Medicine and Medical Ethics in Nazi Germany: Origins, Practices, Legacies

Medicine and Medical Ethics in Nazi Germany: Origins, Practices, Legacies

Medicine and Medical Ethics in Nazi Germany: Origins, Practices, Legacies

Medicine and Medical Ethics in Nazi Germany: Origins, Practices, Legacies

Synopsis

The participation of German physicians in medical experiments on innocent people and mass murder is one of the most disturbing aspects of the Nazi era and the Holocaust. Six distinguished historians working in this field are addressing the critical issues raised by these murderous experiments, such as the place of the Holocaust in the larger context of eugenic and racial research, the motivation and roles of the German medical establishment, and the impact and legacy of the eugenics movements and Nazi medical practice on physicians and medicine since World War II.

Based on the authors' original scholarship, these essays offer an excellent and very accessible introduction to an important and controversial subject. They are also particularly relevant in light of current controversies over the nature and application of research in human genetics and biotechnology.

Excerpt

The first five essays in this volume are based on the lectures given by five internationally renowned scholars at the Miller Symposium on the theme of “German Medicine and Ethics under National Socialism,” held at the University of Vermont in April 2000. in the fall of 1998, several members of the advisory board of the Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont, most prominently Professor Emeritus Arthur Kunin, M.D., initiated plans for a symposium centered on issues and controversies related to the practice of medicine, the medical profession, and medical ethics in the years of the Third Reich.

Established with the goal of honoring the scholarly and pedagogical contributions of Professor Raul Hilberg, who served on the faculty of the University of Vermont for more than three decades, the Center for Holocaust Studies remains committed to furthering the cause of Holocaust education and serving as a forum for the presentation and discussion of new perspectives on the history of Nazi Germany and its crimes. As is so often the case, our exploration of controversial and insufficiently charted territory in the history of National Socialism and its crimes begins, and returns to, the orientation and compass that Professor Hilberg’s pioneering work in the field provides.

The Miller Symposium was one such effort and, with the support and cooperation of the University of Vermont College of Medicine, was designed to address several of the most critical issues in the study of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Among these issues are the place of the Holocaust in the larger context of eugenic and racial research; the motivations and roles of some of the most important perpetrators of Nazi crimes, namely, the German scientific and medical establishment; the forms of racial and medical research undertaken with the support of and in the name of the Nazi state; the multiplicity of victims of Nazi persecution and murder; and the impact and legacy of the eugenics . . .

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