Thursday, April 26, 2012

Modern Medicine's Nazi Heritage

The following is a very serious and often quoted allegation.

Mengele medicus: medicine's Nazi heritage. [Milbank Q. 1988] - PubMed - NCBI: genotype


Nazi medicine is commonly considered to be an aberration that began and ended with the horrors of the Hitler regime. But its beginnings were more gradual and its legacy is more pernicious. Data derived from research conducted on unknowing and unwilling subjects in death camps continue to be cited in authoritative contemporary medical literature. Nazi medicine has become a part of the professional genotype of modern medicine. This continuing influence of Nazi medicine raises profound questions for the epistemology and morality of medicine
Genotype refers to the genetic constitution of an organism. Is the allegation true? Is the legacy of Nazi medicine pernicious, harmful in a subtle and growing manner? Is this indeed how modern medicine functions? Are unknowing and even unwilling subjects still used for experiments? Is critical information withheld from those who have a right to know? Do patients have the right to refuse treatment?

MedlinePlus lifts up the following questions about current medical ethics:
The field of ethics studies principles of right and wrong. There is hardly an area in medicine that doesn't have an ethical aspect. For example, there are ethical issues relating to
  • End of life care: Should a patient receive nutrition? What about advance directives and resuscitation orders?
  • Abortion: When does life begin? Is it ethical to terminate a pregnancy with a birth defect?
  • Genetic and prenatal testing: What happens if you are a carrier of a defect? What if testing shows that your unborn baby has a defect?
  • Birth control: Should it be available to minors?
  • Is it ethical to harvest embryonic stem cells to treat diseases?
  • Organ donation: Must a relative donate an organ to a sick relative?
  • Your personal health information: who has access to your records?
  • Patient rights: Do you have the right to refuse treatment?
  • When you talk with your doctor, is it ethical for her to withhold information from you or your family?
The following is from G. Aumuller and K. Grundmann (2002). "Anatomy during the Third Reich - The Institute of Anatomy at the University of Marburg, as an example." Annals of Anatomy-Anatomischer Anzeiger 184(3): 295-303.
A complete documentation of German anatomical science and its representatives during the period of National Socialism has not been published as yet - contrary to the situation in other medical disciplines. Instead of German anatomists, American anatomists have occasionally addressed this issue during their meetings and have reported on special aspects, such as the use of Nazi symbols in anatomical textbooks and atlases (Pernkopf 1952) and the use of corpses of justice victims for anatomical research and student education. 
Also, the genesis of the atrocious collection of "racial" skulls, initiated along with the SS-institution of the Ahnenerbe by the anatomist August Hirt of Strasbourg (who ordered more than 90 inmates from concentration camps to be murdered in the gas chamber built in the concentration camp of Natzweiler-Struthof close to Strasbourg, Alsace) has been described by Frederic Kasten and others. 
A broader view of the patterns of behaviour and political actions and fates of contemporary scientists, ranging from dismissal to clandestine opportunism, affirmative cooperation and fanatic activism can be obtained by the analysis of the activities in research, medical education and academic positions of the following members of the Institute of Anatomy at the Philipp-University in Marburg: Ernst Goppert, Eduard Jacobshagen, Ernst-Theodor Nauck, Adolf Dabelow, Helmut Becher and Alfred Berminghoff, whose activities and fates differ in several respects and allow more general deductions. 
Also, the individual fates of a number of prosecuted Jewish anatomists (Wassermann, Munchen; Poll, Hamburg), of devoted and active members of the Nazi party (Clara, Leipzig; Blotevogel, Breslau) and of criminal fanatics (Hirt, Strasbourg; Kremer, Munster) are briefly discussed. The present contribution is an attempt to initiate a more detailed study of all German departments of anatomy during the Hitler regime and to generate a public discussion among the younger generation of German anatomists.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Adolf Hitler's WW I exploits—Nazi propaganda myth

Research reveals Adolf Hitler's heroic Great War exploits were a Nazi propaganda myth | Mail Online:
Adolf Hitler's heroic exploits during the First World War were an invention of the Nazi propaganda machine, new research has revealed.
The Nazi leader served as a messenger on the Western Front during the war and was awarded the Iron Cross for carrying messages.
He claimed in his autobiography, Mein Kampf, that he 'looked death in the eye' and risked his life 'probably every day' while he served as a messenger on the Western Front.

