Human Subjects Research after the Holocaust

  • Sheldon Rubenfeld
  • Susan Benedict

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Sheldon Rubenfeld
    Pages 1-20
  3. Mauro Ferrari
    Pages 283-297
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 299-308

About this book


“An engaging, compelling and disturbing confrontation with evil …a book that will be transformative in its call for individual and collective moral responsibility." – Michael A. Grodin, M.D., Professor and Director, Project on Medicine and the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, Boston University

Human Subjects Research after the Holocaust challenges you to confront the misguided medical ethics of the Third Reich personally, and to apply the lessons learned to contemporary human subjects research. While it is comforting to believe that Nazi physicians, nurses, and bioscientists were either incompetent, mad, or few in number, they were, in fact, the best in the world at the time, and the vast majority participated in the government program of “applied biology.” They were not coerced to behave as they did—they enthusiastically exploited widely accepted eugenic theories to design horrendous medical experiments, gas chambers and euthanasia programs, which ultimately led to mass murder in the concentration camps. Americans provided financial support for their research, modeled their medical education and research after the Germans, and continued to perform unethical human subjects research even after the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial. The German Medical Association apologized in 2012 for the behavior of its physicians during the Third Reich. By examining the medical crimes of human subjects researchers during the Third Reich, you will naturally examine your own behavior and that of your colleagues, and perhaps ask yourself "If the best physicians and bioscientists of the early 20th century could do evil while believing they were doing good, can I be certain that I will never do the same?"

·         Presents relatively unknown aspects of human subjects research during the Third Reich

·         Reveals surprising relationships between German and American human subjects research

·         Dispels myths about Nazi human subjects research

·         Compels introspection and self-examination by today's medical and research practitioners

·         Addresses contemporary bioethical issues affecting vulnerable populations 

·         Brings together experts in the history of medicine during the Third Reich and thoughtful new voices


American Support German Eugenic Research Berlin Charite Hospital Brain Specimens Victims of Nazi Euthanasia Flexner Report Health Care Disparities Human Subject Research Hermann Stieve Holocaust Bioethics Human Subjects Bioethics Human Subjects Research Human Subjects Research US Human Subjects Research after Holocaust Book Human Subjects Research at End of Life Medical Ethics Nazi Germany Medical Ethics Terminally Ill Nanomedicine, Bioethical Implications Nazi Medicine Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial Nurses Human Subjects Third Reich Patient Rights Psychiatric Genetics Reproductive Issues Bioethics The White Rose Twin Experiments Auschwitz Walter Reed, Gerhard Rose, Vaccines

Editors and affiliations

  • Sheldon Rubenfeld
    • 1
  • Susan Benedict
    • 2
  1. 1.Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing, Center for Medicine after the HolocaustHoustonUSA
  2. 2.The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of NursingHoustonUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Medicine Medicine (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-05701-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-05702-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site