub 1943)

1943 – Traub and the Riems biochemist, Gottfried Pyl began work isolating and characterizing the antigens of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMD), with its ability to bind with antibodies, and factors that inhibit the process, which could have been useful in the weaponization process, to express Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus antigen in other disease agents, such as spirochetes and other parasites:


Studies on the Complement-Binding Antigen in Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Traub & Pyl 1943)

1943 – Traub takes on a new protégé, Dr. Zvonimir Dinter, guest researcher from Yugoslavia who, together with Traub, work on avian influenza weapons, as well as mentoring a guest researcher from Spain, Faustino Manso-Rodriguez. Dinter would go on to become a well-respected virologist and bacteriologist, credited with the discovery of Virus N, a variant of avian influenza with immunosuppressive qualities and stealth, but highly pathogenic. Dinter also would work in coordination with Traub on Swine Erysipelas (Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae).


1943 – Together with his colleague from the production department, Hubert Möhlmann, Traub creates a new diagnostic testing system to determine different strains of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMD) in livestock, since there are so many strains, cutting the time down in getting the results from weeks to hours.


The process utilizes the infecting of guinea-pigs with the strain of FMD from sick cattle and lets the disease run its course, and when a guinea-pig recovers he uses its blood containing antibodies and mixes them with the known strains of FMD. If the blood neutralizes the virus, it is a match, indicating the strain or type of FMD, and Traub called this method ‘typing’ of FMD, as well as ‘type-determination’ ‘type-differentiation,’ which builds upon the already existing ‘compliment-binding fixation test’ which allows an antigen to bind with antibody in serum used for diagnostics. Traub’s breakthrough modification was published in two papers, as:


Type Determination in Foot-and-Mouth Disease with the Help of the Complement Fixation Sample. I. Experiments with Serums and Antigens of Guinea Pigs (Traub & Möhlmann 1943a)


Type Determination in Foot-and-Mouth Disease with the Help of the Complement Fixation Sample. II. Experiments with Guinea-Pig Serum and Bovine Antigen (Traub & Möhlmann 1943b)


1944 – Working with guest researcher from Spain, Faustino Manso-Rodriguez, Traub continues research on the typing of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMD) , with special focus on the production of guinea-pig anti-serum used to bind with antigen for diagnostic testing, yet this could also be used to formulate stealth, published in:


On the Production of Complement-binding Guinea-Pig Serum for Type- determination of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Traub & Rodriguez 1944)


1944 – Traub and production specialist Hugo Miehler begin the concentration and purification of antigen from Newcastle Disease Virus, to be used as vaccine material, with equal implications and use in Weapons work. This was done in the development of a human/avian influenza polyvaccine with Werner Schäfer which was likely tested on human subjects and forced labor. Results published in:

Concentration and Purification of Avian Influenza Virus Strains (Traub & Miehler 1946)


1944 – Traub publishes a lengthy follow-up to the Newcastle experiments in immunization against Newcastle Disease Virus with adsorbate vaccines. He publishes the results in:


Further Information on Active Immunization with Adsorbate Vaccines Against Atypical Avian Influenza (Traub 1944) 


1944 – Traub’s collaborative work with Werner Schäfer on human influenza, started in 1943 and 1944 for Behringwerke, were published, with immunization studies of the human influenza in mice, and it appears that several strains of influenza and fowl plague were mixed into mice and chickens to adapt the viruses to new hosts, such as Newcastle Disease in mice, and human influenza to chick embryos. The results were published later in 1946:



Immunization of Mice Against Influenza with Adsorbate Vaccines of Virus Concentrates (Traub & Schäfer 1946)

1944 – The earlier experiments on the isolation and purification of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMD) with production specialist Hubert Möhlmann were expanded to study the immunological effects of the different strains of FMD in:


Studies on Immunological Types A & B of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus  (Traub & Möhlmann 1946)


1944 – Along with guest researcher Zvonimir Dinter, Traub conducts research to further understanding and development of antigen for Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (FMD) , assessing how the antigen effects the immune system and any correlation to the virulence of FMD. The results were published in:


The influence of virulence and antigenic structure of foot-and-mouth disease virus on the immunogenicity of vaccines prepared from them (Traub & Dinter 1946)


1945 – as the Russians close in on East Germany, Traub offers himself up to the West and meets with William A. Hagen for an interview and fills out a questionnaire for employment in the West, but due to his Nazi party affiliations (Air Raid Protection) he is refused employment in the West and endures the Russian occupation of Insel Riems.

1945 – Insel Riems is captured by the Russians who gained control of East Germany and took control of the Insel Riems facilities over the course of one night, when the Riems staff showed up to find the entire place chained up and were subsequently held under the authority of the Soviet Union as the facility was placed under the personal protection of Joseph Stalin. The former Reich scientists of Insel Riems were flipped to work for the Soviet Union in East Germany, which became the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik).


The entire staff of Insel Riems and Traub was interrogated along with his female technicians and asked about biological warfare preparations and if the animal crematory was used to dispose of human bodies. It is here that Traub would have been subject to Soviet blackmail for war crimes and flipped to the KGB, since Traub and Schäfer were constructing an avian/human influenza vaccine and most likely tested it on the forced labor present on Riems during the war.




2. War Crimes Aspect

The Russians undoubtedly showed a desire to find war criminals, especially in the interrogation of female laboratory assistants and other auxiliary staff of all kinds. They were asked principally about preparations for biological warfare. Inquiries were also made concerning research in human diseases, and whether the animal crematory was also used for the disposal of human bodies, The Russians allowed work to proceed in order to learn the current problems and laboratory methods.


Insel Riems continued operations shortly after its capture. The Russians now had Germany’s best bioweaponeers, such as Erich Traub, Heinz Röhrer, Gottfried Pyl, Zvonimir Dinter, Hubert Möhlmann, and many additional staff skilled in biological weapons, as well as having several production facilities like ASID-serumwerke, and could produce significant quantities of biological weapons.