But a new book, Hitler's First War, by German historian Thomas Weber, reveals that Private Hitler was often stationed outside of the most dangerous areas and was rarely in the 'midst of the bombardment', as he claimed.
The book is not new, as this article claims. It was first published in November, 2010. Amazon describes the book.
Perhaps no individual in modern history has received more intensive study than Adolf Hitler. His many biographers have provided countless conflicting interpretations of his dark life, but virtually all agree on one thing: Hitler's formative experience was his service in World War I. Unfortunately, historians have found little to illuminate this critical period. Until now.

In Hitler's First War, award-winning author Thomas Weber delivers a master work of history--a major revision of our understanding of Hitler's life. Weber paints a group portrait of the List Regiment, Hitler's unit during World War I, to rewrite the story of his military service. Drawing on deep and imaginative research, Weber refutes the story crafted by Hitler himself, and so challenges the historical argument that the war led naturally to Nazism. Contrary to myth, the regiment consisted largely of conscripts, not enthusiastic volunteers. Hitler served with scores of Jews, including noted artist Albert Weisberger, who proved more heroic, and popular, than the future Fuehrer. Indeed, Weber finds that the men shunned Private Hitler as a "rear area pig," and that Hitler himself was still unsure of his political views when the war ended in 1918.

Through the stories of such comrades as a soldier-turned-concentration camp commandant, veterans who fell victim to the Holocaust, an officer who became Hitler's personal adjutant in the 1930s but then cooperated with British intelligence, and the veterans who simply went back to their Bavarian farms and never joined the Nazi ranks, Weber demonstrates how and why Hitler aggressively policed the myth of his wartime experience.

Underlying all Hitler studies is a seemingly unanswerable question: Was he simply a product of his times, or an anomaly beyond all calculation? Weber's groundbreaking work sheds light on this puzzle and offers a profound challenge to the idea that World War I served as the perfect crucible for Hitler's subsequent rise.
Weber is a member of the history department at the University of Aberdeen, where he teaches European and International history.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Germany's new breed of neo-Nazis pose a threat

Regardless of the nation, the Nazi attitude and approach to politics and life is not dead. And that includes modern Germany.

BBC News - Germany's new breed of neo-Nazis pose a threat:
There is a growing collection of secretive far-right groups in Germany which call themselves the "Free Forces".Intelligence services say this is the fastest-spreading section of Germany's far-right movement.They say the cliche of the neo-Nazi being a boot-wearing, young, unemployed male skinhead is out of date. Nowadays you cannot always tell who is a neo-Nazi and who is not. 
The Free Forces are attracting a new crowd, including students and middle-class professionals. Germans speak of a new generation of Kravattennazis, literally "Tie Nazis", as opposed to the traditional Stiefelnazis, or "Boot Nazis".

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Christian Compromises To Atheism Continue

Letter: What is it about?  Naples Daily News — David Baldner asks significant questions about compromise. He emphasizes the fact that Adolf Hitler was not a Catholic, nor even a Christian of any sort. He was an atheist. Yet the churches of Germany compromised their convictions and beliefs in order to work with Hitler's regime. 

Previously Baldner wrote a letter, titled 'The face of atheism'. His conclusion:
It is not the Catholics, Protestants, Jews or Muslims that worry me; it is the new face of atheism, intent on controlling not only our education system, our media, our politics, but our families as well.
Baldner is Associate Exec Director at ESC 17 —Region 17 Education Service Center is one of twenty regional service organizations that were created by actions of the Texas Legislature and the Texas State Board of Education in 1967. Naples Daily News originates in Florida. 

Personally, as a life-long Lutheran, I am deeply troubled by the compromises to the Christian faith made by so-called Lutherans and other Christians during the Nazi era. See 

Sadly, such an attitude of compromise continues in many Lutheran circles both inside and outside Germany to the present.