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Nazi Science and Ethics
Transcript of Nazi Science and Ethics
1919-1933 hIPPOCRATIC oATH eUGENICS nAZI IDEOLOGY EuthanasIa sTERILISATION
eXPERIMENTS Josef Mengele:
"Angel of Death" hIGH pRESSURE AND fREEZING nUREMBERG war
crIme tRIALS nUREMBERG cODE dECLARATION OF hELSINKI / bELMONT rEPORT rEFERENCES Believed to have been written by or in honour of Hippocrates - a Greek physician
The Oath was to be taken by professionals involved in medical and other healthcare professions, swearing to practice ethically and honestly (Miles, 2004)
In many countries it is considered a right of passage for the professional
People would trust a person with the title 'professional' especially doctors
Why would you not trust a doctor?
Have to be a certain type of person
Caring and honourable profession
Little reason not to .... until 1939
The Oath has been revised several times however the most memorable is the Declaration of Geneva, first drafted in 1948 by the World Medical Association….. I wonder why? Thanks for lIstenIng The Declaration of Helsinki (1964) is a set of principles regarding human experimentation developed by the World Medical Association (WMA).
It is not a legal document, however, it is respected and obeyed all the same (Bowling et al, 2007).
"Even though the Declaration of Helsinki is the responsibility of the WMA, the document should be considered the property of all humanity" (Bowling et al, 2007; Human et al 2001).
The Belmont Report was published in 1979 by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioural Research (Israel et al, 2006).
The Report aimed to summarise the basic ethical principles and guidelines involved when conducting research on human participants.
Not a legal document, but researchers follow guidelines.
After Germany losing the first World War there was a sense of humiliation in Germany, especially for the Political Nationalist Party.
There was a growing view amongst Germans that Jewish people were to blame for the loss of WW1.
After WW1 The National Socialist Party in Germany became increasingly popular with the German Public.
People put their trust in professionals such as doctors, people did not think doctors would in any way deceive them.
There were no ethical codes of conduct in Germany that were strictly adhered to however, professionals would have been aware of the Guidelines of Human Experimentation 1931.
(Ghooi, 2011) NAZI SCIENCE "Life Unworthy of Life" Sir Francis Galton, an English academic, coined the term 'eugenics' in 1833 (Lifton, 2000).
The term was derived from the Greek meaning 'good breeding' (Lynn, 2001).
Darwinism: "Survival of the Fittest" (Swain et al, 2003).
Galton believed he could perfect the human race by getting rid of the "undesirables" and breeding the "desirables" (Science Museum: Brought to Life, N.D).
Galton's idea of 'eugenics' caught the attention of researchers in England, Europe and the USA in the 1880s (Mostert, 2002).
German scientist's gained interest in eugenics and took the concept to a new extreme in Nazi Germany.
It was in Nazi Germany where sterilisation progressed to 'euthanasia': the mass murder and elimination of the 'inferior' race (Science Museum: Brought to Life, N.D). The Nazi party was founded in 1919.
In 1933, Hitler was offered the position as the Chancellor of Germany.
Hitler was a strong believer in anti-Semitism, the destruction of the Treaty of Versailles, living space for Germans and social revolution (Collier et al, 2000).
Hitler believed in creating racial purity - the Nordic Aryan Race.
Between 1934 and 1935 Hitler passed 4 main laws:
• Act concerning the reproduction of persons with hereditary illnesses,
• Act against dangerous criminals beyond rehabilitation
• Act for the unified organisation of the health system
• Act of premarital examinations (Singer, 1998).
"...elimination of life supposedly unfit to be lived" (Singer, 1998:89)
The main targets for elimination were the blacks, gypsies, homosexuals, Jews and people with disabilities. These people were labelled as "sub-human" (Bogod, 2004:1155).
Elimination by mass murder and genocide in order to stop the 'undesirable' 'sub-humans' from reproducing.
These innocent people also were referred to as an "infection" and in need of "surgical removal" (Singer, 1998:91). The Nazi's were health conscious people:
against tobacco and food dyes
promoted organic farming
built medical botanical garden
Nazi doctors were concerned about diet, nutrition and personal health
ethics were taught
banned experimentation on animals (Singer, 1998)
"...a creeping ideology that puts animal welfare above that of humans" (Bogod, 2004,1155).
As professional doctors began to support and join the Nazi party, the ideology had a significant impact on them and doctors began conducting barbaric experiments and mass killing of the so called "sub-human" race.
Nazi doctors ignored the ethical principles of medicine and the unwritten ethical law (Boozer, 2010:84).
They disobeyed the Hippocratic Oath as Nazi doctors believed their oath to Hitler was much more real to them (Lifton, 2000:207).
Nazi doctors violated the basic principles of morality, they violated the principles of equality and fairness and they violated justice (Rhodes, 2005:10)
"My Hippocratic Oath tells me to cut the gangrenous appendix from a human body, the Jews are the gangrenous appendix of mankind. This is why I cut them out" (Singer, 1998:91). NazIfIcatIon of
MedIcIne Dr Josef Mengele was a highly credited doctor and researcher who worked in Auschwitz. He became a monster through the nazification of doctors, and was later known as the 'Angel of Death'.
Twin experiments were created to show the similarities and differences in the genetics of twins as well as to see if the human body can be unnaturally manipulated. Josef Mengele experimented with approximately three thousand twins who passed through the Auschwitz death camp during WWII until the liberation at the end of the war.