1947 – Traub initiates a series of experiments in the immunization of swine erysipelas, (Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae), a bacterium similar to Brucella that causes severe septicemia and big red rashes in swine. Traub concentrated the antigen which were used for vaccines with a unique formulation that could not necessarily be reproduced by other researchers. The experiments were published in:


Immunization Against Swine Erysipelas with Concentrated Adsorbate Vaccines (Traub 1947)

1947 - Soviet Bioweaponeer M. P. Chumakov comes to Insel Riems twice to meet with Traub to obtain information on Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCM)


The Russians have ordered no specific work at the institute and have not assumed in any way its scientific direction, al though Russians come there continuously to collect information. Among the more notable Russian visitors is Professor Tschumakov [sic], Stalin Prize winner, from the Moscow In stitute for Research on Brain Disease. He came twice in 1947 to obtain information on choriomeningitis.

1948 – A congressional hearing to establish a foot-and-mouth disease laboratory is brought forth in Public Law 496, 80th Congress and there is a mention or reference to Traub implying that they wanted him there to lead it from the very beginning.

1948 – Traub publishes a follow-up paper on the earlier erysipelas experiments with concentrated erysipelas vaccine, published as the following:


Immunobiological Foundations of Active Immunization Against Swine Erysipelas with Concentrated Adsorbate Vaccines (Traub 1948)


1948 – Traub collaborates with Behringwerke scientist Bernard Schneider, and they publish their studies, which were begun during the war, and finally mapped out and published, whereby Traub used 10 strains of FMD in a chicken egg and alternated passages between egg and guinea-pigs, which the FMD was already adapted to.


The unique methodology proved that FMD could be grown in chicken eggs, when contemporary Western scientists deemed this unsuccessful. A follow-up paper was also published studying the process of infection in the eggs. The research studies were highlighted in:


Breeding the FMD Virus in Incubated Chicken Eggs (Traub & Schneider 1948a)


Infection of the Hatched Chicken Eggs with the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus (Traub & Schneider 1948b)


1948 – Traub starts a separate series of bacteriological experiments, much like the erysipelas, on Brucella abortus x bang bacterium, constructing a vaccine which he tested in white mice, likely with the addition of the avian influenza antigen to affect the interspecies transfer in adaptation of the bacterium to new hosts, while using the cover of vaccine research. The vaccines were highly immunosuppressive and not well tolerated. The research was published as:


Immunization of mice against Brucellosis with concentrated adsorbate vaccines (Traub 1948)

1948 – Traub makes his so-called "escape" from the Russian Zone with the help of British Intelligence and Soviet mole in MI6 Donald Maclean, escaping during his time lecturing as Professor at the University of Berlin, escaping with his lab technicians, his family, and other colleagues. He brings cultures of viruses and serum with him and is interviewed by British Intellience, and Traub tells them that he did not engage in biological warfare research.  He tells the British the most brazen lies – that neither he nor the Russians had any interest in biological weapons research, that Riems never conducted such experiments, despite American intelligence reports showing quite the contrary. The British Interview report states:


Professor Erich Traub

1. The above named scientist was interviewed on 17.7.48. The following points emerged.

2. TRAUB appears to be a very competent scientist, whose interests are narrowly connected with the problems of epizootic diseases of domestic animals, in particular of virus diseases. His published papers appear to be well up to Western European standards.

3. He states, probably truthfully, that he has never taken any interest in B.W., or been engaged in any work in this connection. When asked his private views as to the possibility of B.W. He answered that in his opinion Foot and Mouth virus could be used successfully against livestock, by scattering infected material on pastures or by saboteur methods. He knew of no experiments done in this connection, however.

4. The Russian scientists who were attached to RIEMS, or who visited the Establishment after its initial dismantling, were, in his opinion, concerned only with the veterinary aspect of the work, not with B.W. He thought that they were surprisingly well informed of world developments in their subject, and that they had a good mastery of technique.

5. Source could give no opinion as to the level of Soviet veterinary or microbiological publications, as, despite his efforts, he was unable to gain access to them, either by subscription, purchase or loan, at RIEMS or in BERLIN. Nor did the visiting Russians ever seem to have any Soviet scientific literature.

6. Following Professor WALDMANN'S disappearance from RIEMS, the entire staff were subjected to close interrogation by the M.V.D., Lasting a whole day. Nevertheless, no extraordinary security measures were taken to prevent further defection.

7. It is concluded that the RIEMS Inst. was not regarded by the Russians as being of defence importance, and that their interest was confined to its legitimate aspects. On these grounds, S.T.I.B. were advised that we no longer consider the Institute and its workers to be intelligence targets, and that its sole interest was in the future to be on the denial aspects.


1949 – A final paper published on atypical avian influenza from work that began during the war, and after Traub fled the Russian zone, they completed the work in West Germany. This was a collaborative project with several Riems scientists during the war, Werner Schäfer and Gerhard Schramm, a biochemist from the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute known for his work on Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), contracted through Behringwerke, to construct a human and avian influenza vaccine, and apparently may have mixed strains together in the adaptation process, creating strains with both avian and human influenza antigens adapted to mice and chicken eggs.


Studies on the Virus of Atypical Fowl Plague (Traub, Schäfer, Schramm 1949)


1949 – Traub writes a consensus paper of the current advances in animal virology up to the year 1949, and in this paper he talks about mouse passages and mouse adaptation being able to make viruses more neurotropic, able to destroy the brain and nerves, and also discusses dry-freezing of vaccine material, to be shipped to warm places, among other advances in animal virology, lists his address as Behringwerke AG. Marburg/Lahn, published in:


Advances in Active Immunization Against Animal Virus Diseases (Traub 1949)


1949 – Traub becomes an officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, giving him diplomatic immunity status under the United Nations international law.


