Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Leave the Holocaust out of Your Abortion Debate

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Leave the Holocaust out of Your Abortion Debate

Article excerpt

Before World War II, Dr. Gisella Perl was a successful and renowned gynecologist in her Romanian town. In 1944, after the Nazis invaded, she was sent to Auschwitz. But becoming a prisoner did not mean that Perl ever stopped being a doctor. On the contrary, she was conscripted to work with Josef Mengele, who determined which incoming prisoners would be immediately murdered in the gas chambers upon arrival to Auschwitz, who would be sent to hard, fruitless labor, and who would join his vicious "medical research" and be subjected to his "experiments." Dr. Mengele tortured his victims, including children and pregnant women, with freezing baths, chemical injections, starvation, and unimaginably violent deaths.

But rather than join Mengele in his butchery, Perl saved the lives of hundreds of pregnant women, defying orders to report them to Mengele. In doing so, she was protecting a uniquely vulnerable population: During the Holocaust, pregnant women were sent to gas chambers upon arrival at concentration camps. …

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