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  • Fear God Alone, a Poem by Medical Student Andrea Gerberding

    I ask first- and second-year Baylor College of Medicine students who take the Healing by Killing: Medicine in the Third Reich elective to submit a final paper that has been stimulated by the content of the course. Most write essays and a few like Andrea write poems. Another uncommon aspect of her submission is that it speaks directly about religion. In poetic form she addresses the  difficult problem of suffering in the world and a nation’s disastrous choice of a false messiah to relieve the suffering. Her poem is a short cautionary tale about the choices we all make. Fear God Alone By Andrea Gerberding After hardship has fallen for many a year, The whispers for change become yells, Some in the government may lend an ear, But little anger or sadness it quells. When along comes a man of unorthodox cause, Who promises change of great scale, Many embrace him outright without giving pause, The opening chapter of a familiar tale. On whose shoulders to place the suffering of masses? Those whose religion deigns them a stranger! They threaten the safety of worthier classes, Their presence is surely an imminent danger. The man proclaims he alone is the answer, He knows how to yield a society purer, “We will be great again! We will crush the dissenters!” All will rejoice the might of the Führer. His swift rise to power caught many off guard, At least those who thought his vision absurd, Their silence has left the country a graveyard, In which progress and amity are now interred. What is there to say when hate conquers all? The precedent has surely been set, Naïvely we pray for a quick rise and fall, But history will never forget. They say not to worry, he’s only one person, What could he possibly do? On the wrong side of history, he pushes his mission, Life as we know it is through. “Fear God alone” the scriptures proclaim, Do not dare to worship a fraud, But when one man decides who is spared versus slain, Has he not made himself our true God?

  • Personal Prejudices in Medicine by Medical Student Katherine French

    In my Baylor College of Medicine elective Healing by Killing: Medicine during the Third Reich, students struggle with their newly discovered knowledge about the best doctors in the world murdering Jews, people with disabilities, homosexuals, blacks, and many others. They find it even more difficult to understand how these medical killers could justify their actions by transforming the Hippocratic Oath from a doctor-patient relationship to a eugenic state-Volkskörper relationship, thereby enabling the elimination of human beings perceived as a cancer on the nation’s body. Katherine notes that “Everyone has prejudices and everyone makes judgments about people before getting to know them, but as a physician your prejudices can have life-threatening consequences.” Her personal prescription to avoid repetition of the Nazi physicians’ medical crimes is “to take a look at the prejudices I have and confront them, however uncomfortable it might make me.” Healing by Killing: Medicine in the Third Reich By Katherine French This course has taught me the immeasurable value of my own ethical principles in regards to my future line of work as a physician. Taking a look at the example of the science and health care field during Nazi Germany has educated me in ways that I was not expecting and was honestly quite uncomfortable learning. Before this course, I knew little about healthcare during Nazi Germany and held the inaccurate belief that the German physicians’ hands were somehow forced to commit the various atrocities they did during the Holocaust. I held the notion that Joseph Mengele was among a few bad apples that conducted human experiments during the Holocaust. However, the German physicians intentionally harmed people that they had either convinced themselves were not people at all or for their notion of the greater good. “Harmed” is putting it all too lightly. German physicians experimented on people, derived efficient ways to kill people in mass, starved people, and tortured people. They went far beyond “do no harm”. The German physicians were driven by the emerging science of genetics and ancient philosophy of eugenics in a time of economic struggle and with the authority of a dictator, but most importantly and most tragically they were driven by prejudice. This course has reminded me how important it is to take a look at the prejudices I have and confront them, however uncomfortable it might make me. I find myself thinking about the initial judgments I had about certain people in my life, or people that I pass by everyday. Everyone has prejudices and everyone makes judgments about people before getting to know them, but as a physician your prejudices can have life-threatening consequences. I hope by getting into the practice of recognizing my biases, I will be able to prevent the negative consequences of prejudiced actions. The book Health Disparities in the United States by Dr. Donald A. Barr is a great resource for anyone in the health care field who wants a research-based introduction to the conflation of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status in America on health outcomes. In this book, the author concludes that race/ethnicity should only be used to guide medical decisions in “circumstances based on clear scientific evidence and with the full knowledge and consent of the person on whose behalf the medical decision is being made.” This is a rational conclusion that I will follow in my future career as a physician. Part of the attraction to the profession of a physician is the ability to solve problems – you hope to cure a patient’s disease and improve that patient’s life. Physicians in Nazi Germany were driven by the same desires, and thought perhaps they could take it up a notch– they through that they could solve their societies’ problems through eugenics. They excluded huge groups of people from their selfcreated image of a “fixed” society and destroyed communities in the process. The problem of prejudice is not a new one, but I want to prevent it from having an effect in my professional career as much as possible.