1949 – Traub submits a report to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the 1949 Swiss FMD conference in Berne, Switzerland, and by this time, before his journey to the United States for a second time, the report was published as:


FAO Report - The Culture of FMDV in Chicken Embryo (Traub, FAO 1949)


1949 – Traub submits a report on Foot-and-Mouth Disease virus strains A and B to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), in the Italian language published as:


Identification and Classification of Type A and B Variations of FMD Virus with Deviation of Complement (Traub, FAO 1949)




1949 – Traub submits another FAO report on swine erysipelas adsorbate vaccines and admits that the horses used for serum were heavily infected by Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) virus, an AIDS virus of the horse, which Traub had worked on with Karl Beller during the war. The swine erysipelas report was published as:


Immunization Against Swine Erysipelas by Concentrated Adsorbate Vaccines (Traub, FAO 1949)


1950 – Traub starts his Navy work to weaponize over 40 pathogens and is place in the position of “Supervisory Bacteriologist” for the U.S. Navy and other outfits involved in the tripartite program, to supervise simulant and live agent tests around the United States, including Plum Island, Wisconsin, Florida, Kansas, and other testing sites. His former technical assistant Anne-Lise Burger is approved to work in the U.S. for Traub but never makes it over. However, it is in her file that we can see that Traub was to be working on over 40 strains of virus and rickettsia, linking him to work on tick-borne disease for the biological warfare program.

1951 – An intelligence estimate lays out exactly how Traub pulled off his penetration and sabotage operations for the KGB in America, in a report: 

National Intelligence Estimate: Soviet Capabilities for Clandestine Attack against the US with Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Vulnerability of the US to Such Attack (mid-1951 to mid- 1952), NIE- 31 (Washington, D.C., 1951) (Top Secret)


57. Many types of BW agents are well-suited for clandestine attack, and could be employed by the USSR even well in advance of D-Day as part of an over-all plan to impair the military effectiveness of the US. In contrast to clandestine attack with atomic and chemical weapons, clandestine employment of certain BW agents would entail much less risk of identification as enemy action.


a. Very small amounts of these agents would be required initially. Such amounts would be almost impossible to detect when being brought into this country under the cover of diplomatic immunity or through smuggling operations. In addition, it would not be difficult to have some BW agents procured and cultured locally by a trained bacteriologist who was immunized against and simply equipped to handle dangerous pathogens.


b. BW agents do not produce immediate symptoms and their effects are not apparent until hours or days after dissemination.


c. The results of some BW agents resemble natural out breaks of disease, and it would be difficult to connect clan destine employment of such agents with a hostile act

1951 – Erich Traub is sent to Bogóta, Colombia, for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, to set up and run a Foot-and-Mouth Disease laboratory, including work with other diseases, while Rockefeller is funding virus research in Colombia.


They also collaborate with Traub’s former Insel Riems and Behringwerke AG colleague, Bernhard Schneider, and his technical assistant, Anne-Lise Bürger, who marries Bernhard Schneider and together they adapt other Variants of FMD to chicken eggs, collaborate with tests conducted in Venezuela, and publish 3 key papers, one of which looks at the ability of FMD to infect human beings, published as:

Schneider, B. & A. L. Schneider. Cultivation of the foot-and-mouth disease type A (Vallée) virus in the hatched chicken egg. Mhefte prakt. Tierhk. 3, 206. (1951)

Schneider, B. & W. Kosch. Testing and differentiation of a foot and mouth disease Strain from Venezuela. Berl. munch. tierärzl wschr., vol. 36:36-38, 1951


Schneider, B. A contribution to the diagnosis of foot and mouth disease in humans.. Berl. Munch. Tierärztl. Wochensch. 7: 131-133, (1951).

It is noteworthy that Traub is taking trips back and forth between Colombia and the United States in parallel with the migratory bird patterns. This was because they were tracking the use of migratory birds where migratory birds can act as vectors to spread weaponized ticks, mites, and arthropods, and biological weapons to enemy targets. 

Traub duplicates his German research adapting FMD to chick embryos for a rapid adaptation method that can be standardized. This was done for the Navy as well as the Colombian government, under the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and was presented to the FMD conference in Rome in 1953, and published separately for the Navy, as well as in German journals for those in Tübingen:


Experiments with Chick-Embryo-Adapted Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus and a Method for the Rapid Adaptation (Traub & Capps NM 005 048.11.06)

It is in this publication that we can see that Werner Schafer had sent Traub cultures of freeze-dried FMD from West Germany, and these cultures were so heavily contaminated with a certain kind of bacteria that heavy doses of antibiotics could not eliminate them:

Unfortunately, the eggs in the fourth serial passage were heavily contaminated with bacteria which killed the embryos within a few hours after inoculation. We were unable to eliminate these organisms due to the fact thatour supply of filter candles, which could not be purchased locally, was exhausted and the bacteria resisted treatment with heavy doses of penicillin and streptomycin.

1951 (September) – Traub returns to the Northeast United States in time to supervise simulant tests on Plum Island conducting work at Plum Island releasing ticks in the biological simulant program. They were claiming to release insects infected with harmless tracer bacteria that they could track and assess how it spreads out. A source who worked on Plum Island told Michael C. Carroll for his book Lab 257: Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory :


A source who worked on Plum Island in the 1950s recalls that animal handlers and a scientist released ticks outdoors on the island. “They called him the Nazi scientist, when they came in, in 1951 – they were inoculating these ticks,” and a picture he once saw “shows the animal handler pointing to the area on Plum where they released the ticks.

Interestingly, the Long Island Biological Association is listed with contracts for the biological warfare program at this time, showing that activity was being conducted there at the time of Traub's return to the East Coast as the birds were about to start flying south.

