Exhibit Depicts Nazi Science

Nazi-era eugenics research and racial purification programs were depicted through images of child-subjects and a speech by a Holocaust survivor at yesterday’s opening of the exhibit “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.”

At Harvard’s Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, the exhibit examines the implications of the participation of mainstream physicians, public health officials, and academics in the Nazi Party’s grisly human experimentation programs.

“We thought it would be interesting to show how science and medicine, though very important and useful, have no inherent moral compass,” said Susan D. Bachrach, curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which created the exhibition.

The exhibit stressed the role of science in legitimizing the racial policies of the Nazi Party during the Holocaust.

“The individuals conducting these policies weren’t quacks,” Bachrach said.

“Doctors and scientists—some with prominent international reputations—supported eugenics long before Hitler came to power.”

These physicians expanded their research agendas under the Nazi regime to include the mass murder of those considered mentally ill and criminally-minded, in addition to children born with incurable birth defects, according to Bachrach.

“The Holocaust was man-made,” said Boston University Professor Michael A. Grodin, who spoke at the event.


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