Student Perspectives

Teaching about the Holocaust: Influencing How Generations Will Learn from the Past by Medical Student William Porter

Posted by Sheldon Rubenfeld on December 26, 2016

As Holocaust survivors are dying out, and as Israel, the Jewish State, is viewed more and more as an oppressor, there is a shift from study of the Holocaust to the study of genocide, intolerance, human rights, and hate. The essential but little known role of the German medical profession, and the even less well-known moral, legal, and philanthropic support provided by American eugenicists for German eugenic policies, are very likely to be forgotten. Dismissing or covering up the public health policies and medical practices of German physicians would be another way of forgetting both the Holocaust and its medical crimes, one aspect of the Holocaust that distinguishes it from other genocides. William Porter states in this essay a sentiment that is widely held by students who study medicine and the Holocaust: “…a more realistic portrayal of the Holocaust in our education seems like a profound way to take meaning from its atrocities as we shape tomorrow’s leaders.”

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