1951 – Traub works on a series of Newcastle Disease Virus experiments, the first two looking at different ways to propagate the virus and remain viable for dispersal. The third would assess the effect for immune tolerance and “stabilization” of the virus in chicken and mammalian blood, of which defibrinated human blood was used. These would be used to test feather bombs laced with infected chicken blood over farms in Wisconsin and likely other facilities. They were published in:


Studies on the in vitro Multiplication of Newcastle Disease Virus in Chicken Blood. I. Virus Growth in Relation to Amount and Kind of Seed Virus, Time of Incubation and Number of Cells. (Traub & Capps 1951, NM 005 048.11.01)


Studies on the in vitro Multiplication of Newcastle Disease Virus in Chicken Blood. II. Cultivation of the Virus in Leucocyte Suspensions. II. Cultivation of the Virus in Leucocytes. (Traub & Capps 1951 NM 005 048.11.02)


Studies on the in vitro Multiplication of Newcastle Disease Virus in Chicken Blood. III. A Stabilizing Substance for Newcastle Disease Virus Present in Chicken and Mammalian Blood. (Traub & Capps 1951, NM 005 048.11.03)


Studies on the mechanism of immunity of chickens to Newcastle Disease Virus. I. Investigation of the Possible Role of Cellular Factors (Traub & Capps 1951, NM 005 048.11.04)

1951-1952 – American planes begin dropping bug and feather bombs and other infectious munitions on North Korea, which had been developed with Traub and other Nazis like Theodor Benzinger in the American biological warfare program. Captured pilots from the planes shot down confessed to dropping the bombs and the West denied it, claiming the pilots were forcefully brainwashed and the CIA then initiated their extensive mind control programs like MKULTRA based on these claims.


1952 – After turning down the top positions to lead Plum Island, along with the defection of Donald Maclean to Moscow, who helped get Traub to the United States, Traub is interrogated by CIC agent Dan Benjamin, and trips Traub up in lie about his past, and Traub subsequently confesses and admits to being a double agent of the KGB. They send Traub back to Colombia until further notice. Months later he is called back to be repatriated to Germany.

1953 – The USDA holds an important poultry conference on biological warfare,  attended by Plum Island directors M. S. Shahan and George Cottral, they discuss biological warfare and show that several attacks had already occurred. In the conference they refer to Foreign Animal Diseases of Special Significance, with the vague term “special” being a watchword for biological weapons, as they are sometimes termed special weapons and special agents of biological warfare, and so these foreign animal diseases of special significance means biological warfare agents. In this conference, they spoke about the attacks that had just occurred, explaining exactly what Traub had just done, but they speak of it as something they need to defend against in the future:  

It must be remembered that in addition to this normal peacetime menace there is the current biological warfare threat dealing with the possibility of the deliberate introduction and spread of disease. The willful introduction of disease into this country can cause many problems. An enemy can select the host, disease, time and place. He can also distribute unusually large numbers of organisms and pests, utilize more effective methods of dissemination, as well as unusual portals of entry. An enemy can increase the problem by using several agents of similar diseases, simultaneously. The combining of disease agents of different types might produce more than one disease in the individual host with contradictory symptoms and varying incubation periods. Such combinations might even act synergistically to make others more effective.

Unfortunately, there are a number of animal diseases, native and foreign, benign and highly fatal, that present similar symptoms, all of which increase the diagnostic problems. It is important that we keep this in mind. The presence or the suspected presence of one of these diseases that may be thought of as only a common endemic disease may in reality be masking a more serious foreign animal disease.  

I believe that records indicate that several foreign poultry diseases have gained entrance into this country by the importation of undeclared laboratory cultures, from smuggled birds, and from importing insect vectors and birds during the carrier stage or during the incubation period. We also know that raw garbage, contaminated feeds and veterinary biologics have been factors in spreading disease in this country. 

They state further: 

Enemy airplanes could try to spread disease to farm animals and poultry by using bombs or spray tanks modified to create clouds of the infectious agents over limited targets or to blanket large areas. Aircraft and balloons could launch similar attacks using a wide variety of devices. More likely, however, attacks against farm animals would be carried out by secret acts of sabotage.  

Sabotage would certainly be conducted at livestock and poultry concentration centers such as stockyards, railroad terminals, sales barns, hatcheries, biological plants, feed production plants or feed mixing establishments. It is conceivable that a clever saboteur might use biological products as a means of spreading destructive diseases to this country’s poultry population. 

They list the following special agents of particular concern: 

fowl plague virus, Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), avian spirochetosis (Borrelia anserina), avian malaria (Plasmodium gallinaceum, Plasmodium lophurae), Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEE), ornithosis (chlamydia pneumoniae, psittacosis) and botulism. 

Here is where we have the first and only admission that Borrelia anserina was being monitored as a biological weapon. It was the agent that was weaponized into Borrelia burgdorferi, as it is the parent strain that gave rise to Lyme disease, proven later in the following journals:

Shared flagellar epitopes of Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia anserina

A morphological characterization of Borrelia anserina


Birds were the reservoir that spread Lyme disease far and wide, and much later it was shown that Lyme disease is carried and spread by many birds, thus proving it was from the avian spirochetosis:


Birds Play an Important Role in the Spread of Lyme Disease, Yale Study Finds

It is interesting to note that we have admission of Borrelia anserina in biological warfare in this 1953 USDA conference, that these special agents had already gained entry into the country, due to “the importation of undeclared laboratory cultures, from smuggled birds, and from importing insect vectors and birds during the carrier stage or during the incubation period.”  

Traub utilized many of the clever methods described in the conference:


1. "the importation of undeclared laboratory cultures, from smuggled birds, and from importing insect vectors and birds during the carrier stage or during the incubation period.”

Traub had been sent cultures of FMD from Werner Schäfer back in Germany while Traub is in Colombia, which had been so heavily contaminated with bacteria that heavy doses of antibiotics could not eliminate them.

2. It is conceivable that a clever saboteur might use biological products as a means of spreading destructive diseases to this country’s poultry population.

Traub then used those undeclared cultures to vaccinate poultry in Colombia and in the United States. 

3. An enemy can increase the problem by using several agents of similar diseases, simultaneously.

Traub used a cocktail of tickborne disease agents to produce the complex disease that he was studying in 1939 with Karl Beller, particularly, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, and Borrelia anserina.

Following this conference, there is a total blackout of research on Borrelia anserina by Plum Island and the USDA. The lack of any research on Borrelia anserina and Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) by Plum Island is itself highly suspect, because Plum Island was set up to investigate foreign animal diseases, especially those with zoonotic potential. That means Plum Island should have been heavily involved in its research but there is not so much of a mention of it in any Plum Island work from that point forward.  

