From Haeckel to Hackethal: Lessons From Nazi Medicine for Students and Practitioners of Medicine
Holocaust and genocide studies 1990; 5(1): 73-87
In discussing such issues as euthanasia and eugenics there has been no lack of oblique references to Nazi medicine and the Nuremberg Trials. It is as if the impact of Nazi medicine on medical ethics has been most pronounced in its rhetoric, and regrettably also in inapt comparisons Is it possible at all to profitably apply the Nazi analogy to the problems of normal medicine? The thousand threads which linked the medical crimes inside the camps with the conduct of "innocent" doctors, nurses, civil administrators etc. outside, have been subjected to new scrutiny during the past decade. The results of these explorations are highly significant. They run the whole gamut from wishful Ignorance and timorous acquiescence to deliberate cooperation with the Nazi health policy of many officials and citizens. The silence of the outside world allowed the "few" perpetrators of medical crimes to have their way. Normal medicine has many important lessons to learn from this passivity and compliance of doctors and the public. This topic ought to be included in obligatory courses and examinations of medical ethics.
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