“First, Do No Harm: Medical Science, Ethics and the Holocaust”

October 24- 26, 2018

The 2018 Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education, in its 11th year at Pacific Lutheran University, will be dedicated to exploring the role of medical science and the Holocaust. In the last decades, historical research on Nazi Germany has focused on sites of terror- especially concentration camps and extermination camps. Despite a multitude of works exploring these places of terror, comparatively little work has been done exploring the role of medical scientists and nurses in perpetrating ethical violations of their mandate to “first, do no harm.” Perhaps even fewer works have attempted to explore the role of Jewish medical personnel and their attempts to fight against the Nazi regime in whatever limited capacity they had. In the post-world war II environment of military tribunals and subsequent doctors’ trials, the field of medical science was forced to revise its code of ethical conduct and rethink its notion of patient informed consent, embodied in the Nuremberg Code.


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