Speech given by the President of the
Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science
on the occasion of the opening of the symposium entitled
“Biomedical Sciences and Human Experimentation at
Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes–The Auschwitz Connection”
Berlin, 7 June 2001
(Date of release: Thursday, 7 June 2001, 1:00 P.M.)
The role played by science during the Nazi dictatorship is one of the many chapters of Germany’s past that remains insufficiently unveiled up to the present day. This also holds for the Kaiser Wilhelm Society as predecessor of the Max Planck Society. The symposium entitled “Biomedical Sciences and Human Experimentation at Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes—The Auschwitz Connection” taking place this afternoon and tomorrow is part of a research program based on selected instances and scientifically examining the actions of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and its scientists during the period of National Socialism. This symposium is therefore part of the Max Planck Society’s efforts through the tool of historical research to unreservedly reveal all the facts about its history, thereby shedding light on the dark chapters of its own past. We must be prepared as well—no matter how painful it may be, and even precisely because it hurts—to accept the truth and face up to our responsibility to learn for the present and the future from insight into the past. We owe that above all to the victims of National Socialist ideology. We owe it to the many who perished as much as we do to the few survivors.
Source: The Max Planck Society, http://www.mpg.de. This document is reprinted with
the permission of the Max Planck Society.