  • The Influence of Healthcare Policy on Patient Care by Medical Student Maya Firsowicz

    The medical profession’s status and its attitudes about patient care usually result from a negotiation between physicians, culture, and politicians. Students in my Healing by Killing: Medicine during the Third Reich are often shocked by Nazi physicians’ eugenic view of their patients and the subsequent elevation of their already high status in the political order. After learning of the indispensable role of the medical profession in the design and implementation of the Holocaust, medical student Maya Firsowicz asks, “….is there some aspect of medicine performed by physicians today that is not in the best interest of patients?” In particular she is concerned about constraints on the time physicians spend with patients and the focus of the healthcare system on “disease intervention rather than disease prevention and health promotion.” She hopes that by asking these questions medical students can “not only learn from the mistakes made by physicians of the past, but also to continue to uphold the true values of the profession of medicine.” Healing by Killing By Maya Firsowicz Through studying medicine in the Third Reich, various myths concerning the physicians of that time are exposed and invalidated, oftentimes opening our eyes to aspects of modern medicine to which we may ourselves be blinded. One of these myths is that physicians during the Third Reich must have been inherently mad, incompetent or evil in order to have committed the horrible acts known for the time. However, this myth is rapidly disproved when the caliber of their work prior to the Holocaust and their overall status as the “best” doctors in the world is demonstrated. Physicians of that time were not mad, nor were they physicians who openly rejected the Hippocratic Oath. While their practice became infiltrated by the concepts of eugenics that were taking over society, and the Hippocratic Oath was refashioned in Hitler’s image, these physicians genuinely believed they were still upholding the values of the profession. They believed the work they were conducting was best for their patients and for the nation. It is evident when we look at their work today that the opposite was true, but it begs the question, is there some aspect of medicine performed by physicians today that is not in the best interest of patients? An increasing pressure that has been placed on physicians over the past few decades has been on the value and efficiency of health care delivery, frequently resulting in a constraint on the amount of time physicians have to spend with patients. One point of concern here is that this decrease in amount of time physicians spend with patients may have a negative effect on the actual care being provided. As argued in an article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, “no doctor can do a good job without spending substantial amounts of time meeting with and thinking about patients” (2). Unfortunately, it can be difficult to establish what constitutes a “substantial” amount of time, and the time constraints being placed on physicians each day may result in individual patient visits simply being too short. As a result, physicians are unable to attain a complete understanding of their patient’s story and the quality of care subsequently declines. Furthermore, in an effort to make up for the decreased time allotted for each patient, physicians may be trying to compensate by conducting unnecessary tests or overprescribing medications (2). As additional medications and tests cannot substitute for the care that a physician can provide, writing prescriptions instead of talking with our patients is not a solution to the existing time constraint problem, and it could actually be causing harm to some patients. We must therefore question if the actions of physicians today in this regard are truly in the best interest of the patient, or rather in part of meeting the time demands of an increasingly busy work day. A recent documentary film on the flaws of the current United States healthcare system, Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, elicits yet another angle of the problem. Attributing flaws in U.S. healthcare to the current profit-driven system, the documentary argues that there has been a shift from patient-care to “sick care” in the U.S., treating symptoms of conditions that could be avoided with preventative care. Medical journalist Shannon Brownlee explains that we have “a disease care system, not a health care system…it wants patients to keep coming back for symptom relief of chronic care and not prevention – which is cheaper” (3). While it is a systematic problem, physicians are undoubtedly a part of today’s healthcare system and must therefore play some role in this “disease care” system. Trying to discern what role this may be, it is interesting to consider the very core of a physician’s practice: their training. As Escape Fire points out, much of medical education focuses on disease intervention rather than disease prevention and health promotion (3). Topics such as nutrition, which are valuable to preventative medicine, are oftentimes entirely omitted from medical curriculum (1). This is a fundamental problem that may perpetuate the current “disease care” system, as physicians have been primarily trained to treat disease rather than prevent it, and this is what they continue to do in their practice. While this keeps hospitals full and systematically benefits hospitals and their employees, it may not be in the best interest of the individual patient. Just as it is impossible to evaluate the work of physicians in the Third Reich separately from their society, it is crucial to take the current healthcare system into account when assessing the work of contemporary physicians. The modern U.S. healthcare system is placing increasing demands on physicians: to treat more patients in less time, and this often comes at the expense of teaching patients about preventative health efforts. Whether or not this has led to physicians practicing outside the best interest of their patients is an important question that arises from these considerations. While it is not a question that can be easily answered, the sole act of questioning our own system is beneficial. By considering our potential blindness and posing these questions, we can hope to not only learn from the mistakes made by physicians of the past, but also to continue to uphold the true values of the profession of medicine. References (1) Adams, K. M., Lindell, K. C., Kohlmeier, M., & Zeisel, S. H. (2006). Status of nutrition education in medical schools. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83(4), 941S–944S. (2) Dugdale, D. C., Epstein, R., & Pantilat, S. Z. (1999). Time and the Patient–Physician Relationship. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 14(Suppl 1), S34–S40. (3) Heineman, M., & Froemke, S. (2012). Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. United States: Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate.

