MIMEH is extremely proud to announce the publication of "Lectures on Inhumanity: Teaching Medical Ethics in German Medical Schools Under Nazism," co-authored by MIMEH's Co-Founder, Dr. Tessa Chelouche, and Dr. Florian Bruns. The article was published in the April 2017 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The abstract is included below, and the article can be found in its entirety here:
Nazi medicine and its atrocities have been explored in depth over the past few decades, but scholars have started to examine medical ethics under Nazism only in recent years. Given the medical crimes and immoral conduct of physicians during the Third Reich, it is often assumed that Nazi medical authorities spurned ethics. However, in 1939, Germany introduced mandatory lectures on ethics as part of the medical curriculum. Course catalogs and archival sources show that lectures on ethics were an integral part of the medical curriculum in Germany between 1939 and 1945. Nazi officials established lecturer positions for the new subject area, named Medical Law and Professional Studies, at every medical school. The appointed lecturers were mostly early members of the Nazi Party and imparted Nazi political and moral values in their teaching. These values included the unequal worth of human beings, the moral imperative of preserving a pure Aryan people, the authoritarian role of the physician, the individual's obligation to stay healthy, and the priority of public health over individual-patient care. This article shows that there existed not only a Nazi version of medical ethics but also a systematic teaching of such ethics to students in Nazi Germany. The findings illustrate that, from a historical point of view, the notion of “eternal values” that are inherent to the medical profession is questionable. Rather, the prevailing medical ethos can be strongly determined by politics and the zeitgeist and therefore has to be repeatedly negotiated.
Remembering the 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial
Events planned across all four CU campuses
Megan Zibby, Boulder Jewish News, April 12, 2017
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg doctors’ trial where 20 Nazi physicians were brought to account for heinous crimes against humanity. To remember the trial and reflect on its continuing significance for health and society today, a series of events is planned on all four University of Colorado campuses and in the community during the nationally-declared Week of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, April 24-28, 2017.
The events are part of the University of Colorado Center for Bioethics and Humanities’ Holocaust Genocide and Contemporary Bioethics program.
“The legacy of health professionals’ involvement in the Holocaust is critical to understanding virtually every aspect of modern medical ethics, from abortion to assisted dying to workplace wellness, genetics, privacy and public health,” said the center’s director Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH. “What’s more, it casts a shadow on many current social and political events that cannot be ignored.”
This year’s program will feature three experts. Stacy Gallin, DMH and Tessa Chelouche, MD are from the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust, or MIMEH. Their mission is to explore the ethical implications of medical transgressions that took place during the Holocaust for modern scientific theory, medical practice, health care policy and human rights endeavors. They will be joined by Susan M. Miller MD, MPH, Professor of Family Medicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.
“Before World War II, scientific experimentation was highly valued in Germany, which had a code of ethics that specifically required consent from research subjects,” explained Dr. Miller. “But multiple elements led to an ethical breakdown in German research during the Nazi regime, including cultural, political and military factors. These factors affected research agendas and resulted in activities by health professionals that became the very definition of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.”
Nazi medical war crimes were not limited to notorious research abuses.
“While much has been written about the Holocaust, not enough attention has been paid to the medical and scientific theories that were the foundation for the mass murder of millions in the name of societal progress,” said Dr. Gallin. “Exploring the process by which healers were transformed into killers and the relevance of the medical community’s participation in the Holocaust is critical to understanding ethical issues today.”
Dr. Chelouche noted that beginning and end-of-life care, medical genetics, human subject research ethics, healthcare law and policies as well the protection of vulnerable populations all exist in the shadow of Nazi medicine.
“At the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial the Nazi doctors showed no remorse for what they had done. In fact, just the opposite; they invoked ethical arguments to justify their actions,” she said. “We must acknowledge and understand the connection to contemporary issues to ensure that these types of ethical violations never happen again.”
This is why Dr. Gallin founded MIMEH in 2015 and works closely with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. She is a member of the Board of Directors at the Center for Medicine after the Holocaust in Houston and travels throughout the world lecturing on this topic.
Susan M. Miller MD, MPH is also a member of the board of directors for the Center for Medicine after the Holocaust and co-founder of Physicians after the Holocaust-Ukraine.
Dr. Chelouche is a family physician in Israel and a prolific author on medicine and the Holocaust. She is the editor of the Casebook on Bioethics and the Holocaust for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and she teaches a course on “The Study of Medicine and the Holocaust” for medical students at the Technion Institute in Haifa.
Presentations and panel discussions will be held at all four University of Colorado campuses and the University of Denver. In addition to the public events below, speakers will also be visiting classrooms at CU Boulder and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Colorado Springs branch. RSVPs requested for all events atwww.coloradobioethics.org
Monday, April 24th from noon-1:00pm: AMC Campus – Fulginiti Pavilion
“How Healers Became Killers: Nazi Doctors and Modern Medical Ethics” Lecture by Stacy Gallin, DMH and Tessa Chelouche, MD. Lunch will be provided (please RSVP at www.ColoradoBioethics.org).
Monday, April 24th from 1:30-3:00pm: AMC Campus – Fulginiti Pavilion
“The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials: Lessons and Legacies for Today’s Health Professionals” Panel discussion with Stacy Gallin, DMH, Tessa Chelouche, MD, Susan M. Miller, MD, MPH, FACP, Alison Lakin, RN, PhD, Marilyn Coors, PhD, MPH, David Richman, JD, and Daniel Goldberg, JD, PhD.
Monday April 24th at 6:00pm: University of Denver Reiman Theater
Community Event: “The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials: Lessons and Legacies for Health and Society” Panel Discussion with Tessa Chelouche, MD, Susan Miller, MD, MPH, FACP, Stacy Gallin, DMH, David Richman, JD, and Daniel Goldberg, JD, PhD.
Wednesday, April 26th at noon: CU Law School, Room 301 – CU Boulder Campus
“The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials: Lessons and Legacies for Law and Society” Presentation and panel response with Tessa Chelouche, MD, Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, FACP, Dayna Bowen Matthew, JD, Gregory Whitehair, JD and Daniel Goldberg?, JD, PhD. Lunch will be provided (please RSVP at www.ColoradoBioethics.org)
Wednesday, April 26th from 7:00-8:30pm: Eaton Humanities Building, Room 150 – CU Boulder Campus
Community Event: “Agency in the Midst of Oppression: Jewish Doctors, Ghettos and Public Health,”
Presentation and panel response with Tessa Chelouche, MD, Elias Sacks, PhD, Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, FACP, and Daniel Goldberg?, JD, PhD.
Thursday, April 27th from 12:00-1:30 pm: – Business School, Room 4500—CU Downtown Campus
“The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials: Lessons and Legacies for Today”Presentation and panel response with Tessa Chelouche, MD, Matthew Wynia, MD, MPH, FACP, and Daniel Goldberg, JD, PhD. Lunch will be provided (please RSVP at www.ColoradoBioethics.org)