Lastly, here we can show that the biological sabotage unleashed by Traub and other saboteurs had already occurred, that Lyme disease was already being monitored by the USDA in connection with biological warfare, before Willy Burgdorfer was able to sign onto biodefense work in 1954, and spent the first few years of this work in Montona. It was not Burgdorfer's weapons, they were Traub's.

1953 – back in West Germany, Traub continues his set of Newcastle Disease Studies as he returns to Germany, in which he sought to explain the factors behind immune tolerance that allowed the virus to maintain itself in host and host tissue, published as:


Studies on the Mechanism of Immunity of Chickens to Newcastle Disease Virus. II. Experiments Concerning the Mode of Action of Antibodies (Traub & Capps 1953, NM 005 048.11.05)


1954 – Traub concludes his Newcastle Disease Virus studies for the Navy, with a final paper on the promoting effect of limited irradiation, which uses radiation or UV radiation to inactivate the virus, but he found if not fully inactivated, would cause 5-fold more replication than normal conditions. Experiments were set up in Tübingen:


A booster effect of irradiated or formolized Newcastle Disease Virus Upon the Infectivity of Active Virus in the Presence of Chicken Blood (Traub & Capps 1954, NM 005 048.11.07)


1954 – Traub presents a report to the FAO on the use of infected vegetable products as vectors of FMD, which is originally thought to be restricted to certain animals. However, Gerhard Schramm and Insel Riems had been doing considerable work on Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), which in recent times has been used to express pathogenic viruses of human and animal varieties. This report was originally published in the French language, submitted to the FAO as:


Vegetable Products as Vectors of FMD Virus. (Traub 1954)

1955 – Traub continues research on Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus with temporary technical assistant Lore Hilmer. The research was done in coordination for the U.S. Navy from the Bundesforschungsanstalt für Viruskrankheiten der Tier (Federal Research Institute for Virus Disease of Animals) in Tübingen, published as:


Different Thermo-resistance of the American Equine Encephalitis Virus in the Viremic Phase in Artificially Infected Mice (Traub 1955)

1955 – Traub collaborates with Eva Rezcko, biodefense researcher in West Germany, to assess the therapeutic effect of Salvarsan and neosalvarsan on influenza virus in chickens, of which there was no therapeutic effect, furthermore, caused an acceleration of infection rather than inhibition. This was probably expected, and Traub was likely hoping to assess the action of antibiotics, given for agents like spirochetosis, even though he knew they reactivated viruses in the majority and wanted to see the effect of antibiotics during the course of treatment, which made the condition worse. Results were published in:


On the Effects of Salvarsan on the Influenza Infection in Chick Embryos (Traub & Reczko 1955)


1956 – Traub begins studies to study the potential transmission of EEE through physical contact and shedding of virus through body fluids and mucous membranes and the airborne route. For these studies, Traub finds a new permanent female technical assistant, Friedel Kesting, the former technical assistant to Insel Riems and IG Farbenindustrie biochemist, Gottfried Pyl, before and during the war. She would become Traub’s dedicated assistant, working with him for the remainder of his life and research. This paper, was the first to discuss the spread of EEE through avian and arthropod vectors, and also showed the relation to later infections like Kuru through cannibalism, since the laboratory mice would sometimes eat their cage mates, and especially infant mice. The results were published in:


About Excretion of E.E.E. Virus and the Occasional Occurrence of Contact Infections of Certain Species in Mice (Traub & Kesting 1956)

1956 - In a USDA conference relative to biological defense, Proceedings of the 1956 Regional Meetings on Foreign Animal Diseases, they acknowledge the use of migratory birds as vectors to spread biological weapons:


Migratory birds have been incriminated in a number of cases as a means of introducing and spreading disease. Outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in England have been associated with the flight or the presence of birds from the European continent. The fact that birds are considered a reservoir for the encephalidities [sic] makes them an ever present potential source of this infection so that migratory birds may be looked upon as another means for the introduction and spread of disease

At this same conference, Pentagon official Col. Frank A. Todd spoke about the fact that the line between human and animal disease blurs when it comes to biological warfare, supporting the fact that Erich Traub had been making a fine art of bioengineering animal diseases and adapting them to new hosts like humans:

We are becoming more aware of the fact that most disease agents may affect or may reside in several host species and that this may be accomplished by the organism selectively adapting itself to new hosts. This emphasizes the complicated problems associated with animal disease control and preventive medicine. These facts should also remind us that the approaches to disease control and preventive medicine are very seldom accomplished on a single species basis and that these problems cannot be immediately nor [definitively placed] into areas of human or veterinary medicine

1956 – Traub is an honored guest at the 1956 opening of Plum Island and conference Proceedings of symposium on vesicular diseases : Plum Island Animal Disease Laboratory September 27-28, 1956, further showing why Plum Island's total lack of research on avian spirochetosis (Borrelia anserina, which became Borrelia burgdorferi) is out of step with their stated aims and objectives:

In developing control programs it is important to know more about the effect of wild animals and birds as reservoirs of disease agents and parasites affecting livestock and poultry. In developing control programs for disease, standards for diagnostic procedures should be determined for all serious infections as well as tools to cover new disease conditions which arise.