Mengele thought these experiments would help the understanding of genetics. If women could give birth to twins who were sure to be blonde haired and blue eyed - then the future of Germany could be saved if this superior race could be created (Gutman et al, 1998).
Mengele injected the childrens eyes with chemicals - this was painful and sometietimes caused temporary or permanent blindness. However conditions for the twins were one of the best in Auschwitz until they were taken to the experiments (Lagnado, 1991).
The Doctors conducting experiments within concentration camps were found to be psychologically normal. They thought their experiments were for the greater good of the German Society. Mengele was never caught to be punished for his crimes, he died in Brazil in 1979, aged 68. (Lifton, 2000:21) “the painless killing of a person with an incurable illness”
1939 the “mercy killings” of all Jews, gypsies, people with disabilities, blacks and homosexuals began.
Hitler and the Nazis referred to these killings as the 'Euthanasia Project'.
Benedict 2009 states that Hitler referred to these killings as
The gas chambers were thought to be the "Final Solution” to exterminate the Jews and ‘sub-human’ - non Aryan people.
(Lifton, 2000) Dr Sigmund Rascher (1909-1945) -
specialised in testing and researching cancer.
Rascher insisted on using human subjects for his research.
Did not become famous for his contribution to cancer - instead became a 'glory hunting' Nazi doctor.
High-altitude/low-pressure experiments were used to research what happened to German pilots bodies once they have ejected from the plane (Spitz, 2005).
Freezing - 300 prisoners were subjected to tests to determine the best way to heat pilots who fall into the north sea once ejected from the plane (ibid). The purpose of the sterilisation experiments was to perfect a technique to stop non-Aryans from reproducing without killing them so they could work as slave-labourers (Benedict et al, 2006).
There was a law passed "for the prevention of genetically diseased offspring" (Roelcke, 2004:6).
Two German physicians were selected to head the sterilisation experiments in the notorious camp of Auschwitz, Dr Carl Clauberg and Dr Horst Schumann. They competed to find the cheapest and most effective method of sterilisation (Singer, 1998).
Clauberg was a gynaecologist who specialised in infertility treatment. When he joined the Nazi party in 1933 he decided to combine his specialisation with the goals of the Nazi party - to cure the infertility of Aryan women and to sterilise the non-Aryans (Benedict et al, 2006).
The goal was to sterilise as many women as possible, in a short space of time, without their knowledge and without allowing women recovery time.
Women were sterilised by injection whilst they received what they thought, was a gynaecological examination. Other methods of sterilisation: radiation and castration.
These experiments were carried out in the name of racial purity - to perfect the Nordic Aryan race and eliminate the 'undesirable' and 'sub-humans'. "Sure, there are peoples who have hated each other for centuries. But that one kills people so systematically, with the help of physicians, only because they belong to another race, that is the new world."
- Brother of chief SS Auschwitz doctor
(Lifton, 2000:152) "This world is not this world" (Lifton, 2000:3) The Nuremberg Trials were held in Nuremberg,
Bavaria, Germany between 1945 and 1946.
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military
tribunals held by the Allies.
Several key criminals of the war such as, Hitler,
Himmler and Goebbels, committed suicide before
the trials began (Ghooi, 2011). The monstrous doctors who tortured victims, murdered and carried out barbaric experiments were brought to Nuremberg in 1945 (Bogod, 2004).
Of the 23 defendants, 20 were doctors, 3 were administrators (Ghooi, 2011).
16 doctors were found guilty of crimes against humanity - 7 doctors were executed (Bogod, 2004).
The doctors had violated the Hippocratic Oath including its fundamental principle "Primum non nochere" - "first do no harm" (Ghooi, 2011:73). Doctor's trIals In nuremberg After the Nuremberg Trials Dr Leo Alexander established six points of ethical conduct and submitted them to the Council for War Crimes. Four more points were added by the council to create The Nuremberg Code in 1947 (Alexander, 1949).
The Nuremberg Code was established to create boundaries within the treatment of human beings and the way in which experiments are conducted.
Experiments are to be for the greater good of society and cause no harm to the participant (Israel et al, 2006).
The Nuremberg Code has key principles such as informed consent and beneficence in experimental research. The first point in the Nuremberg Code;
"the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential" (Annas, 1992).
The Nuremberg Code was not made into a legal document in Germany but it is the basis for the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Volume 46, which are the research regulations of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (ibid). rEFERENCES Alexander, L., 1949. Medical science under dictatorship. N Eng J Med, 241, pp.39–47.
Annas G.,1992. The Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. New York: Oxford University Press.
Benedict, S. and Georges J.M., 2006. Nurses and the sterilization experiments of Auschwitz: a postmodern perspective. Nursing Inquiry, 13(4), pp.227-288.
Bogod, D., 2004. Editorial 1: The Nazi hypothermia experiments: forbidden data? Anaesthesia, 59(1), pp.1155-1159.
Boozer, J., 2010. Children of Hippocrates: doctors in Nazi Germany. SAGE: American Academy of Political and Social Science, 450, pp.83-97.
Bowling, A and Ebrahim, S., 2005. Handbook of Health Research Methods: Investigation, Measurement and Analysis. England: Open University Press.
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Ghooi, R., 2011. The Nuremberg code – a critique. Perspectives in Clinical Research, (2)2, pp.72-76. Gutman, Y. and Berenbaum, M., 1998. Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
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Splitz, V., 2005. Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans. USA: Sentient Publication.
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