  • Euthanasia, Abortion, & the Death Penalty by Medical Student Jessica Tran

    The content of the Healing by Killing: Medicine During the Third Reich elective is very stimulating for the first- and second-year students at Baylor College of Medicine. As part of the requirements for the course, they must write about a topic of their choosing that is stimulated by the history of medicine during the Third Reich and of American eugenics. Jessica Tran was troubled by the justifications offered by Nazi physicians for the euthanasia programs and chose to write about abortion and the death penalty in the United States. Noting how difficult it is to judge one’s own culture and practices, she asks herself, “In 60 years, will my grandchildren look back on my generation with shock because of the current accepted ideas of abortion and the death penalty?” Healing by Killing: Medicine in the Third Reich By Jessica Tran While I have greatly enjoyed every topic that we have discussed in this class, there was one topic that particularly intrigued me – Euthanasia. As I learned about the events that progressed during the Third Reich period and the number of lives that were taken, I began to think about abortion, the death penalty, and other laws that are currently in place in America. I wondered if we are still living in an age in which the same types of concepts and ideas have become socially acceptable for us just as they did for the individuals in support of “mercy killings” during the Third Reich period. The first euthanasia in Germany was in 1938 through a petition from Mr. Knauer who had a son that was blind, mentally retarded, and missing one leg and one arm. Hitler granted a “mercy killing” to Mr. Knauer allowing his son to be euthanized. Something I found interesting was that the T4 program was not eligible to Jewish individuals, as this program was considered to be “humane”. Instead, Jews were killed by inhumane methods such as gas chambers and starvation. I found it astonishing how easy the process was – simply filling out a questionnaire (T4 form) and three referees would review the questionnaire for approval. As I learned about the T4 program in Germany, I began to see links between what was considered medicine in the Third Reich period and our current ideas and acceptance of abortion and the death penalty. Currently, there’s a wide acceptance of both abortion and the death penalty in America. These ideas are still so widely accepted that 31 states still perform the death penalty and 18 states allow abortion. There are many reasons why individuals support abortion, whether it be to eliminate suffering for the child, mom, or an inability to support the child. I began to ask my friends what their views were on abortion, and I found that many of them do not actively support abortion, but would consider it if they were to become pregnant right now or have a child with a disorder. For most of my friends, their justification for abortion was to eliminate the suffering of the child. I found this to be extremely similar to the thought process that the Germans used to justify mercy killings during the Third Reich period. Mercy killings were supposed to relieve the suffering of those with mental issues. Not only would it “relieve suffering” for the individual but for the rest of the population as these genes would no longer be passed on to the next generation. In addition, the death penalty is still widely accepted. I have heard many people say that they support the death penalty because “criminals would do no good for the rest of the population anyway”. This sounded a lot like the justification for mercy killings as those individuals with bad genes would contaminate the rest of the population. So ultimately, mercy killings would be doing something good for the country, as would the death penalty. While I am quick to judge mercy killings, I try to take a step back and realize that I did not live during the Third Reich, I do not know what values and ideas they prioritized, I do not know what the culture was like. However, I do know what the American culture is like now and have a better idea of the values and ideas that are prioritized. I can follow the justification of those that support abortion or the death penalty, and I wonder if those that did not oppose or stand against mercy killings were perhaps just like me. I now ask myself, “in 60 years, will my grandchildren look back on my generation with shock because of the current accepted ideas of abortion and the death penalty?” I find it easy to look back in time and judge the culture and practices of those before us, but I find it hard to step out of the current time and objectively judge our own culture and practices.