1956 – Traub sums up his earlier Navy work that continued in Tübingen, with some new insights and reiteration of earlier observances, comparing the action of Newcastle Disease with a chronic course, comparable to lysogenic phages, called proviruses, whereby the virus or phage does not destroy the bacteria, but replicates as the bacterial cell replicates, like true parasitism. The results were published as:


Experimental Studies on the Immunity of Chickens to Atypical Avian Influenza (Newcastle Disease) (Traub 1956)


1957 – Traub furthers work done during the war, looking at the airborne transmission of FMD. However, his conclusion was in contrast to their successful use of droplets and mists and instead noted the airborne transmission in animal stalls, with the result that it was unsuccessful. This paper was published as:


Comment on the Question of Experimental Spreading of Foot-and-Mouth- Disease (FMD) Virus in the Air (Traub & Wittman 1957)


1958 – Traub and Wilhelm Schwöbel publish their work on the freezing effects of FMD grown in swine kidney cells, as well as the poor response of pig antibodies to FMD in swine, published as:


Experiences in the breeding of foot-and-mouth disease virus in porcine kidney cells with special regard to the freezing capacity of the culture virus (Traub & Schwöbel 1958)


Attempt to Clarify the Reasons for Poor Immunogenicity of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Swine (Traub & Schwöbel 1958)


1958 – Along with Wilhelm Schwöbel, Traub conducts studies to assess EEE virus detection in tissues cultures in attempt to make cell culture propagation and vaccine standardization more well-defined in light of the SV40 problem, in this case, Traub assesses using mice as experimental material for diagnostic evaluation of contaminant EEE virus in tissues and cell cultures which are used for production of vaccines, as well as models for in vitro laboratory research, published in:


On the Value of Intracerebral Mouse Inoculation and Tissue Culture as Methods for Detecting Smallest Quantities of EEE Virus in Tissue (Traub & Schwöbel 1958)


1958 – Traub collaborates with Werner Uhlmann to further map out the testing of FMD vaccines in white mice, to further study the neurotropic effects of mouse-adapted FMD, as well as a cheap system to test the effective potencies of FMD vaccines, published in:


Trials Testing Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccines on White Mice (Traub & Uhlmann 1958)

1958 – Traub fills out a security application for the FBI to visit American shores and in it we can see that Trraub was in fact employed at the Greenport, Long Island station of the USDA which is Plum Island) as a chief scientist for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and cites Public Law 496 80th Congress as his reason for the appointment for the position. 


1958 – Traub attends a large conference of symposiums published as Recent Progress in Microbiology: Symposia held at the VIIth International Congress for Microbiology in Stockholm, Sweden. Traub participated in the fourth conference out of six, discussing LCM and EEE virus and immunity, published as part of:


Symposium IV: International Conference on Latency and Virus Masking (1958)


1958 – Traub starts a study to further understand the slow-virus infection over the course of a lifetime in white mice, by observing the neurotropic, immunosuppressive effect of EEE and its relation to immune tolerance, much like LCM virus, and published as:


On the Course of Infection with EEE Virus and the Development of Active Immunity in Adult Mice (Traub 1958)


1958 – An investigation is opened up on Erich Traub and his Vice President, Hans Melz, and the mismanagement of the Federal Institute for Virus Diseases of Animals (Bundesforschungsanstalt für Viruskrankheiten der Tiere) in Tübingen, misdirection of federal money, fake vacation outings, bribery, and sexual misconduct. Lower management employees Emil Geiss and Otto Weiss had reported them after being let go without explanation, after a female employee Miss Hahn reported sexual misconduct to the Stuttgart police against Hans Melz. Soon much deeper misconduct would be discovered.


1959 (January) - Traub begins a long series of studies to assess the immunology of EEE in white mice, likely as a model of neurotropic effect of EEE in the mouse nervous system and brain, in an effort to mirror those in human cases, with the cheapest materials possible. The first paper would assess the effect of immune serum and its interactions with the virus, published as:


On the Immunity of White Mice to EEE-Virus. I. Effect of Immune Serum in vivo (Traub 1956)


1959 (March) - The second study on the immunology of EEE in white mice was conducted with colleague Wilhelm Schwöbel, which made a careful study of EEE in tissue cultures of animal cells used in biopharmaceuticals and vaccines, among other things, published as:


On the Immunity of white mice to eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus. II. Studies in tissue culture (Traub & Schwöbel 1959a)


1959 (August) - Traub’s third report in the series of immunity studies of EEE in white mice, together with colleague Wilhelm Schwöbel, sought to establish that infections were ongoing even in those considered “immune” or having no apparent disease, published as:


On the Immunity of White Mice to EEE-Virus. III. Experiments Proving Active Virus or Viral Antigen in the Organs of Immune Mice (Traub & Schwöbel 1959b)


1960 – In light of the 1960 Nobel Prize being given to Burnet and Medawar for their separate work on immunological processes relevant to the term coined by Burnet as “immune tolerance,” Traub publishes a most revealing paper on LCM virus, in which describes the chronic disease state so close to what is taking place in many people across the Western world today.


This would explain why the infected are not recognized as infected, because many of the disease agents and resulting conditions suppress the immune system and fail to produce antibodies, and the entire disease process takes a slow, chronic course, many times just as painful and agonizing, but the bloodwork is essentially normal and told it is just a figment of their imagination and this is usually followed up with the label “Somatoform disorder,” with suggestions for psychiatric treatment instead of the condition they aren’t picking up due to stealth infections and virus reactivation.


This work, perhaps more than any other paper Traub has published, demonstrates the existence of severe infections without any abnormal blood tests and negative for antibodies:

Observations on Immunological Tolerance and “Immunity” in Mice Infected Congenitally with the Virus of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM) (Traub 1960)


Mice infected in utero with LCM virus carry large amounts of active virus in their blood and organs for many months and discharge considerable quantities of the agent with their secretions and excretions (11). This observation indicates continuous multiplication of the virus in the organs of such animals, which look like normal individuals in spite of their chronic infection. Intrauterine infection leads to a stable equilibrium between virus and body. It was also observed that mice infected in utero would develop practically no specific antibodies, while the sera of mature mice infected experimentally or by contact at least gave positive complement-fixation (CF) tests (9, 14).


Attempts to demonstrate neutralizing antibodies in the sera of such animals using customary techniques gave essentially negative results (for references see 13). More sensitive methods, however, have made the demonstration of such antibodies possible (7), Recent experiments have shown that their titer is relatively low and their antiviral action exceptionally slow (13). The failure to recognize this fact no doubt accounts for the negative results obtained earlier by different investigators.


