Tag Archives: Nazi

A drawing created during World War I

Tilman Sauerbruch Bonn, Germany   Fig 1. Portrait-drawing of the of the surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch by Max Beckmann 1915 at the frontline during World War I (private collection). A photograph of a drawing by Max Beckmann (1884-1950) of the surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch (1875-1951) has been hanging in my room since my student days (Fig. 1). […]

“Modern psychiatry begins with Kraepelin”

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1: Emil Kraepelin, 1921 at the Department of Psychiatry, Munich. Source “Modern psychiatry begins with Kraepelin”1 The pages of history seen through the retrospectroscope often provide dull facts rather than insights into the personalities and driving forces of its famous subjects. Such is the case of Emil Wilhelm Kraepelin […]

Creating a race of orphans: Lebensborn, the “spring of life”

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Lebensborn birth house, nurse in Lebensborn home. 1943. German Federal Archives. Via Wikimedia Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1973-010-11 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 Nazi Germany was a racial state. People of “pure” Aryan or Nordic heritage were believed to have superior physical, intellectual, and moral qualities. People from other ethnic or racial groups were […]

Risking it all to save strangers—remembering Gisella Perl

Jacquline Musgrave Peoria, Arizona, United States   Dr. Gisella Perl after World War II. Source. Her hands were cracked and covered in mud and dirt as she delivered the baby, broke its little neck, closed its eyes, and buried it in a hole outside. No one would know about this baby, or the others who […]

Viktor Frankl: the meaning of a life

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Viktor Frankl, 1965. Creative Commons. Not long before the Dachau concentration camp was liberated in April 1945, Viktor Emil Frankl was seriously ill with typhus and writing feverishly on stolen scraps of paper, determined to keep himself and his ideas alive. Faced with the prospect […]

Knock, or The Triumph of Medicine

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Louis Jouvet and André Dalibert in Knock, by Guy Lefranc (1951) “The man who feels well is actually sick and doesn’t know it.” —Dr. Knock   Jules Romains (1885-1972), author of the play Knock, or the Triumph of Medicine, was a novelist, poet, essayist, playwright, and short story writer. He […]

Nazi doctors and medical eponyms

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Special Children’s Ward” Vienna Am Spiegelgrund. Source. The tradition in medicine has been to name a pathological condition after the person who first described it in the medical literature. Thus we have Addison’s disease, Down’s syndrome, and several hundred others. The tendency now is to eliminate the possessive,1 giving Addison […]

Philip Roth’s “Nemesis:” a lesson for today

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Polio patient in a wheelchair. Images like this were used to encourage individuals to receive polio vaccinations, which were made available in April, 1955. CDC Public Health Library. Source.  As we grapple with the impact of the current pandemic caused by the coronavirus, Covid–19, we may wish to […]

Call me Sylvester!

T. Killeen Cleveland, Ohio, United States   I could hear him as he rounded the corner from the lobby. He seemed to know almost everyone in the office; they cooed over him and he fawned at each and every one of them. My day was already busy with a full office schedule, a lecture to […]