Medicine's dark past

Shmuel Reis, Uri Weinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


The medical profession played its part in the atrocities committed during Hitler's Third Reich. Shmuel Reis and Uri Weinberg document the involvement of doctorsUnder the Third Reich, the medical profession, including universities and prestigious research institutes, played a critical role in the evolution of the holocaust and the implementation of Hitler's final solution. But documentation of the extent of medicine's involvement has been sporadic.The first key event was the Nuremberg doctors' trial, the decision of which formed the basis of the Nuremberg Code of 1946, which addressed experimentation on human subjects. The Nuremberg medical trial involved the prosecution of a small number of doctors and did not consider the extent of the involvement of the German and Austrian medical communities and institutions. The report on the doctors' trial by German doctors Alexander Mitscherlich and Fred Mielke was suppressed by the Physician's Chamber of the Federal Republic.12Other reports revealed the considerable involvement of German doctors, who were among the first to join the Nazi party and the SS. German doctors, who were considered passionate and active supporters of the regime, granted “scientific” justification for further development of the Nazi scheme for human slaughter. As well as developing this idea, doctors worked to implant Nazi racism, which held the notion of inferior groups, unhealthy or unfitting for German society.German society accepted the alleged scientific evidence regarding the undesirability of mentally ill people or genetically impaired people, and ultimately that of different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups. Members of these groups of (German) people had already been executed …
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1
Issue numberSuppl S2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2006


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