Monday, May 28, 2012

German Medical Society Apologizes for Nazi-Era Atrocities by Doctors

Subject: German Medical Society Apologizes for Nazi-Era Atrocities by Doctors
Date:     Mon, 28 May 2012 14:18:16 -0400
From:     Veracare <>

Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP)

Advancing Honest and Ethical Medical Research


On May 23, 2012, sixty-eight years after the verdict concluding the Nuremberg Doctors Trial --a verdict that includes the Nuremberg Code--the German Medical Association (Bundesarztekammer) has issued a Declaration and apology, at Nuremberg, acknowledging the culpability of Germany's medical community under the Nazi regime.

After almost seven decades of silence, the German Medical Association has taken responsibility for the atrocities committed by German doctors who, were "guilty of scores of human rights" during the Nazi regime:

“These crimes were not the actions of individual doctors but involved leading members of the medical community...and should be taken as a warning for the future...

Outstanding representatives of renowned academic medical and research institutions were involved” in organizing and carrying out the mass extermination of millions, and participating in barbaric medical experiments. Doctors were not forced to participate in the atrocities, the statement admitted, but were often enthusiastic supporters and even Nazi leaders..."

Indeed, the criminal actions by German physicians predated the expulsion of Jews to concentration camps and the pseudo-scientific experiments on concentration camp inmates. German doctors were the key players in carrying out eugenics policies, including forced sterilization and euthanasia of disabled children, the mentally ill and others deemed "unworthy of life."

The Declaration, unanimously adopted by the delegates of the Physician's Congress, states that contrary to popular belief doctors were not forced by political authorities to kill and experiment on prisoners but rather engaged in the Holocaust as leaders and enthusiastic Nazi supporters.

The apology is to the victims both living and dead: Doctors “remember the living and deceased victims and their descendants, and ask them for forgiveness." 

In an editorial on MSNBC, bioethicist, Art Caplan, notes the importance of this long overdue apology: "In the history of apologies for crimes and abuses carried out in the name of medicine this is the most important ever made.  It does nothing to soften the horror of the Holocaust but it both ascribes responsibility where it belongs and ends any further efforts to deny or obfuscate what actually happened." 

Read much more...

Vera Sharav

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