  • The Making of a Modern Frankenstein by Medical Student Monika Pyarali

    In his quest for a master race, Hitler has been compared to Mary Shelley’s creation Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Inspired by eugenics and empowered by the rediscovery of Mendel’s genetic work with peas, Hitler’s scientists attempted to rid Germany of presumed inferior genes and promote procreation among those with superior genes. We now know that genetics in the first few decades of the twentieth century was imprecise and many of the eugenic assumptions about improving a nation’s gene pool were both naive and unethical. The Human Genome Project has renewed interest in biological determinism and eugenics, and scientific advances have created possibilities that could only be dreamed of before, such as a head transplant. Reflecting upon her undergraduate research with severed axons and the recruitment of a volunteer for a head transplant by Dr. Sergio Canavero, Monika Pyarali asks, “Where should we draw the line?” The Making of a Modern Frankenstein: Where to Draw the Line? By Medical Student Monika Pyarali Even in the face of declining government funding, the rate of scientific advances has been on the rise since the 1990s (5). This may be due, in part, to the incredible rate of technological advancement during the last quarter of a century. With new developments in technology arising nearly every day, scientists are constantly tempted to push the limits of plausibility. However, experimentation is a double-edge sword. On the one hand, experimentation is what continually enables humanity to progress. For example, Alexander Fleming’s experiments led to the discovery of penicillin, which is still used to save the lives of millions of patients suffering from bacterial infections (1). Similarly, nearly every major advancement in science and medicine can be attributed to clever experimentation. Conversely, experimentation could also lead scientists to perform unthinkable acts in the interest of gaining knowledge. Perhaps the most infamous examples of a scientist gone astray is Dr. Mengele, known as “the Angel of Death”. Dr. Mengele’s experiments on the prisoners of Nazi death camps ranged from injecting substances in the eyes of twins to attempt to fabricate blue eyes to ripping fetuses from the wombs of their mothers to examine them. Often, experimental subjects were killed to perform autopsies on the bodies and obtain after-death measurements (6). Dr. Mengele and other Nazi doctors involved in prisoner experiments claimed that these studies were done with the interest of learning more about genetics to help purify the Aryan race. Regardless of the purpose, these experiments clearly crossed the boundaries of acceptable harm to the experimental subjects. While experiments like those conducted by Nazi doctors during World War II would not be plausible under modern standards of ethical research, it is not always clear where to draw the line. In some experiments, the potential harm to the subjects may not be apparent before the experiment is conducted. For example, Dr. Zimbardo’s famous Stanford Prison Experiment was approved by the ethics committee at Stanford because it followed ethical guidelines (9). Retrospectively, however, Dr. Zimbardo’s study is widely recognized as an unethical study in psychology. In other cases, the benefit to be gained from conducting an experiment may be perceived as much greater than the possible harm to the research subject(s). Experiments that could objectively put the research subject at harm may be approved because of their potential benefit for the advancement of humanity. But where should we draw the line? One specific case of high-stakes human experimentation drew my attention while I was still an undergraduate because of its relation to the research I was conducting. In 2015, an Italian surgeon by the name of Dr. Sergio Canavero proposed to perform the world’s first head transplant. In his article, titled “HEAVEN: The head anastomosis venture”, Dr. Canavero details his surgical procedure and supports his methodology using previous experiments conducted on animals. He notes that the success of his procedure is mainly dependent on two factors: maintaining the donor and recipient under hypothermia and successfully fusing the severed axonal connections (2). This daring proposal rapidly sparked much interest in the scientific community. Dr. Canavero was invited to universities across the world to speak of his procedure. He was also invited to give a TED talk by an independently organized TED event in Limassol, Cyprus. However, his proposal also sparked many debates about the ethics head transplantation. Dr. Canavero recruited Mr. Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old computer scientist who has WerdnigHoffman disease, to volunteer his head for transplant. Critics of the procedure argue that there is a high likelihood Mr. Spiridonov will not survive the procedure. While Dr. Canavero acknowledges this possibility, he refutes that the only way Mr. Spiridonov has a chance at regaining mobility, or even surviving the next couple of years, is if the procedure is successful. Analyzing the ethics of Dr. Canavero’s proposed procedure is complex because of what the procedure itself entails and the potential outcomes. First we must consider whether Dr. Canavero’s head transplant procedure has the potential to be successful. While the entire endeavor may seem ludicrous to some, it is quite frightening how plausible the procedure might actually be. Dr. Canavero proposes to carry out the first human head transplant in 2017 (2). He reasons that by 2017, the technology required to carry out the procedure will be available. All the methods delineated by Dr. Canavero have independently been supported by research on animals, including some of my own research. As an undergraduate, I was involved in the development of a procedure to fuse severed axons using biochemically engineered solutions of poly-ethylene glycol (PEG). Though our nerve transplantation experiments were successful on rats, these experiments left many unanswered questions regarding potential immune reactions, the viability of the technique in humans, and the underlying biochemistry that resulted in the success of the procedure. Even though PEG research on animals has yet to be fully worked out, using PEG to fuse the donor and recipient spinal cords together is one of the cornerstones of Dr. Canavero’s HEAVEN procedure. As further support for the plausibility of the procedure, Dr. Canavero cites Dr. Robert White’s experiment on head transplantation in monkeys (2). In the 1970’s, Dr. White was able to successfully graft the head of one monkey onto the body of another (7). While the recipient animal only survived for a short time after the experiment, Dr. Canavero argues that advances in medical equipment since the 1970’s would allow for prolonged survival if this procedure were done on a human (4). While the biochemistry behind Dr. Canavero’s procedure may not yet be worked out, the prior success of Dr. White’s procedure on monkeys suggests that there is a very slight possibility that the HEAVEN procedure might be successful. The next ethical consideration in analyzing Dr. Canavero’s proposition would be whether the potential benefits to society would outweigh the risks to his research subject. Many argue that the head transplantation procedure Dr. Canavero intends to carry out violates the Hippocratic Oath because if unsuccessful, Dr. Canavero would have caused Mr. Spiridonov harm. This is a viable concern because there is a high risk that Mr. Spiridonov might not survive the procedure. However, it is also arguable that any surgical procedure puts the patient at an equivalent risk. Furthermore, the potential benefit of this procedure, both for Mr. Spiridonov and for the fields of transplantation and neurosurgery, would be great. If successful, this procedure could completely alter the prognosis for spinal dystrophy diseases and provide patients who are immobilized an opportunity of regaining mobility. In volunteering for the procedure, Mr. Spiridonov has made the decision that the risk of failure outweighs the potential benefits. But since this procedure would impact many more people than just Dr. Canavero and Mr. Spiridonov, is this a decision that they ultimately have the power to make? Since there is a possibility that the procedure may be “successful”, or specifically, that Mr. Spiridonov will