1960 – Traub sets up further studies to assess the factors involved in LCM viral infections in relation to antibody response. He improves serum research similar to the experiments he had conducted with Schafer much earlier in 1939. The results in this paper still maintained a low antibody response, and a tendency to lack an immune response to the virus. This was published as:


Demonstration, Properties and Significance of Neutralizing Antibodies in Mature Mice Immune to Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM) (Traub 1960)


1961 (March) – Three follow-up studies are published from Traub’s series on immunology of EEE infections in white mice, with the fourth report looking directly at the constructs of actively immunized mice, or, directly immunized by injection. Traub’s fifth report of the immunity studies of EEE in white mice, studied the effect of passively immunized mice, that is to say, mice that were infected through another mouse, either by contact, congenital transmission, or by cannibalism.


Traub’s sixth paper was published with his assistant Friedel Kesting, former IG Farben and Insel Riems technical assistant to Gottfried Pyl. The sixth report studied the change in antibody titer of the serum used following formolized vaccine administration. These studies were published as:


On the Immunity of White Mice to EEE-Virus. IV. Experiments with Active Immunity in Mice. (Traub 1961)


On the Immunity of White Mice to EEE-Virus. V. Experiments with Passive Immunity in Mice (Traub 1961)


On the Immunity of White Mice to EEE-Virus. VI. Movement of the Antibody Level of the Serum After Immunization with Live Virus or Formol Vaccine (Traub & Kesting 1961)


1961 (September) - The final two reports in the series Immunity of White Mice to EEE-Virus were concluded, with Traub’s argument that some viral infections of man do not elicit antibody response and acts much like the lysogenic cycle of phages, which do not destroy bacteria but integrate into their genome and cause true parasitism.


On the Immunity of White Mice to EEE-Virus. VII. Further Investigations of the Role of Interference in Cerebral Immunity (Traub 1961)    


On the Immunity of White Mice to EEE-Virus. VIII. Summarizing Discussion (Traub 1961)    

1961 – Traub conducted studies that brought together the two viruses he had most experience with, EEE and LCM virus, conducting a set of experiments in the interference phenomenon, where a second virus wipes out a pre-existing infection from a different virus. EEE had noted ability for interference, and the work was published as:  


Interference with Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) Virus in the Brains of Mice Immune to Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM) (Traub 1961)         


1961 – Traub further studied the effect of LCM virus on cells and their promotion of tolerance or immunosuppression, and the complex relationships involved in the immune system and congenital transmission from the mother, published as:  


Multiplication of LCM Virus in Lymph Node and Embryo Cells from Non-tolerant and Tolerant Mice (Traub 1961)     


1961 – Traub further studies his observations during the war, that the LCM virus being transmitted congenitally for generations had much higher rates of leukemia and lymphomatosis. He had already noted this when he was still at the Rockefeller Institute, and at Giessen he worked exclusively on the carcinogenic nature of LCM being passed through generations. The follow-up study was for the Federal Research Center for Virus Diseases of Animals in Tübingen published as:  


Can LCM Virus Cause Lymphomatosis in Mice? (Traub 1961)     


1963 - Building off earlier studies on EEE virus interference phenomena in LCM virus infections, Traub widens the approach to include other different strains of LCM virus (“homologous”) as well as strains of Vesicular Stomatitis. All had an interferon effect to some degree, more pronounced in different strains of LCM, less so in vesicular stomatitis, which also had a cytotoxic effect of lymph node cells. Results were summarized and published as:   


Experiments on Heterologous and Homologous Interference in LCM-infected Cultures of Murine Lymph Nodes (Traub 1963)      


1963 – Traub concludes his sequence of studies on the action of LCM virus in murine cells, and the implications of the lack of antibody responses in systemic viral infections shed throughout the lifetime of the infected animals. The results were published as:   


Further Observations on the Behavior of the Cells in Murine LCM (Traub 1963)     


1963 – The Tübingen investigation finds President Erich Traub and Vice-President Hans Melz, of the Federal Institute for Virus Diseases of Animals (Bundesforschungsanstalt für Viruskrankheiten der Tiere), guilty of misconduct, misdirection of large sums of federal money unaccounted, likely through the trafficking of germs and embezzlement, with Hanz Melz receiving four years in federal prison, while Traub was initially recommended four months in federal prison, but was communed with a hefty fine. Traub steps down as President and leaves for Iran, while Deputy Anton Mayr takes over as President.     


1963-1966 – Traub leaves Germany for a 3-5 year mission at the Razi Institute for Serum and Vaccines in Tehran, Iran for the Food-and-Agriculture Organization (FAO) to set them up with an FMD lab, with Traub’s assistance and expertise, which likely assisted their dual-use capabilities as a facility for vaccines, serum, and bioweapons.     

1963 – Erich Traub teaches the Iranians the process for freeze-drying the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus with low temperatures. The process of lyophilization or freeze-drying has earlier been shown to bring a high potential for delayed reactivation, bringing dual-use capabilities. It was published in:

Lyophilizing the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus at Low Drying Temperatures (Traub 1967)

1966 – Traub concludes his several years at the Razi Institute studying the ability for the Iranian strains of FMD to spread freely, unhampered by mass vaccination. This has usually been the case, as the virus undergoes antigenic variation so rapidly.


He published a summarizing report of his trip in the following FAO report, together with Abbas Shafyi:  


Serological Variation of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus in Iran (1963-1966) (Traub & Shafyi 1966)  

1966 - Erich Traub returns to Germany and through his former colleague and friend Anton Mayr, Traub is able to continue researching at the University of Münich despite his earlier disgrace and stepping down from the Federal Institute for Viral Diseases of Animals in Tübingen. 


