Eduard Pernkopf: The Nazi book of anatomy still used by surgeons

BBC News

Keiligh Baker

When nerve surgeon Dr Susan Mackinnon needed help to finish an operation, she reached, as she often does, for a mid-20th Century book of anatomy.

Thanks to the complex hand-drawn illustrations – showing the human body peeled back layer by layer – Dr Mackinnon, from Washington University in St Louis, was able to complete the procedure.

The book she had used, the innocuous-sounding Pernkopf Topographic Anatomy of Man, is widely considered to be the best example of anatomical drawings in the world. It is richer in detail and more vivid in colour than any other. . . [Full text]

Germany to probe Nazi-era medical science


Megan Gannon

Soon after Hans-Joachim was born, it was clear that something was terribly wrong. The infant boy suffered from partial paralysis and spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. In 1934, when he was 5 years old, his parents admitted him to an asylum in Potsdam, Germany, where clinical records described Hans-Joachim as a “strikingly friendly and cheerful” child. But his condition did not improve. He spent a few years at a clinic in Brandenburg-Görden, Germany, and then, on an early spring day in 1941, he was “transfered to another asylum at the instigation of the commissar for defense of the Reich”—code words meaning that Hans-Joachim, then 12, was gassed at a Nazi “euthanasia” center. His brain was sent to a leading neuropathologist. . .  [Full text]


The forgotten Australian prisoners of war experimented on by the Nazis

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The Body Sphere

Amanda Smith

Not all Nazi human experimentations ended with death. Some Australian soldiers may have suffered for years after being guinea pigs for Nazi scientists. Amanda Smith tells their story.

Some of the cruellest, vilest things humans do to each other are done in wartime.

During the Second World War, one of the most shocking things that occurred – in a long list of shocking things – was human medical experimentation in Nazi concentration camps.

Until now, however, it wasn’t known that the Nazis also experimented on Australian POWs.

Konrad Kwiet is the resident historian at the Sydney Jewish Museum. He’s researching the experiments alongside surgeon and academic George Weisz. . . [Full text]


Human medical experiments

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The Body Sphere

Amanda Smith

In 1891, Swedish physician Carl Janson was investigating black smallpox pus. “Calves were only obtainable at considerable cost”, he noted. So instead he experimented on 14 children from an orphanage.

Vulnerable people continued to be used as medical guinea pigs into the 20th century.

Most sinister was the Nazi program, including the little-known story of 5 Australian POWs in Crete who were subject to experimentation without their consent.

The methods of Third Reich doctors were inhumane, so is it ethical to use data from Nazi medical experiments?  . . . [Full text]


Survivor of Nazi ‘Twin Experiments’ Talks to Doctors About Human Subjects Research


Science Daily

Eva Kor  will never forget the day her childhood ended. The images of that day,  and the weeks after, are burned into her memory, as brutally permanent  as the tattoo on her left forearm.

On a spring day in 1944 Kor and her twin sister Miriam, 10 years old at  the time, were taken from their family and herded into the Auschwitz  concentration camp. The twins became part of a group of children used for human experimentation by Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death. . . [Read more]

Ethicist supports “positive” eugenics: likens current practice to Nazi policies

Julian Savulescu, an ethicist at the University of Oxford, argues that the current practice of using prenatal screening and abortion to eliminate embryos suspected of having disabilities or diseases is akin to Nazi eugenic policies, which were also directed at eliminating the ‘unfit.’  He supports the use of prenatal testing to identify and destroy embryos with disease or disabilities as long as it is understood that this implies nothing about the moral status of disabled people, but argues that people should also be able to select for desirable characteristics, like intelligence or sex.  His position is that “freedom of reproduction” can be restricted “for social purposes,” but only if the purposes are “uncontroversially good,” the restrictions are necessary, and that no less restrictive policies would be workable. [News Limited]

German Medical Association apologizes for physician complicty in Nazi atrocities

The German Medical Association has acknowledged and apologized for the participation of German physicians in Nazi programs of forced sterilization, euthanasia, and human experimentation.  The statement also acknowledged that “leading members of the medical community” were involved. [Washington Post]