survive the procedure, the ethical evaluation of head transplantation must consider the positive result as well. If Dr. Canavero managed to successfully transplant Mr. Spiridonov’s head onto the body of a donor, there is a chance that the results would turn out similar to Dr. White’s monkey experiments – Mr. Spiridonov may not survive very long following the procedure or may be left moribund (4). In this case, the ethical consideration that must be examined is whether it would be appropriate to sustain Mr. Spiridonov alive for as long as possible to observe the results of the procedure or whether euthanasia would be appropriate in his case. In animal research, strict guidelines mandate that animals in severe distress following any experimental procedure should be euthanized. However, euthanasia in humans is considered unethical and in many places, illegal. Conversely, leaving Mr. Spiridonov in a vegetative state and observing until he passes naturally could also be considered unethical and is reminiscent of the practices of Nazi scientists during World War II. Finally, we must consider Dr. Canavero’s procedure in the rare case that everything works as expected and Mr. Spiridonov survives and regains mobility. If this were the case, ethical considerations arise surrounding Mr. Spiridonov’s psychological well-being and quality of life. The first issue is whether the procedure was a head transplant or a body transplant. Since the head is widely viewed as “the seat of the mind” and contains the person’s memories and thoughts, it can be argued that the procedure would be a body transplant for Mr. Spiridonov (7) However, if the procedure were to be successful enough to allow Mr. Spirinov to have children, the gametes in his body would belong to the donor (3). From an evolutionary standpoint, one might be inclined to say that Mr. Spiridonov’s head is just acting as a control center for the donor’s body that is being kept alive. In either case, this uncertainty could have severe psychological impacts on both Mr. Spiridonov and the donor’s family. Another consideration is whether Mr. Spiridonov’s psychological well-being would be impacted during the procedure itself. Dr. Silver, a colleague of Dr. White who observed his procedures, noted that the monkey who survived the head transplant procedure awoke in a state of “pain, confusion, and anxiety”. While this might have been due to the animal’s lack of understanding of the procedure, it is possible that the procedure itself may have altered the animal’s psychological status. While Mr. Spiridonov may be willing to take the risk because of the potential of regaining mobility, many considerations about Mr. Spiridonov’s well-being in the case that Dr. Canavero’s procedure succeeds may not have been evaluated in making this decision. Additionally, many considerations may not even be evident before the procedure is completed. We owe all our advancements to the great minds of the past, present, and future who were willing to pursue an idea as an experiment. But in conducting an experiment, scientists must make take into consideration the potential outcomes to determine whether their proposed experiment should be conducted. Retrospectively, it is easy to point out the experiments that were blatantly unethical as well as those who may have been borderline unethical. However, making the decision of whether a future experiment might be unethical is not always clear-cut. The first consideration of whether an experiment should be carried out is its plausibility. Albeit, the success of some experiments could make such a huge impact in the field that they might be worth a try. However, before a risky experiment is attempted, the potential outcomes of the experiment must also be taken under consideration. In this example, each of the potential outcomes of the experiment present an ethical dilemma that must be further thought through, adding to the complexity of determining whether this experiment is worth pursuing. While Dr. Canavero’s experiment has the potential of changing the outlook for patients with limited mobility, it also has the catastrophic potential of ending Mr. Spiridonov’s life, or perhaps worse, creating a modern Frankenstein. Where should we draw the line?