1967 – Traub collaborates with G. K. Kanhai on the effect of FMD in different animal cell types, with emphasis on interspecies adaptation. The first report looks at the different animal cell types and their susceptibilities to FMD, while the second report looked at the factors involved that made them more or less susceptible to FMD, their affinities for certain organs, animals, etc., and were published as:   


Behavior in Cattle of Iranian Strains of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus subjected to Serial Passage in Different Kinds of Cells. (Traub & Kanhai 1967)  


Behavior of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus on Serial Passage in Different Kinds of Cells. A Contribution to Experimental Epidemiology at Cell Level. (Traub & Kanhai 1967)     


1968 – Traub conducts research into the indirect complement-binding fixation test of mice after vaccination with FMD vaccine. They noted anti-complementary properties, which would be consistent with immunosuppression. Results were published as:  


Indirect Complement-binding with Mouse Serum After Protective Vaccination with Monovalent Foot-and Mouth Disease Vaccine (Traub & Bechmann 1968)     


1969 – Traub carries out a study to compare the testing of efficacy of FMD vaccines in mice rather than cattle, for cost effectiveness, published in:  


A Simple Potency Test for Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccines in Mice and Comparison of Results with those of Potency Tests in Cattle (Traub, Thein & Kesting 1969)    


1969 – Traub studies the effect of trivalent FMD vaccines in mice, and the response of antibodies, published in:  


Antibody Response in Mice Inoculated with Monovalent and Trivalent FMD Vaccines  (Traub & Bechmann 1969)   


1970 – Traub and a handful of other noteworthy virologists propose a new class of viruses for the group that includes LCM, Lassa Fever, Machupo virus, among others, first proposed as the Arenovirus. It was later changed to Arenaviruses to avoid confusion with Adenovirus, but at this time they had settled on Arenovirus, published as:  


Arenoviruses proposed name for a newly defined virus group (Traub et al. 1970)   


1970-71 – Traub extends the indirect complement fixation test to study the response in cattle and sheep, with an additional study for cattle in the field, from serum obtained through the Razi Institute of Serum and Vaccines, in Tehran, Iran, published as:   


Indirect Complement Fixation in Foot-and-Mouth Disease. I. Study of Antibody Response in Experimental Cattle and Sheep (Traub, Hessami & Shafyi 1970)  


Indirect Complement Fixation in Foot-and-Mouth Disease. II. Screening of Cattle Serums (Traub, Hessami & Shafyi 1971)

1972 – Traub participates in the 1972 Foot-and-Mouth Disease Conference in Rome, Italy, presenting a technical report from his mission in Turkey, where he assisted in the setup and guidance of FMD procedures, much like his mission in Iran, published in:  


Turkey: Vaccine Production. Assistance to the Foot and Mouth Disease Institute, Ankara, for the Production of Vaccine and the Training of Personnel. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, 1972. (Traub 1972)   


1972 – In a conference proceeding on LCM organized by John Hotchin, Fritz Lehmann-Grube, and Cedric A. Mims, attended by several other LCM researchers, Traub is invited to be the guest speaker to present the introductory speech, as one of the pioneers and co-discoverers of the LCM virus, Traub presents the history of LCM since his early days at Rockefeller. Traub noed the ability for ticks to spread LCM infections. The speech was prepared and published in:   


LCM Virus Research, Retrospect and Prospects (Traub 1972) from the conference and monograph, Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus and Other Arenaviruses Symposium held at the Heinrich-Pette-Institut für experimentelle Virologie und Immunologie, Universitat Hamburg October 16-18, 1972 (Springer-Verlag 1973)  


1974 – Traub's former student and Iranian protege G. K. Kanhai uses Traub's method for adaptation by adapting a Babesia-like blood parasite of cattle (Theileria parva) to a new host in hamsters when it didn't previously infect hamsters. It is published in:


Cell fusion, using Sendai virus, to effect inter-species transfer of a cell-associated parasite (Theileria parva) (Kanhai et al.)


1975 – Around the time the Lyme disease outbreak is publicly acknowledged, Traub is researching the late onset of chronic LCM infections and their tumor incidence, studied in different stocks of mice, mirroring the chronic viral infections set off by spirochetes, published in two series as:  


Observations on “Late onset disease” and Tumor Incidence in Different Strains of Laboratory Mice infected Congenitally with LCM Virus I. Experiments with Random-bred NMRI Mice. (Traub 1975a)  


Observations on “Late onset disease” and Tumor Incidence in Different Strains of Laboratory Mice infected Congenitally with LCM Virus. II. Experiments with Inbred CBA/J mice (Traub 1975b)     


1976 – Traub begins a study of viral antigen from the brains of mice inoculated with strains of LCM virus. The brain antigen produced more robust immune responses than extracts of spleen and kidneys. This is consistent with the immune tolerant condition, where low-grade encephalitis produces constant headaches when outwardly there are no definitive signs of illness. The results were published in:


Age Distribution and Serological Reactivity of Viral Antigen in Brains of Mice Infected Congenitally with LMC Virus (Traub 1976)     


1976 – Traub studies the effect of different diets on the development of kidney disease (glomuronephritis) in chronically infected stocks of mice with LCM virus. The eventual conclusion was that mice fed poor diets and ate less survived longer, published in:   


Influence of Feeding on Development of Nephritis and on Breeding Efficiency in Mice Infected Congenitally with Different Strains of LMC Virus (Traub 1976)     


1980 – Traub studies more deeply the effect of antibody formation in chronically infected mice, after other researchers contested the validity of immune tolerance because they found limited antibodies in the kidneys of mice. Traub explained this as the result of antigenic variation, where new plasmids are presented to keep the immune system in a state of continual exhaustion, chasing with a slight increase in antibodies against new plasmids before the viral antigen is switched up again, keeping what functional immune system is left, chasing the wind. The results were published in:   


Serological Evidence for Antigenic Variation in Brains of Mice Infected Persistently with the Virus of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (Traub 1980)     


1981 – Traub's final paper, a study of specific antibodies to LCM virus in chronically infected mice, was an assessment of the factors behind the formation of new antibodies to LCM during a long-term chronic infection, published as:   


Factors Influencing Specific Antibody Formation in Mice Persistently Infected with LCM virus. (Traub 1981)     

1985 – Erich Traub passed away quietly in his sleep on May 17, 1985. He was buried next to Blanka’s parents. Blanka was later buried next to Erich Traub after her death in 2002, and their son Walter would join them after his death in 2009.       

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