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עמוד בית
Mon, 26.02.24

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March 2021
George M. Weisz MD FRACS BA MA and Andrew Gal BSc (Med) MBBS FRCPA

Germany was a scientifically advanced country in the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in medicine, with a major interest in research and the treatment of tuberculosis. From 1933 until 1945, Nazi Germany perverted scientific research through criminal experimentations on captured prisoners of war and on "subhumans" by scientifically untrained, but politically driven, staff. This article exposes a series of failed experiments on tuberculosis in adults, experiments without scientific validity. Nonetheless, Dr. Kurt Heißmeyer repeated the experiment on Jewish children, who were murdered for the sake of personal academic ambition. It is now 75 years since liberation and the murdered children must be remembered. This observational review raises questions of medical and ethical values

April 2020
Richard H.C. Zegers MD PhD

Background: In an effort to alter eye color during World War II, devout Nazi researcher Karin Magnussen had adrenaline eye drops administered to inmates at the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. A Sinti family, with a high prevalence of heterochromia iridis, was forced to participate in this study. Members of this family, as well as other victims, were later killed and had their eyes enucleated and sent to Magnussen for examination. Magnussen articulated the findings of these events in a manuscript that has never been published. The author is the first ophthalmologist to review this manuscript. The generation who experienced the atrocities of World War II will soon be gone and awareness of what happened during this tragic chapter of world history is fading.

Objectives: To describe these events to raise awareness among future generations.

Methods: A literature review and archival search was conducted.

Results: Magnussen’s research was based on an animal study published in 1937. For Magnussen’s study, adrenaline drops were administered to inmates, including a 12-year-old girl from the Sinti family. As there was a reported case of deaf-mutism within the family, Waardenburg syndrome seems to be the most plausible explanation for this family’s heritable heterochromia.

Conclusions: The effort to change eye color was doomed to fail from the beginning because there was a probable diagnosis of Waardenburg syndrome. Extinction of humans for ophthalmological research is an insane act beyond imagination. For the sake of these victims, and for the generations who still feel their pain, it is imperative to tell their stories.

May 2016
Esteban González-López MD PhD and Rosa Ríos-Cortés MA

During the Nazi period, numerous doctors and nurses played a nefarious role. In Germany they were responsible for the sterilization and killing of disabled persons. Furthermore, the Nazi doctors used concentration camp inmates as guinea pigs in medical experiments for military or racial purposes. A study of the collaboration of doctors with National Socialism exemplifies behavior that must be avoided. Combining medical teaching with lessons from the Holocaust could be a way to transmit Medical Ethics to doctors, nurses and students. The authors describe a study tour with medical students to Poland, to the largest Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz, and to the city of Krakow. The tour is the final component of a formal course entitled: “The Holocaust, a Reflection from Medicine” at the Autónoma University of Madrid, Spain. Visiting sites related to the Holocaust, the killing centers and the sites where medical experiments were conducted has a singular meaning for medical students. Tolerance, non-discrimination, and the value of human life can be both learnt and taught at the very place where such values were utterly absent.

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