  • The Vienna Protocol and Dealing with Human Remains from the Holocaust Era

    CMATH presented an international webinar on January 29, 2018 titled The Vienna Protocol: Ethical Issues in Dealing with Human Remains from the Holocaust. This webinar reviewed recent discoveries of human remains from the Holocaust, both underground and in museums and medical schools, and the challenges of disposing of them. Leading international scholars on medicine and the Holocaust discussed two key issues: The ethical issues around the initial use of Holocaust victims in medical research and education; and The religious and moral challenges of how to properly dispose of human remains as they are discovered. Speakers included Dr. Barbara Hales from CMATH (moderator) and Dr. Sabine Hildebrandt, Dr. William Seidelman and Rabbi Joseph Polak A Video of Rabbi Polak’s presentation can be found within this article by him Webinar Series - Dealing with Human Remains from Morphological Research in Nazi Germany – The Vienna Protocol The Vienna Protocol and Reflections on Nazi Medicine: Murder à la Carte

  • Medical Ethics and the Holocaust

    Dr David Brenner is Visiting Asst. Professor and Lecturer in Comparative Literature, Humanities, and Honors at University of Houston and University of Houston, Downtown. In this syllabus on Medical Ethics and the Holocaust, Dr. Brenner asks the question: how can we be sure that doctors and other health-science professionals are practicing medicine more ethically today with the historical context of Nazi doctors in mind. The objectives of the course include an examination of the Nazis’ approach to “applied biology,” discussion of other genocides and instances of mass violence from the standpoint of bioethics and human rights, and an exploration of the role of health professionals in recent controversies. Objectives: Examine the Nazis’ approach to “applied biology” – i.e., the practice of eugenics, sterilization, euthanasia, and research experiments conducted on inmates in concentration camps during World War II. Discussion of other genocides and instances of mass violence from the standpoint of bioethics and human rights: the Milgram and Zimbardo/Stanford Prison obedience experiments, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, and the conduct of research with human participants (from “informed consent” to the Belmont Report). Explore the role of health professionals in recent controversies surrounding discrimination in health care delivery, genetic testing, the interrogation of enemy combatants, etc.

  • Vivien Spitz, Interview II

    Vivien Spitz worked as Chief Reporter of Debates in the United States House of Representatives from 1972 to 1982 and reported the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in Germany from 1946 to 1948, including the Nazi Doctors Cases. She published a book Doctors from Hell covering this experience. Spitz began speaking publicly about what she had witnessed at Nuremberg and was such a powerful speaker that Holocaust deniers began confronting her at speaking engagements. After a run-in with them in 1999, she decided to write Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans.

  • Traute Lafrenz, Interview I

    Traute Lafrenz is a German-American physician and anthroposophist, who was a member of the White Rose anti-Nazi group during World War II. She completed her medical studies at Saint Joseph’s and afterward ran a private practice. She served from 1972 to 1994 as head of the Esperanza School. Lafrenz arrived at the Maximilian University in Munich in May 1941 to continue her medical studies; she met fellow students Hans Scholl, Willi Graf, Alexander Schmorell, Christoph Probst, and Sophie Scholl. They became distressed over National Socialism and took action by writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. Calling themselves The White Rose, they distributed 10,000–12,000 leaflets by mail or by placing them in public locations. Group members were arrested in 1943, and then executed or imprisoned by the Nazis.

  • Traute Lafrenz, Interview II

    Traute Lafrenz is a German-American physician and anthroposophist, who was a member of the White Rose anti-Nazi group during World War II. She completed her medical studies at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in San Francisco and ran a private medical practice, as well as serving as head of the Esperanza School. On April 19, 1943, Traute and other “White Rose” members were tried and found guilty. Three were executed but Traute was sentenced to one year in prison for distributing the leaflets. She was re-arrested immediately upon the completion of her prison term and was finally liberated from prison by U.S. forces. She emigrated to the United States in 1947.

  • Vivien Spitz, Interview I

    Vivien Spitz was the Chief Reporter of Debates in the United States House of Representatives from 1972 to 1982 and a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters of the National Court Reporters Association. Spitz reported the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in Germany from 1946 to 1948, which included the Nazi Doctors Cases. She published a book Doctors from Hell to document this experience. Spitz volunteered as a court reporter for the Nuremberg trials. She listened in horror to the testimony at the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial about physician cruelty during medical experiments and was stunned that some perpetrators “got off so lightly.” Because she did not think the Holocaust was being adequately taught in local schools, she began speaking publicly about what she had witnessed at Nuremberg.

  • Eva Mozes Kor, Interview II

    Eva Mozes Kor, Holocaust survivor, developed the organization CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors). She also founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center. She has worked with Indiana legislators Clyde Kersey and Tim Skinner to establish a law requiring Holocaust education in secondary schools. As a child survivor of Mengele’s cruel experiments in Auschwitz, Kor reveals her experience in the camps. Eva made a silent pledge: “I will do whatever is within my power to make sure that Miriam and I shall not end up on that filthy latrine floor.” Despite a variety of cruel and inhuman experiments that nearly killed them both, Eva and her sister did survive and they were liberated together on January 27, 1945.

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